Photography and its relationship to reality
Some people believe, taking a shot is only half of the picture. The other half is done digitally in Photoshop. With the absurdity of filters and photo tuning apps (I didn't even know this word exists, but I googled it), this has become reality for many productions out there.
But not for all of them! Some prefer it natural, like me. I know how the liquify tool works in Photoshop. This magic tool that lets you enlarge boobs, slenderise hips and legs or emphasize jawlines. It creates a different image of the human you had in front of your camera. And while it works, it feels so morally wrong.
As a photographer, I hate spending more time on the computer than on set. It basically is a crucial question: How much retouch is okay? How fake is our world?
In France, they installed a law that forced companies to write digitally altered on their ads when Photoshop was involved. Which is a bit absurd, too, because retouch exists since the very beginning of photography. And what about makeup?
I always tell my models that they don't have to fear anything. We sit in the same boat and it's my job to make them look as good as I can. To me, it's fair to retouch a little here and there. Neither of us wants to have a pimple in their photo, right? But when it comes to liquifying bodies in Photoshop, I question myself. And I have to signal: I'm out.
Photography is not a reflection of reality. By choosing a certain perspective and framing a shot and by picking a momentum that is a fraction of a second no photograph can claim to show the naked truth. And it might not even have anything to do with what you would have seen if you witnessed that moment.
No picture shows the naked truth.
This sounds complicated, but basically, it is important for me to strike that a photograph can never tell a full story. As our world is dominated by visuals we should be aware of this illusion.
Nudity as an invitation
One of the biggest misunderstandings (mostly from men) is that a woman who works as a nude model is looking for a partner. What? Showing yourself off in an enticing way is a piece of art. It does not tell anything about you as a person. It doesn't say your relationship status and it definitely doesn't mean you're available. And not for money, either. Many models told me they had received inappropriate offers and this is not cool.
With all these websites (you know what I am talking about) men sometimes get confused (or want to be confused) and they think a nude model is an escort woman. This is not the case. And I am totally fine with the escort business, I just would like to encourage men to see there's a difference and not to cross a line.
And often non-modelling women think the same about nude models! They think nude models are dangerous. And they seduce people on set. To me this sounds so cheesy, I almost laugh out loud while typing this. But I have experienced this quite often. Trust me!
Value of social media
The past decade brought us an uprise of social media and in 2020, it's all about instagram. I was late in the game and the reason for that basically was that the platform does not allow nudity. I dislike to modify my art with censor bars and stickers. And I'm also not a fan of how copyrights are treated and how little time we all take to appreciate one single image. Far less than one second.
But the main reason why I am not a big fan of social media is that it doesn't feel social at all. It's not a community, it basically is a place where everyone is a sender. And when there's only competition of those broadcasting, a fight for followers and likes, it all doesn't make sense.
More than 20 years ago, I already warned that we live in times of over-saturation. And that we need to slow down. But the opposite is happening in social media. Have you ever become nervous because someone didn't reply to a whatsapp message within a few hours?
Social media is part of the media landscape and it's basically a place for marketing. Where every single one of us acts like a brand. The word social is misleading in this context.
To sum things up: A photograph is a manipulated piece of reality (sometimes this becomes art).
Nude models aren't men eaters. Neither they are prostitutes. Being naked never means being available.
And last but not least: Social media sites are a modern way of promoting our lives. We sell ourselves, always pay with our time and get way less social benefit from it than the name social media indicates.