A Case for Consensual Nudes
I move around a lot on the internet (don't we all?) and I've noticed this term, "tasteful nudes" has been popping up quite often with other photographers and artists.
Now, after evaluation, I've decided it's a term that I utterly reject. The idea of "tasteful" nudes reflects ignorance and insecurity. I believe that we should discard this concept and focus on creating a culture of consensual nudity instead of tasteful nudity. Here's why:
First of all, what is "tasteful" anyways? Who gets to decide if something is tasteful or not? It's a concept that is 100% subjective and should not be used as a defining adjective.
"Tasteful nudes" is a term used by a person who is uncomfortable with nudity, and whether they realize it or not, they are feeding the stigma and shame that surrounds nudity. Photographers and artists are using this term to justify their potentially questionable choice of condoning nudity by photographing or create art around it. They use this term so that they can feel okay about their choices... because, after all, they are tasteful.
"Tasteful" is subjective, thus it is about preferences. So, let's let people define their own preferences in a way that does not create shame or violation for them. Instead of hiding behind our own insecurities, and defining what is tasteful on someone else's behalf, let's give the power back to our subjects through consent. Let's create art and photos that reflect the desires of the client and allow them to flourish in that space.
When I look back through my work, I love knowing that I created consensual nudes. My work is based on the client's preference. I am proud to be a photographer who allows clients to make requests for personal art that is personally affirming and free from stigma or shame.