Addressing “Why?”

It’s always tricky dealing with self portraiture, exaggerated when the subject is nude. If I put up an image of another person then, although I would like a deeper response, the reaction I most often imagine is a simple appreciation of the beauty of the individual, of the lighting, of the image.

But when it comes to the self portrait, in particular if the viewer is making the first encounter with the work of a new artist and the image is isolated without a context, am I thinking too deeply when I imagine that many people will ask ‘why’?

Addressing “Why?” was the title I gave this image when I captured it three years ago.

Male nude self portrait on bed

Those who follow me, you are evidently very accepting people, for whatever reason, you managed it, you got past the ‘why?’.

Now let’s get this straight. Very few people do ever ask me ‘why?’. But I imagine the question to be there, the elephant in the room.

For people who ask the question in a positive way, genuinely interested in what is going on, I am not going to give an answer here because it’s too complicated and I have to have something to blog about in the future! But you should be able to perceive some sort of answer from my ‘about’ page and having a quick look through my images.

For people who ask the question in a negative way, perhaps with incredulity or even disgust, I am going to give a  simplistic retort. ‘Why not?’. Whether it is me or the many other artists who produce nude self portraits, you see in front of you a naked person and you probably see it because you have been looking for nude art and have no issue with looking at naked persons. Why not simply give the artist kudos for being able to present this image to you without involving another in the exercise? It is after all the total creation of the artist; no other human being has been paid, instructed, manipulated or exploited in the creation of the work. 

Perhaps the most likely thought process producing the question ‘why?’ revolves around the perception of exhibitionist vanity or something similar. This is partially right – there is some exhibitionist vanity going on here, somewhere in the mix. But there is a little (or a lot) of that in almost every model exposing themselves in front of a photographer. It’s almost an essential qualification for being a good model. But there is hopefully a lot more.

Exploring a portraiture collaboration in Brighton

Peter

Peter runs a naturist B&B in Brighton. We got together at his place to chat about the possibility of forthcoming collaborations in anticipation of the onset of warmer weather. Unusually for a first meeting I took my camera and we spend a half hour or so briefly touring his flat in his natural naked state and I took the opportunity to get him used to the idea of me pointing my camera at him.


I chose to fit in with the local dress code. I guess Peter is accustomed to having other people trotting around his place naked but this was all rather new for me because I have not previously shot anyone while being myself nude. I really can’t say the experience affected the shoot at all unless it was a positive one because I have to express that, considering the available time, I am very happy with these images.