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Nude Study—Kelsey In The Moab

Sfumato And Chiaroscuro

One of the most famous artists to study the human body was Leonardo da Vinci as he truly believed that three-dimensional human forms were best portrayed in his paintings through the use of chiaroscuro, or the intermixing of lights and darks (shadows) to create that illusion in a two-dimensional medium (his canvas). He also used a technique called sfumato that was based on how the detail and color of a subject changed with distance that created only subtle tonal transitions, “without lines or borders,” from light to dark areas producing soft shifts between tones and colors.

Nude Model, Moab Photography Workshop, Rocks

Kelsey strikes a more fashion oriented nude pose during the latest Moab photography workshop.

This blending of tones is also achievable in photography and when combined with chiaroscuro, works great with nudes and landscape, especially when the model’s body is similar in color and tone to her surroundings, as with Kelsey, the model in these series of photos from my most recent Moab photography workshop.

It’s uncommon that a model’s skin tones match her surroundings (foreground and background) in a photograph, especially a nude model, but the various hues of the Moab rocks allowed me to make subtle transitions to Kelsey’s skin tones.  As we both scouted the locations and walked around the area, I studied not only her body from an artist’s perspective, but how she’d blend into the rocks with the naked eye from a distance.

Though I didn’t relay this to her in conversation, as I only mentioned that I was looking for interesting rock features, in my mind I thought about how would I be able to get that separation of her body from the rocks. One idea was to look for the shadows cast by the oblique angle of the sun during the Golden Hour. The sweetest light in the Moab is the Golden Hour during sunset where the sun is not overhead and the direction of sunlight comes from a lower angle. While this light is also less intense and filled with warmth, when your subject faces the sun, as your subject should face unless you’re shooting silhouettes, you’ll get long dark shadows, especially when the distance increases between your subject and the rock formations. Bring your subject closer to the background and the shadows shorten.
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Rolando Gomez Philosophy on Nude Photography
Editorial Nudes is not a website where you’ll find pornography, nor is this a website where models are underage, this is a website that showcases another genre of my art, though I want to clarify, nudity should never be a requirement for photography. Nudity is not for everyone, but for those that can appreciate the beauty of the human form and can handle it with maturity and common sense. I hope you’ll enjoy how I view nudity through my camera lens, often in a more editorial format. Read more about my philosophy on nude photography here.

Photographer Helmut Newton Had It Right On Nude Photography
While many famous photographers are known for other genres of photography, such as fashion, commercial, landscape and photojournalism photography, almost all have shot a nude photograph at some point in their careers. Whether it was fashion nude, editorial nude, Playboy nude, fine-art nude, implied nude, or some form of nude photography, some photographer captured a nude photo somewhere.

Then there were those like Helumut Newton, who were catapult into more fame for their nude photography than their commercial or fashion magazine photography. It’s been said that Simon de Pury, the head of the New York/London auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, while having a discussion with Helmut Newton about the then upcoming inaugural show for his Zurich gallery, asked Newton, “…What else do you have?” Newton replied, “My landscapes, but nobody wants to see those.”

Newton was correct and soon “Sex and Landscapes” was conceived for that inaugural show in 2001. While undoubtedly the late Newton has help put the “PC” in nude photography over the years, it’s not that nude photography is so bad in our private conscious, it’s the difficulty of the use of the word in our vocabulary and the use of nude images in our visual arts—like a fear, our own society is the guilty culprit and it’s time for us to “grow up” and accept the beauty nude photography brings, especially when captured correctly.

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