Nude in Chiaroscuro

10:14 PM

There is a sly, consistent irony drawn from the lines of the human body, like a soft curl of the lips, secretive and alluring. There is a push and a pull, a step closer and a recoil, when examining just how everything looks. Models, viewers and photographers alike all experience the magnetism and internal shame upon recognition of the attraction and elegance of the bodily shape. Our heartbeats quicken and our breath catches and we stare and admire the circles of goosebumps and shadows from curves and highlights from bones. We gape, sometimes grinning and slightly slack-jawed, at lights and darks and lines and tones and catch our inner voyeur smiling at the scene in the window, the reflection in the mirror, the movement in corner, the the view in the lens. We're captivated by the unapologetic ferocity of the other. We're engrossed by the trust. But sometimes it's not so immediate. Yes, sometimes we need to decide. Sometimes it's all welled up in a slow, rising blush. And just then, when we've found ourselves engaged with the body and arrested in the aesthetic, we pull back and close our eyes. We blame the photo, we blame the camera, we blame the model, the figure, the lines, the shape for all that we've felt in the time we spent indulging ourselves. We shrink back and turn away. We don't allow ourselves to like what is most natural, most primal, most naked.

My photography has been sore lately. A brief conversation about a nude photoshoot arose among friends a few days ago. Though I had the intent of producing numerous nude large-format works earlier this year, schedules never synched and graduation happened, so talk of this again certainly piqued my interest.

I've been looking at work by Francesca Woodman (my cousin, Kat, bought me a beautiful collection book) and was blown away by both the modesty and courageousness of her photos. I found inspiration in the honesty and permanence of the black and white stills she took of the female form and took to my own craft to (re)create something new for myself.

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