The subject of the female figure is an artistic tradition which indicates the historic value of beauty and fertility. Nudity has been a fundamental element of art throughout history. It has been used in paintings, sculptures, and other art forms to depict the human form, to express emotions and ideas, and to convey cultural and social messages. The role of nudity in art has changed over time, with changing cultural, religious, and social attitudes towards the human body.
In ancient times, nudity was often used in art to represent the supernatural. Nude female figures represented in art can be found as early as the Upper Palaeolithic era – the last Stone Age period. Similar images which represent fertility deities, gods and goddesses in Babylonian and Ancient Egyptian art were precursors to the works of Western antiquity. Greek and Roman artists frequently depicted gods and goddesses in the nude, as a symbol of their power and divine nature. Other notable traditions of artistic nude representations can be found in India and Japan: in particular, traditional Hindu temple sculptures and cave paintings -some very explicit- indicate the value of sexuality; a reveal a culture where partial or complete nudity was common in everyday life. In Early Christian art, the naked human figure was seen as a symbol of corruption and sin.
During the Renaissance period, artists began to incorporate the nude figure in their work more frequently, using it to express the beauty of the human form and to explore the complexity of human emotions. Athletes, dancers, and warriors statically express human energy and life, while nudes express basic and complex emotions. Artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci created famous works depicting the nude figure. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, nudity became a more controversial subject in art. Artists like Édouard Manet and Gustave Courbet challenged traditional attitudes towards the human body, introducing more realistic and honest depictions of nudity. This trend continued into the 20th century, with artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali incorporating nudity into their works to express more surreal and abstract ideas.
Today, nudity in art continues to be a source of debate and controversy. Some see it as a powerful expression of human beauty and emotion, while others view it as inappropriate or even offensive. Despite this, nudity remains an important element of art, continuing to push the boundaries of what is acceptable by society. The nude has been a prominent subject of photography since its invention, and played an important role in establishing photography as a fine art medium. Fine art nude photography is a genre that captures the beauty and aesthetic of the human body, with an emphasis on form, composition, emotional content, and aesthetic qualities. This form of photography has been practiced for centuries and can be seen in various art movements such as classical, romantic, and modern. Fine art nude photography challenges and subverts societal norms and stereotypes surrounding nudity and the human body. It also celebrate the human form and explore themes such as sexuality, gender, and identity. It can also be controversial and may be subject to censorship and societal criticism.
Erotic interest, although often present, is secondary; which distinguishes art photography from both glamour and pornographic photography. The distinction is not always clear, and photographers tend to characterise their own work subjectively, although viewers may have different impressions. The nude is a controversial subject across all artistic mediums, but more so within photography due to the inherent realism. The medium examines issues of representation and identity, sexuality and voyeurism – some nude photography deliberately blur the boundaries between erotica and art. In the context of the 21st century, it is difficult to make an artistic statement in the medium of nude photography, given the proliferation of pornographic imagery – which has tainted the artistic subject in the perception of most viewers, limiting the opportunities to exhibit or publish artistic nude images
In this series, I explore the female nude figure through a collection of photographs on location. I aim to create images that are aesthetically pleasing and evoke an emotional response. I use lighting, composition, and posing techniques to create mood. I endeavor to respect the boundaries and sensitivities of my subjects and viewers and always obtain informed consent before creating these images. In presenting this series, I offer opportunities to contemplate and appreciate the juxtaposition between human and nature: soft flesh and harsh environment; life and stillness; white and black. The use of monochrome emphasises the nude shape and form, removing distracting elements to ensure that you focus on the beautiful feminine body language. These photographs portray powerful, vulnerable, and independent women who are depicted through fresh, inspiring and original artwork.
In presenting this series, I offer opportunities to contemplate and appreciate the juxtaposition between human and nature: soft flesh and harsh environment; life and still; white and black. The use of monochrome emphasises the nude shape and form, removing distracting elements to ensure that you focus on the beautiful body language. These photographs portray powerful and independent women who are depicted through fresh, inspiring and original artwork.
