Surfaces and Strategies – Shoot Mod3#25 – Art Nude – “Kristina”
My casting calls for people to take part in my work have been extremely successful. I was very fortunate to have Kristina apply to take part. When I asked why she decided to take part in my project, she told me about a boudoir shoot she had been bought as a present. When she received the photographs after the shoot, Kristina was shocked. She had been photoshopped so much that she did not recognise the person in the images as herself. This had been done without her prior knowledge or agreement. She then went on to say that my work speaks for itself and she could see that was not my style.
This was her first time being involved in an art nude shoot. Yet, Kristina is very confident and happy in her skin and that shone through the entire shoot. She was very easy to work with and was a pleasure to have in the studio.
The photographs speak for themselves. Kristina is a beautiful woman who loves her body. I was struggling whilst editing to understand why anyone would have wanted to photoshop stretch marks or or features off her body. That is who she is and she accepts everything as part of her life story, so why shouldn’t the photographer? In the case that Kristina told me about, I believe that the photographer was too emotionally involved in the images to objectively edit them. No doubt, the photographer felt that they had to edit the images as it was expected and what they would normally do. This assumption led to a client feeling betrayed. This happens all the time in the media and in particular in the modelling world. The following video shows an example of what happens in the advertising world.
Video 1: YouTube. 2012
I appreciate that altering photographs has been around since the invention of the camera. I do photoshop some images to enhance a story or to change the model into a mythical or fantastical creature. These are deliberate and very obvious manipulations. What I do not do is remove stretch marks or scars from skin. I do not smooth out bits or liquify parts to make them appear longer and thinner.
A photographer who photoshops a client’s images without prior agreement is effectively saying that the body of the client is flawed in some way. This is so insulting to the client. The photograph no longer portrays the truth and we could argue that the photographer has crossed the line between ethics and aesthetics.
In my practice, the model allows me to photograph them nude because they know that I have an ethical approach to the process. I do not alter an image to alter the aesthetics. As discussed in my blog post of 23 July 2017, I don’t alter the appearance of a person’s body. I photograph from all angles to produce images that show bodies as they truly are and in their full glory. All bodies are beautiful and I would not consider my work ethical if I altered the body to produce, what you be, an aesthetic that I deemed beautiful. As I previously stated, I believe it is my responsibility and privilege to capture and share the many types of beauty that exist in this world.
I am grateful to Kristina for coming to my shoot and sharing her story with me. It has helped me to understand my viewpoint in this project.
YouTube. (2017). Body Evolution – Model Before and After. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17j5QzF3kqE [Accessed 31 July. 2017].