It has been a number of years since I photographed nudes in the fine art tradition. Previous to that it comprised a substantial portion of my work. The decision to diversify stemmed both from the fact that I felt I was neglecting other areas of photography that could better inform my aesthetic and personal development as a photographer, and that fact that with the accessibility of photography in the digital age the nude was rapidly becoming an over-saturated genre.
It was undoubtedly a wise decision. I am a much better photographer now than I was then. The breadth of my vision is expanded, my technical skills increased. I hold now as I held then that it all comes from the same creative wellspring; it matters little if it is landscapes, portraits, nudes, or still life since it is all informed by the experiences of the photographer. Single-mindedness in photography may be fulfilling in the short-term but there are pitfalls in that the photographer can find blind spots developing. Having a favorite subject is inevitable, but I feel the goal is to master the medium not a single subject.
Undertaken honestly and with a genuine intent the photographed nude is never only about the male or female figure. At it’s best it is about the humanity in each of us shown unadorned, intimacy in the sense of being shown something unguarded and vulnerable. Finding the line between that and pure titillation is a challenge, made even more difficult as the view will bring their own opinions and prejudices to the work to either augment or conflict with the photographer’s own. However, the creative act is about challenge.
This year I plan to shoot nudes again, at least a couple of times. It is right as I have a renewed sense of what I would like to communicate with the subject. I’m anxious to see how my refined style will now inform the new work.
I’ve avoided showing any archival nudes on this blog and I doubt the new work will appear here. More than likely I will mention when new prints are available at desmondmanny.artspan.com and leave it up to the reader.