Does shooting nudes make you a fashion photographer?
We live in a society where sex is a taboo topic but still, sex sells. From lingerie, to deodorant, to condoms, to juices, to cars, to food products; everything is sexualized. This has been perpetuated to the extent that even if the mark of a good bike isn’t set by how sexy the commercial is, still it fetches audiences.
Here’s an image. Throw a nude model on a beach, messy, undone, wet, hair, lying, on wet sand, which is covering her breast, and for the final touch hand her a bottle of perfume. This image might be sensual but it isn’t fashion. By my definition I refuse to call these ‘edgy’ and ‘sensual’ pieces of art as fashion photography. As we are missing the point of fashion here in a very obvious way. Melissa Rodewll a well-known fashion photographer says, that the word Fashion before the word Photography is just that: we are supposed to be shooting fashion and the point of shooting fashion photography is about shooting the clothing.
The styling, lighting, make up, model, poses are what make fashion photography sensual, sexy and edgy. And eventually the same things constitute as fashion photography. Not the nudity.
One might argue that nudes are what get the most number of likes on Facebook, Instagram and your other social networking platforms. And perhaps my ideas too conventional, and some of you may beg to disagree. But to think, there are also people who just choose to swipe past the picture of girl in a bikini with hard nipples, as that just one more shot of the many.
About five years back when I started working, what determined my decision to follow fashion photography and not some other genre of photography was my fascination with fashion. And I believe that how deeply you and your stylist are able to engage during a shoot will reflect in the quality of the image. Thus styling and make up remain the most integral part of a shoot for any fashion photographer. And therefore you as a fashion photographer need to learn how to communicate with your stylist. You need to know the latest trends and the difference between a line dress and a shift dress. And if you don’t know that, then let’s start there… by finding out. Because unless you are acquainted with the technical of your work, you aren’t really involved in it to the core.
My words are harsh. My goal by telling you all of these things is how shooting nudes isn’t as same as shooting fashion. So unless your larger goal is to shoot adult content, do yourself a favor and move on to a higher level of fashion photography. Explore the possibilities and the thrill this area holds for you. Fashion is what you dare to create. So my advice to you would be to meet people, see fashion, find your resonance with it and create something that defines your discourse of fashion photography.