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Male Nudes

Fred G. , Feb 06, 2007; 11:35 a.m.

There seem to be far less (by about a 100:1 ratio) male nudes posted than female nudes. I've noticed that the male nudes get significantly less hits (number of times rated) and average lower ratings than their female counterparts. As a newcomer to PN and a relatively new photographer, I'm interested in hearing various thoughts about this subject. I know that attraction and sexuality play a large part in who and what we choose as subjects. But I would think, given the amount of creativity, desire to "push the envelope," and search for something different among us, the male nude would be of more interest to more people, if for no other reason than it is so underexplored and invites so many fresh possibilities. Do men feel any kind of taboo around photographing a nude man? Is it just lack of interest? How do women feel? I've heard it said, and understand what is meant, that the male figure isn't as "beautiful" as the female. I disagree, but beauty isn't the only thing I see captured on this site. There are lots of alternatives here to shooting just what is "beautiful," so I wouldn't think that would be the defining reason for the lack of male nudes. Anyway, I posted one recently for critique and was disappointed to get no comments. I'm hoping to approach the subject differently than a lot of what I've seen. I'd like to get away from what seems to be a habit of only considering dancers and athletes worthy of treatment, from insisting on moodiness which tames the impact of the nudity, from continually hiding male genitals by the subject's own hips or thighs or forced shadows or hands placed as fig leaves, while also playing with the traditional male pose vs. the more "feminine" pose. I would really appreciate your comments about the general subject and any specific feedback on my goal and whether MY FIRST ATTEMPT HERE is at all a worthy or interesting start toward that goal. I would also love to be pointed in the direction of any male nudes you've done or encountered that might alter the impression I have. Thanks!

Responses


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Michelle Amarante , Feb 06, 2007; 12:19 p.m.

This is a friend of mine, whose thoughts seem to mirror your own.... Patience is required as the site seems to be running slow at the moment..

http://www.photo-genesis.net/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=47971

Ellis Vener , Feb 06, 2007; 12:20 p.m.

Go on line and find these two photographs (and the accompanying text) by Duane Michals

"The Most Beautiful Part of a Man's Body"

http://www.pacemacgill.com/duanemichals.php?offset=3&keyword=Duane%20Michals

and "The Most Beautiful Part of a Woman's Body"

http://www.pacemacgill.com/duanemichals.php?offset=4&keyword=Duane%20Michals

You might also try reading Sir Kenneth Clarke's "The Nude"

Of course there is also now this much more contemporay view to consider as well:

http://tinyurl.com/y2ftto

Grayson McBrickwater , Feb 06, 2007; 12:52 p.m.

I have to say that your first attempt, while you may be pleased with it, falls a bit short of a grand artistic endeavour. The lighting is adequate, if a bit uninteresting, but the presentation is quite mediocre and a bit literal. I think that this same shot made with a female nude would rate about the same and similarly generate little to no response comment-wise. I don't think there really is a 'taboo' about photographing nude men, though the standard for 'artistic' may be set a bit higher due to the fact that a majority of photographers here who are interested in nudes are male and prefer female nudes. We can debate the fairness of this fact and define ad nauseum who's to blame, but the fact remains unchanged. I think the real trick is to become innovative in your approach and execution, so that your work stands out visually regardless of the subject matter. Nudes are, frankly, overdone already, and it's hard to get good reviews even for female nudes because we've all seen so many of them. In the end, you need to shoot what pleases you and build a technique that suits what you want to produse, and try not to worry too much about PN.

Fred G. , Feb 06, 2007; 01:05 p.m.

Grayson-- Thanks! I think your advice about PN and developing my photography is well stated and helpful. You may be a bit over the top in suggesting that my first attempt was not a grand artistic gesture, as I hoped to make it clear that I had a long way to go and was trying to work up to a viable personal vision.

Fred G. , Feb 06, 2007; 01:11 p.m.

Michelle, can't seem to access your link, keep getting an error message.

Ellis, thanks, duane's work is very interesting and unusual, stimulating and clever. The SNL video gave me a good laugh.

Michael Axel , Feb 06, 2007; 01:38 p.m.

Ellis, thanks for that link! What an artist Michals is. I especially enjoyed seeing pictures of how his work is exhibited.

Stephen H , Feb 06, 2007; 01:58 p.m.

My general observation is that men are more interested in visual things (specifically, females) and women are more interested in verbal things. Compare the publishing of girly magazines and romance novels.

Puck Faery , Feb 06, 2007; 02:24 p.m.

I recently wrote a lengthy critique on a picture posted on the nude submissions forum here that had depicted the female bottom in a very glamour style. It was more pornography than art and i prefer the mystery than the explicit in this context. Alongside my detailed critique there were 3 or four other short comments from southern europeans who also said how sexy it was. Whether one likes it or not the female nudes do get a lot of attention most of which I feel is more sexual than photographic. I also notice that of the top 100 rated photographers here almost 80% seem to have a large collection of nudes in their gallery. Looking at their outout critically I think some of the pictures are quite excellent and a few quite breathtakingly beautiful but I feel that had their portfolio been devoid of the female nudes the ratings might have been lower.

I have a habbit of looking through the photo critique forum each day and making comments on what I find impressive and where I think the picture could be improved. There had been a few male nudes posted in the last week or so. I did not find them aesthetic in anyway. They were all contriving to promote an element of homoeroticism than simply the aesthetic and the former does little for me. So I ignored them. Since I find the female body more aesthetic I take more of an interest in female nudes.

Sexuality and sexual preference would always take precedence for offering critiques on both male and female nudes. Since less than 10% of the world population is homosexual surely, this explains why there is more interest in sites like this on the female nude?

Stefan T. , Feb 06, 2007; 02:43 p.m.

Hello Fred, I only posted two male nudes and they were viewed most of all my photos, but I also realized the ratings were lower than expected. I don't care much about ratings, I simply find it interessting to follow how people rate and, if not anonymous, to see how the raters themselves photograph. Just go on posting!

Stefan


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