Explicit nudes

There is so much photography based on peek-a-boo that it becomes refreshing to see the female genitalia presented as an integral part of the female body, and not something to be hidden, veiled, obscured, blotted out or otherwise censored and concealed. It is bizarre that, in the context of the human body, it has become normal for that very important part to be hidden, as though it were something unclean. This is to deny the truth, and denying the truth is always dangerous, or rather, always has bad consequences. So let's practise just seeing things as they really are, and I think you will agree that the vulva plays an important part in the aesthetic of the female body. Given the context in which our photography occurs (a society which has significant hang-ups about nudity), it becomes interesting to analyse the model's reaction to displaying her vulva. In general, girls are taught to keep their legs closed. As a photographer, this usually means that you have to use the magic words to treat this subject: viz 'open your legs'. At this point there are myriad different possible reactions normally based on the model's own sexuality. So the shoot becomes very interesting.

Water melons are not only good to eat, but they spread well over a naked body. The resulting cut in the melon imitates and points to the vulva. It is also laughing. Or perhaps it is one of those primitive computer game things that is coming to eat you up. Dappled sunlight serves to unify the image in an unusual way. The bamboo provides discreet horizontals.

In the second photo, the door fixes this extravantly shapely body in a solid framework of horizontals and verticals which serve to emphasise the sumptuous curves.

In the third photo, the use of velvet as a background with its many wrinkles contrasts well against the smoothness of the body. The wrinkles of the velvet also imitate the wrinkles of the vulva.

And finally, the small curves of the vulva presented within the larger curves of the buttocks is an ensemble which it seems hard to resist.

Black and white gives a nicely statuesque quality to the female body. A few pointers for the photographer. Generally speaking, the background needs to be neutral, not too light and not too dark. It is otherwise difficult for the camera to see tones on the body, and the subtle gradations of tone are as a rule what is of most interest, showing the form of the body in a way that it is difficult for even skilled painters to match. The pose is, of course, hyper-important, but most models are very gifted at presenting themselves, even if sometimes reluctantly. Well, a dose of reluctance in no bad thing. With regard to the pose, it is usually better for the end result that the photographer suggests, rather than instructs, though all of that depends on the relationship the photographer establishes with the model. Some models clearly take well to being instructed.

The beauty and interest of the human body is not restricted to nubile young ladies. Going deeper into this subject, it is essential to note that there is an important distinction to be made between aesthetic appeal and an appeal to the appetites. Ninety nine percent of the images that target the appetites (lust) have no aesthetic value whatsoever. That is not to say that the two are incompatible. In fact, sexual interest and sexual activity in general are an essential spur to creativity. It is sex above all that impels us to encounter the other (not me), and it is the single most connecting experience that we have (apart from when we were in the womb).

In these photos the models act with everyday props: a vacuum cleaner, a camera and a chain saw. They express themselves in relation to these props. The first and third are taken with natural indoor top-lighting, a rare phenomenon. The props allow us to see more clearly the aesthetics of the human body. You could think of the photos as abstract compositions in two dimensions (the photo is, of course, only two dimensions, despite its clear appeal to the third). The realism of the photo pulls us away from the idea that what is being presented is a two dimensional pattern., and the fact that the photo represents a human being pulls us in another direction, into a relationship with the model: what is he / she doing, why is he doing that, do we feel threatened, pleased, judgmental? Everyone will see something different: the cleaner will recognise the awkwardness of the vacuum cleaner accessories, the photographer the excellence of the Hasselblad, the gardener the threat posed by the chainsaw. But in all of this, we are drawn to react in a human way.