If you stay with photography long enough it seems almost inevitable that you’ll make a few nudes along the way. I’ve tried my hand now and then in this genre, and while I may try to explain my approach in clinical-like sentences, my emotions are seldom this detached. It’s not like any other kind of picture making.
Most of the nudes I’ve made have been with the 4x5”. It seems the right instrument. Although you wouldn’t think so, planting the camera on a tripod and disappearing under the dark cloth intensifies the act of composing, finding the edges of the frame. I’m normally all over the place when I’m making a portrait, and it’s a relief to work with more intention.
I have had the great fortune of working with women of all body types. I don’t need, or require, some sort of idealized beauty. In fact, I’m always more interested in a face than I am a body; it’s the face that will coax me to make the nude, even though I do my fair share of abstractions, cropping out the face entirely.
Once the clothes are off, and fashion is no longer in play, you find out what kind of photographer you are. The pictures become your mirror, saying more about you than the person you’ve chosen to photograph.
And you thought you could hide behind the camera?