WARNING – NSFW
I’ve always been drawn to fine art nude photography as an opportunity to create art for the sake of art. No clients, no deadlines, no restrictions — just the human form as my canvas. While nude photography can be whatever you want it to be, when I teach workshops I coach my students to focus specifically on the fine art nude with an emphasis on light, shape, form, storytelling, and mood.
When you look at my work, I never want you to see a ‘naked photo’. Instead, I want you to see a creative exploration of photography with the nude form as part of the visual language and creative canvas. When you look at my work, you shouldn’t be looking at ‘body parts’ but instead perhaps the way the light wraps around shape of nude subject. I try to pass these same sensibilities onto the students of my workshops both in my instruction and the inspirational references I direct them to study whether classical paintings, art photographers, or fashion photographers.
Many of my favorite fashion photographers also have an extensive collection of nude work including (one of my all-time favorites) Herb Ritts. When I look at his nude images I see the same elegance and exploration of beauty that appear in his fashion work. The difference? The nude work tends to have even more unfettered creativity to play with light and shadow without having to focus on hair, makeup or wardrobe in the frame. I love the graphic patterns, textures and compositions he explores in his nude work. In fact, even as a fashion photographer many of his most recognizable and iconic images are timeless nudes, not fashion imagery.
Every year I teach fine art nude photography workshops both at my studio in New York City and at locations around the US/abroad. These these portfolio intensive nude workshops (limited to 12 people) I have several goals that I want to achieve with my students.
First, I aim to educate. I want to help photographers understand how to manipulate the form to create the shapes they desire, and therefore gain a deeper understanding of posing. I want them to see (and experience) how the placement of light and choice of modifier change the appearance of the body, curves and musculature. I want to demonstrate the role of highlight and shadow in both sculpting and differentiating the form, and how his interplay of light and shadow becomes fundamental to fine art nude photography.
Next, I am to reduce (or eliminate) fears. At times people are uncomfortable with photographing nudes because of societal taboos that have been imposed. During my workshop I help my students to become comfortable with planning shoots, the etiquette of approaching and directing their subjects and more. It is extremely important for a photographer to be professional and confident with their subjects in order to create the type of imagery that is the goal of my workshops.
Finally (and probably just as importantly), I aim to inspire. Nude photography always pushes me to explore my creativity — I explore new lighting techniques, I make a mess with paint, I try more dramatic poses, I create unusual set or place my subjects in unexpected scenes. The nude is my creative canvas, and I often find that the creative explorations I experiment with in nude photography often creep back into my own fashion and beauty work.
Note: If you’d like to see a taste of my tutorials online, I also have a Fine Art Nude Video Series where you can be introduced to these concepts!
Unfortunately for a variety of reasons (many unfounded or based on societies unnecessarily skewed perceptions of the nude form) I cannot share many of my fine art nude work on social media without destroying the integrity of the images by photoshopping out a nipple or adding censorship. Honestly, I think there is a clear different between ‘sexy boob’ and ‘art boob’, but of course that is an entirely different discussion.
I’d like to take a moment to share some of my favorite images taken during my last two fine art nude workshops… one studio-based and the other location-based. During these workshops I carefully develop the concepts and the light, and invite my students to get creative and practice their fine art nude photography skills. Although I do not treat my workshops as shooting time for myself, I often take a few frames of the subjects in order to allow my students see me direct the models and also to allow me to provide a few frames of images to my models as an extra thank you for their hard work!
In one workshop we focused a lot on studio lighting for fine art nudes, and how to use the mood of the light to fit the theme of the nude or to tell the greater story. We also used studio lighting to create dramatic images that really focused on the nude form instead of a ‘naked subject’. In the other workshop we photographed in an INCREDIBLE and exotic location. I showed students how to photograph nudes in direct sunlight outdoors, and also how to analyze the location to find dynamic compositions.
I hope you will enjoy (and feel free to share!) these images. Also, if you have any favorite fine art nude work or photographers, feel free to share them in the comments section! I’m always looking for more sources of inspiration!
If you’re interested in Fine Art Nude workshops click here to sign up to be notified when my next one is. I only run about 2 of these workshops a year and they always sell out quickly!
Behind the Scenes