Throughout history, most images of the female nude in art have been made by and on behalf of men for the pleasure of other men.
This ‘male gaze’ is used in many contexts to describe the sexual objectification of women in the visual arts and other media. The passive and sexual way in which the female body is depicted is still present today. I felt the need to explore my own perspective on the female nude.
I asked my friends if I could photograph them naked, in an open and playful way. During the photo sessions I stimulated them to make movements or take positions that they like themselves. At the same time I photographed natural and animal elements that gave me inspiration for the female nude.
The result is a visual exploration of a new and broader perspective on the female nude.
How can we get to a broader view of the female nude?
The male and female body have their own challenges.
Our stereotypic way of looking at men and women and the sexualization of our society, compromised our bodies.
When I started photographing women, I found it difficult to look at a female body from a different perspective. It’s the type of body I have seen the most and my mind is imprinted with a certain beauty ideal I have seen since I grew up as a little child.
I remembered the Playboy and other magazines with naked women from my dad I used to look into.
Oddly enough the images turned me on, but now I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I found the Playgirl instead.
The lustful thoughts of a woman is not something we have to dismiss, but there is more to a naked women then just her sexual body.
My mind is flooded with clichéd images of the female nude
What if we could choose how we are portrayed?
I heard people saying that it is easier to photograph a woman than a man, because the female body is more beautiful than the male body. But what if I would ask you to give a new perspective on the female body?
It turns out this is not so easy as you might think. I had to make a lot of effort to ‘undo’ my brains from the stereotypical depiction of the female body.
You really have to let go of all the aesthetic ideals, which is quite hard. We are taught with certain beauty ideals and also art itself ‘suffers’ from traditional aesthetic ideas. I cannot deny aesthetics play a role in the motivation of people to look at an artwork. However, I realized that the only way to get to a new perspective of the female nude, is to let go of these aesthetics. To reset my brain.
What is so wrong with the current depiction of the female nude? Well, nothing and everything. The current depiction of naked women supports the idea that our bodies are passive and it stimulates sexual objectification. I cannot deny that our body has a sexual function, but I do opt for a more balanced view on female bodies. And more importantly, to take control over our bodies and communicate to others how we want our bodies to be seen.