A Natural State

I love the landscape of Colorado and I love the landscape of the human body. So it’s crazy that I haven’t done more outdoor art nude shoots. This year, however, I’m making an effort to get outside and shoot. I want to do a dozen art nude shoots in nature by the end of summer. If you’re interested in collaborating with me on an outdoor nude shoot, contact me. I’ll do these on a TFP or trade basis, where I’ll provide you with images for your time. More info here

For this shoot, I was working with Ahna and Jolyn. They’re a pleasure to work with. Not only are they awesome human beings, but they feel completely comfortable in their skin. There is no weirdness about nudity. It seems as though it’s their natural state and if they could be naked all day long, they probably would be. And honestly, that’s the way it should be.

In a world where violence, hate, and war dominate our screens and social media feeds, it’s absurd that a nipple can be an object of controversy. We’ve become desensitized to images of brutality and suffering, but a glimpse of natural nudity is still shocking to most people. I’ve even had personal friends who’ve told me they unfollowed me on Instagram because of the nudity (even though all my images are incredibly censored on social media). In their minds, they couldn’t uncouple the concept of nudity with the concept of sex and pornography. And my work made them feel uncomfortable. 

We like to think that we live in an evolved society, but when it comes to nudity, it’s like we’re stuck in a Victorian era time warp. There’s probably never been a time in history when humans have been so obsessed with denying what has always been our natural state. 

As an artist, there’s not much that I can do beyond exposing people to the beauty of the nude body and celebrate the beauty of our naked selves without fear or shame. It’s time to let our bodies be seen for what they truly are: marvelous vessels of life, worthy of admiration, and deserving of love. And for helping me with these kinds of visual conversations, I truly love and appreciate Ahna, Jolyn, and other likeminded friends. 

On a less ranty note: It’s been great shooting outside. It’s a challenge and a learning experience. I still am uncomfortable with natural light and most of these images incorporate some level of flash, although I’ve used it in such a way that someone with an untrained eye would never actually notice. But if you look closely, you’ll see it, most often as a rim light to separate their bodies from the visual noise behind them. I haven’t modified the flash at all, it’s just the fresnel head of a speedlight.