Photography is a relatively new art form, having begun only in the 19th Century, and can be simply defined as the process of capturing images through technology. Over the past two centuries, the medium has skyrocketed in popularity, to the point where almost everyone carries a high-quality camera around with them as part of their smartphone. Nude photography is a particular branch of the medium that explores the human form, showcasing bodies in either partial or total nudity. These works are not without their controversy and have been received with varying degrees of acceptance across different cultures and time periods.…
Here at Rise Art, we’ve curated some of the most exciting new artists working in nude photography. Whether you’re just starting out your collection or looking to expand upon your existing works, there’s a wide range of photographs available to suit your personal tastes.
The earliest photographic process was discovered by Nicéphore Niépce, who managed to capture images in a fixed form for the first time. However, as these required several days of exposure, it wasn’t until Louis Daguerre came along in the 1830s with his famed daguerreotype that photography became a viable pursuit. These 2-3 second exposures were a popular way of capturing portraits for the upper and middle classes and became increasingly popular over the course of the 19th century.
Fast forward one hundred years and George Eastman popularised the art form for the masses with his creation of the box camera as part of the Kodak company. By the 1930s, the technology had developed enough to allow for moving images to be captured, making photography a much more accessible art form to dabble in. Since then, the advent of Polaroid and the arrival of digital photography in the 1990s has made it perhaps the most popular medium in the world, with estimates suggesting that over a trillion photos are taken each year.
Depicting the nude form is nothing new in art, with even the earliest examples of sculpture and cave painting dealing with this perennial subject. From the earliest days of photography, artists have used the medium to grapple with questions of identity, sexuality and beauty through their images of nudity.
Back in the 19th Century, nude photography tended to allude to images of classical antiquity. Photographs mainly focused on female subjects and evoked ideas of the divine feminine and fertility, with models often mimicking poses from Renaissance paintings. Where male models were captured, these men were shown in athletic or warrior-like poses. In general, nude photography was received with more controversy than nude painting in this period, and photographs were often seen as reference tools for painting rather than celebrated as artworks in their own right.
It wasn’t until the 20th Century that artists began to experiment with new ways of capturing the nude form. The increased availability of cameras led to a flourishing of new ideas and exciting changes in the field. Alfred Stieglitz is perhaps one of the most important pioneers for early nude photography, and he spent almost the entirety of his career trying to legitimise photography as an art form. He photographed his wife, Georgia O’Keeffe, in a variety of mundane poses in an attempt to portray her as she really was, without artifice or sentimentalism.
One of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century was Robert Mapplethorpe, a controversial figure whose photographs of male nudes created waves within the artistic community and beyond. His black and white images are striking and often shocking, with explicit references to BDSM and the gay community in New York. Mapplethorpe’s work is an excellent example of the subversive power of the nude form and demonstrates the sometimes fragile distinction between erotica and art.
At Rise Art, we’ve gathered some of the artists working at the forefront of the field to bring you exciting and innovative pieces for your collection.
Norwegian photographer Erik Brede draws inspiration from the natural world and surrealism to create dynamic images of the human form. His photographs see a blurring of lines so that it becomes difficult to discern the nude from her environment. Tree of Life is one of the best examples of Brede’s capabilities of a nude photographer. This image depicts a tree whose roots extend through a woman’s body, binding her to nature and ideas of fertility and growth.
For an insight into a distinct way of viewing the world, take a look at the work of Riccardo Cavallari. Cavallari was born with a rare vision disorder that means that the vision from both of his eyes do not converge into one single image. His work is a recreation of this, with ghostly silhouettes of nudes overlaid on top of each other. The resulting effect is at once haunting and captivating, producing photographs that are difficult to tear your eyes away from.
Birmingham-born artist Paris Ackrill has a unique gift for capturing the relationship between people and the natural world. Her nude photographs show women in beautiful natural surroundings, with an almost mythical quality that nods to the early days of nude photography. These photos distinguish themselves from those emulations of classical antiquity however, as they portray woman and her environment as one and the same, rather than simply showcasing the female form against an attractive backdrop. Her photograph Connected shows a female nude bathed in light amongst a rugged landscape, such that she could almost be roots extending from the base of a tree.