…when the landscape strips itself bare. (click the image to view larger),
Thought I would put together a montage of b/w nudes. Three are from last winter, and also one I produced the other day, Against the grain, bottom left.
B/w is not something I do generally do a lot. But when I have an image which leaves colour looking redundant, and that has a form better rendered with the charcoal tones of black and white and grey, it feels absolutely right. Adjusting each colour channel in Photoshop’s black and white adjustment tool truly brings a b/w image to life than just desaturating it in one click! The paleness of the flesh against the darkness of the ground becomes a whole more dramatic than its original reality. That said, I really also like the top left picture, Denuded, in colour (see it here). The others, not so much.
These were all shot with Matthew, with his suggestive input on each one in varying degrees. That’s not to say he was ‘the photographer’ but nor was I the completely independent self-portrait artist. I spot trees I like, I usually pick the framing, sometimes he will adjust the framing and I will prefer his, he helps me keep my feet and head in the frame, and overall the task of posing naked in the public countryside is made a lot more feasible. Then I proceed alone to pick through the pictures and decide on the outcome of the shoot, if any. He sometimes offer suggestions in the edit, or just a ‘bah’ or ‘yeah’ to either stall or encourage me.
I put these images together and they became a tapestry of cool supine flesh, all set in Kent countryside. I like the set because I feel they express my commitment to art, in both the practical implications of posing for the images, but also my intent to show them no matter how exhibitionist they might be construed, or how different they are from my usual colourful and surreal work.
Not everyone will like my attempts at monochrome and indeed a gallerist once told me to stick with colour. But one thing I have learned is to follow my own heart on individual images’ directions, experiment with what makes them feel right, even if that means the saleability in someone else’s eyes plummets.
There may just be a book to come from me in the future dedicated to nude photography. I want to shoot more models nude, including men, pregnant women… and so hopefully a future book will be a wonderful offering to a ‘genre’ I love.
To see more from the ECOLOGY series, both b/w and colour, go to the website.