I let the cold porcelain bruise it’s way into my knees
Some days I sit there long enough that my skin looks like it could peel from my flesh
I feel each individual drop of water soak the skin on my back rising and falling down protruding vertebrae
It flows no different to the rapids of a river rolling across jagged stone
And quietly to myself I beg it to wash away the ache that seems it has so effortlessly weaved its way into every cell in my body
The way cancer would spread
Or weeds over grow a garden once cared for
You are how I measure time now
Before you and after you
And you are how I measure beauty too
No one quite compares to you
I am not afraid of the dark anymore
It lives inside of me and I in it
On the nights my hearts composure decomposes
and my grief feels no different to drowning
I walk the streets of this ghost town I once walked with you
At witching hour just the moon and i
A humble smile as a disguise to mask the screams I hold inside
My body feels like bags of rocks
And I wonder if my blood feels the same way I do
As it pumps through each barren chamber of my heart pounding with each step I take
Slowly making its way through the road maps that are my veins
There’s life here
It’s just locked away somewhere hiding in fear
But I promise you a broken heart doesn’t beat the same as a happy one
I can feel it with every heaving breath that exhales from my blackened lungs
I can feel it
I am lucky
I walk amongst the living still
I say lucky because
I swear most nights I looked death in the face
As she invited me into the comfort of her embrace
I have knelt before the reaper
And let her seductively run her scythe along my throat
I wiped my tears on the foot of her robe
And let her fill my head with fantasies
Where we could run away together
She promised I wouldn’t miss you
She said if I let go
That she would take me to the oasis of souls inhabiting the emptiness that grief holds
But the grief would no longer be mine to hold
Most days now when death comes knocking at my door
I politely ask her to leave
I know my time will come but for now
I do not wish to be the reason that many may grieve
Or the reason their bodies become heavy with sadness that was never theirs to carry
So with the space you left in me
I raised an army of dead
With each day I’d wake and die all over again
And every version of me that buried itself
My body became its own graveyard
I used my necromancer hands to pull each piece of my soul from its grave
I collected my ashes and rose again with the fire of a phoenix
And I told her to wear the heartbreak like armor
Hold the emptiness as a shield
And anything that tries to take you let it fall into the void
Pick up your words, pick up your integrity
It is your weapon
And with each piece of me that has risen again
I slay the thoughts that threaten me
And I remain
With the words engraved in my body
I refuse to die.
Delighted to win four Awards out of four print entries at the 2019 Australian Professional Photography Awards [APPA] by the AIPP. Established in 1963, AIPP promotes the profession of photography, enhancing the skill and knowledge of professional photographers. APPA is largest awards for professional print photography in Australia. A panel of five expert judges are looking for exceptional images that inspire and impress: images that exhibit visual and emotional impact, innovation and creativity. APPA is awarding prints that demonstrate excellence in skill, craftsmanship and conceptual development of an idea.
Woman on a Tree is an exploration of opposing forces: life and death, young and old, power and vulnerability, soft and hard. Its pertinence lies in the symbolism of contradictions. Contradictions are all around us. Humans continue to exploit and overwhelm the natural environment with industrial pollution despite global warming, and its ever present impact on earth. The dead tree, scarred from fires, represents mother nature’s vulnerability to the forces we inflict upon her. I explore the paradox that humanity needs trees to live, yet we keep cutting them down. Despite the beautiful environment being subject to incessant abuse, western society considers itself to be thriving, ignorant to greater issues. The interaction between the human form and the tree is like a love dance. An intimate moment, where the body caresses the tree and with that, offers a gentle apology, a moment of compassion. Humans can empathise with nature’s scars. We have scars too. Some are visible and others are hidden: scars from neglect, abuse, addiction or violence. We have the power to conceal our scars yet the tree is forever exposed. This woman is bare, reflecting the state of the tree. Demonstrating that despite paradoxical contradictions which taint our relationship with earth, we can still find comfort, as she does here. Comfort in one’s skin and comfort in the company of nature. The story that accompanies this piece invites the viewer to reflect on their own identity politics, creating a moment to contemplate our complex relationship with nature. I depict the woman in her most natural state, one with nature. By embracing the human form in all its glory and portraying the woman and tree side by side, it is my vision that the viewer embraces nature as a precious ephemeral organism that needs to be cherished and protected.
”I was diagnosed with grade 3 aggressive breast cancer in January 2016. My family has the BRCA1 mutation. Each child of a carrier has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene and each carrier has extremely high risk of cancer. Five of my six great aunts died of cancer by their forties. I had four different chemotherapy drug treatments as well as radiation treatment. Luckily, I had a positive response to treatment and the 5 cm tumour was totally destroyed. I underwent bilateral mastectomy with a two phase silicon reconstruction as well as a total Salpingo-oophorectomy. I also had a hysterectomy surgical operation to remove my uterus. Knowing I have beaten what by nature ought to have been certain death, gives me a sense of immediacy and urgency in life. There is no sense in waiting or hesitating because there is no guarantee of tomorrow!”
This image represents drought. Climate change has brought drastic changes to many regions on earth. Global warming is causing severe drought. Huge areas that were once fertile are no longer suitable for agriculture. Millions of people are already impacted by these catastrophic changes. A deadly civil war in Syria has erupted when the government decreased the allocation of irrigation water to farmers. Vast regions in Iran are no longer cultivated and the population is helpless. They cannot grow any fruits or vegetables. The earth is dry and so is the woman’s skin, both are cracked. The woman is bare, she is completely exposed – just like our land. This is a desperate call to stop the devastating impact of industrial pollution on our planet.