The Case for Nudity in Art [NSFW]

The place of nudity in photography and art at large is often debated, and the way photographers and artists have used the human body to convey ideas and emotions has a long and nuanced history. This great video examines the place of nudity in art. 

Warning: the video above contains many depictions of nudity in artistic forms.

Coming to you from The Art Assignment, this interesting video examines the long history of nudity (and its censorship) in art. Nudity is a complex issue, as it's obviously a natural state for the human body, and yet, its moral ground has long been the subject of intense debate and more. Of course, its appearance in photography or art at large is highly context dependent; its intended use and the way in which it is shown in a work of art often has large implications on the way it will be received, and it takes careful consideration by both the artist and the viewer of these circumstances to place its usage in a wider context. It's quite an interesting subject with a lot of history and nuance to it. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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3 Comments

Sam David's picture

As a co-creator of fine art nude photographs with my models my most recent learning is that the most egregious censorship is now being applied by the bots and algorithms Facebook and other social media sites use to enforce "community standards." At least Facebook finally put in a review process (whether human or AI they won't say) as to whether the "offending" parts are actually visible. After Verizon took over Tumblr, its bots went ruthlessly after "forward projected female nipples," but, based on what it did to my blog, about half of them were missed and nudes still show up frequently if erratically. The prudes and rabid religious right have demanded that social media develop restrictive standards, which they have, and then they turned over the enforcement (I.e., censorship) to computers. It's terrifying.

I must also say that, at a first glance, it seems very awkward that posts like these require a WARNING message. I guess it would be OK to note that the video ". . contains many depictions of nudity in artistic forms.", which in itself should be obvious to begin with, but why does it have to be a warning? That to me is also pretty prudish.

Ignacio Balbuena's picture

I joined to a group of photographers of my hometown (a small city) in facebook and I found curious how every new photographer that join after me want to do nude or boudior having barely knowledge of how the use the camera. And from there goes the group talk about nude/erotic/boudior/porn and fine art and I noticed that a lot of this people mistake everything with porn and thats is the bad thinking. If a simple nude is porn this get devalued, also boudior, etc and begun to get common between the people; besides as Sam says everything get banned thanks to algorithms and bots due that any sort of nude is catalogued as porn, as something bad.
Where Im going is this sort of regulations is making change the mentality of the people about the human body and how to used to tell a story, is ok to show someone dead for a gang fight but not a male/female nude because is inappropriate due that is tagged as pornographic for people that doesnt recognized the difference.