A photographic collection and film documentary exploring cultural attitudes toward the fine art nude and the models who make them.
As a photographer, the art nude has always held a fascination for me. It is the combination of two simple and common elements -- light and the human body -- blended together to create something unique, complex, beautiful and intrinsically human.
But the art nude is also essentially global and universal -- most cultures have a historic tradition of artistic nudes and the oldest-known human depiction is a female art nude. Accordingly, unlike so many other forms of art and photography, for the viewer, in my opinion, the art nude transcends socio-economic, cultural and contextual boundaries, yet different societies react to and perceive the art nude from vastly different viewpoints.
So much has been written and studied about the various interpretations and reactions to the art nude, in addition to volumes and volumes of pontification by artists, critics and historians about the nude as an art form. However, rarely has anyone taken the time to ask the models -- the key contributors to the art -- for their opinions, motivations and experiences.
As a social scientist whose work centers largely on the diversity and nuances of global culture, this almost-complete silence from those who participate in creating this most fundamental of art forms bothers me.
That's why I began TwinLens-- to document and artistically explore the models' motivations and cultural attitudes and to provide a primer on modern art theories as they pertain to the female art nude in photography.
TwinLens began as an experiment to tell a story through two different visual mediums.
It was one of those 'hm, that's a cool idea,' thoughts that rarely, if ever, gets written down, let alone actually started.
Inspired by a colleague's use of structured interviews to gather attitudes on political issues, I designed a set of formal survey questions, which I would then ask a model that I've never worked with previously to answer on-camera. The questions would cover everything from personal and professional background, to demographics, to attitudes on global culture and, of course, the art nude. Having not worked together, and not yet discussed my artistic concepts, I figured that this would remove any potential influence, on my part, from their answers. After the interview comes a creative meeting and, of course, a photo shoot. At some point later, the models will sit down with a colleague for a formal exit interview to see if participation has in any way influenced their opinions.
The photography would provide a fine-art component, while the interview footage, along with expert interviews, would be incorporated into a short-form documentary film.
As I conceived the plan, 25 models seemed like a good compromise between the demands of an adequate sample size and being able to reasonably accomplish the project within a year of starting, given that photography is my passion, not my profession.
As the project rolled along, I realized that to increase the demographic breadth, I would need to work with traveling, professional art models, in addition to those professionals, amateurs and aspiring-professional models closer to home, which has caused the project costs to skyrocket…
TwinLens now stands at 21 preliminary interviews complete and nearly as many photo shoots and follow-up interviews finished. If all goes as expected, I hope to have the final raw components in-hand by the end of January. I plan to have a finalized edit of the film and a book of 100 photographs curated from the photo shoots by the end of April, if not sooner, and a local exhibition of the art and the film by the end of 2012.
Realizing that not everyone shares my appreciation of the nude in art, I have purposefully omitted my nude photography from appearing on this page, or in the video above.
Here is a small sample, with additional images available in the project updates tab:
If you would like to see additional samples of my work, please visit:
If funded, the proceeds from this Kickstarter will be used to pay for:
• 3–4 photoshoots with highly-experienced, professional traveling models (whom, exactly, depends on schedules and how likely it seems that the project will be funded, by the middle of December),
• professional processing of medium-format and 35mm film (I'd process the film at home, but with a precociously curious toddler and a 12-day-old newborn, I just don't feel comfortable having bottles of photo chemicals sitting around),
• printing, matting, mounting and framing 100 photographs for display
• video production costs and DVD duplication (otherwise, I'm burning the discs via my Mac Pro's SuperDrive)
• book production
• promotional materials
• studio/location rental
The project's name is 'TwinLens' and there's a Yashica-Mat EM TLR in the poster; is that the camera that you're using for the project?
That's irony for you.
I named the project, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, after a camera type that I don't use, or even own. (The name derives from the fact that I'm using two different metaphorical 'lenses' to view the models - fine art still photographs and motion video.) The Yashica in the poster image belongs to one of the participating models, a published and exhibited photographer, in her own right.
In actuality, I'm using an EOS 1D Mark III dSLR, a Mamiya RB67 ProSD medium-format film camera, a Nikon F3HP 35mm SLR, a Kodak Zi8 compact HD video camera, a Panasonic HMC-150 HD video camera and a ton of lenses.
pledged of $4,500 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on December 30, 2011.
Nov 30, 2011 - Dec 30, 2011
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Your name listed as a contributor on the website (including a link to your website) and in the acknowledgment section of the book.Estimated delivery: Feb 2012
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An exclusive link to download a preview of the film and e-mail updates, in addition to the rewards listed above.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
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One 4x6 open edition print and a personalized thank-you note, in addition to the rewards listed above. (International pledges, please add $5 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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Two 5x7 open edition prints, a personalized thank-you post-card, email updates, access to the downloadable trailer and acknowledgement in the book and website. (International pledges, please add $10 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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Behind the scenes access to the project website, an electronic copy of the promotional 16-page chapbook, one mounted, signed and numbered 5x7 Kickstarter-exclusive limited edition print and the rewards listed at the $50 level. (International pledges, please add $20 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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One 8x10 archival open edition print of my choice, two 5x7 mounted and signed prints, of your choice, behind-the-scenes access to the project website, streaming access to the finished film and the rewards listed at the $50 level. (International pledges, please add $25 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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DVD of the full film, a 'Producer' credit in the film, an electronic copy of the promotional 16-page chapbook and the rewards listed at the $200 level. (International pledges, please add $25 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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Softbound 16 page chapbook, a limited edition, numbered and signed 11x14 Kickstarter-exclusive archival print and the rewards listed at the $300 level. (International pledges, please add $50 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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Hardcover catalog containing every print exhibited for the project as well as my notes and narrative, 'Executive Producer' credit in the film and the rewards listed at the $500 level. (International pledges, please add $50 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: May 2012
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Personalized and signed copy of the exhibition hardcover book, a 90 minute photoshoot with me (nudity not required — yes, I do photograph people wearing clothes, as well), lunch at the Durham, or Chapel Hill restaurant of your choice and the rewards listed at the $1,000 level. (International pledges, please add $50 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
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Super-limited 1 of 1 edition 13x19 artist's proof prints of your five favorite photographs from the project, a two-and-a-half hour photoshoot with me, dinner at the Durham or Chapel Hill restaurant of your choice, a personalized and signed copy of the exhibition hardcover book and the rewards listed at the $1000 level. (International pledges, please add $100 for shipping.)Estimated delivery: Jun 2012