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Photography Christopher Polack
Styling Latoya Henry
During my exploration of the human nude, I discovered that from as far back as 500BC, the human nude has been celebrated in various forms. The Egyptians, followed by the Greeks and Romans, celebrated the nude in sculptural art before it landed on English shores, where the Christians felt the need to censor the art. They covered up the artworks genitalia behind leaves and bits of cloth to protect the people from indecency. Fast-forward two thousand years and this mindset still stands within our psyche. Because of religion, censorship has dictated how we perceive the human body as a whole… Sacred, sometimes taboo, indifferent and occasionally wrong.
As I began my project I was convinced I wanted to strip away those old Christian mindsets and celebrate the entire human body. My second point would be to address a contemporary issue. I would aim to push for something bold, raw and refreshing in its aesthetics. Much of today’s nude photography feature flawless bodies resembling white sculptures, heavily retouched and ‘perfected’ beyond real human qualities.
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They become more ‘human like’ shapes, than remaining as actual human bodies. This encouraged me to approach it with more of a documentary sensibility, which would preserve the natural qualities of the human form. I wanted to celebrate the imperfections and show the stories each body had to tell. The skin folds, scars, blemishes, bruises and spots all taught me more about my subjects and the lives they lead. I also didn’t want to make this purely documentary, I still wanted to create beautiful art. But how could I possibly convince my viewer that what they were looking at was beautiful when the subject was challenging their preconceived perception of beauty. After all they would be looking at imperfect bodies often considered ugly by todays conditioning.
This raw approach is commonly practiced in the art world, but my mission is to fuse it within a world that is driven by fabricated beauty. The fashion world invents trends and culture frequently so I thought it’s a perfect fit. Today I see things shifting in a positive direction with more body acceptance and appreciation of diversity in fashion. I feel it’s important to continue my exploration.
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