Born Bare is an important collection for me and my fine art journey. Some may consider it career suicide for multiple reasons, others (hopefully most) will see it for what I hope it to be: an honest exploration of where nude photography and fine art meet.
“Sex sells” is a common phrase used in business marketing strategies. Perhaps this is why nude imagery generally comes across as sexualising, or, at the very least, lustful. My Aim for Born Bare was to honestly & tastefully capture the nude human form in a celebratory light instead. I don’t see myself or my work as a complete panacea for irresponsible nudity representation in modern media, but I do hope that it challenges it.
When conceiving this collection, I asked myself what a series of nudity images would look like in a fresh light — one that’s authentic & raw. Would it be appealing? Would it be engaging?
Would it be able to present the human form in an enrapturing way that is undoubtedly artistic and can simultaneously ward off attempts at a destructive sexualising gaze?
This was my aim going into conceptualising Born Bare. Some further objectives were steadfast, while others evolved along the journey. In-studio shoots, contrasted lighting, and the black & white medium were invariables, while the mostly gentle poses and overall cohesive feel & emotion of the collection developed along the way. Along my unanticipated trajectory of nude photography, it has become my personal belief that the truest & most beautiful depiction of the human form is in organic & non-performative poses.
My Background with Nude Photography
On the topic of my history with nude photography, it’s worth noting that I didn’t start at the conception of Born Bare — I actually did my first such shoot halfway through 2020. It was during the beginnings of COVID-19 when I decided to dive into offering women-empowering shoots. Ultimately, I allowed this to fizzle out once I chose to pursue fine art — but not after completing over 20 sessions.
It was during this journey that I learnt how to hold space for this form of vulnerability while still being able to provide professional imagery. I began to understand the depth and breadth of body-related trauma & shame that resides in many of us.
In the contemporary age of unhealthy media & the resulting insecurities thereof, Born Bare serves as a humble voice urging for the angst surrounding one’s body to rather be replaced by reverence & awe.
Many of my closest friends encouraged me to put together this collection. While they assured me that it’s a positive & necessary topic to address, I had my anxiety-inducing concerns.
Who am I to tell this story?
How will I be able to responsibly represent this work?
What repercussions will there be if I screw up the representation in this series?
Honestly, I still feel fear as I type out these questions. It’s this kind of work that cancel-culture preys on. It’s also this kind of “next step” that could dead-end my career — what is a travel photographer doing in this genre?
While Born Bare may lead to the end of my career, I’m proud to present it to you. I’m proud that I completed it after three meltdowns. I’m proud that I refuse to box myself into a specific genre of photographic art. Mostly, I’m proud to have created a fine art collection to the best of my abilities as a photographer, artist, and human being.