Models Talked and We Listened: To Be or Not to Be? (Nude, That Is)

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Picture1Nudity in modeling has always been a divisive issue.  Turn the pages of any high-fashion magazine and you’re sure to see plenty of titillating content.  From sheer wardrobe and bare-breasted models to orgasmic posing, once the shock value wears off, the viewer may be left to wonder: why exactly do we see so much nudity in fashion, when the objective is to sell clothing?

Moving past the obvious “sex sells,” we wondered how a modeling career is affected by the decision to shoot nudes, or not.  It’s a deeply personal issue, and one that many models struggle with at the beginning of their careers.  Those who don’t, often complain of being passed over for modeling jobs and opportunities.  Others embrace nudity as artistic or liberating… or merely tolerate shooting risqué content in order to advance their careers.

Rather than take a position on this sensitive subject, we asked the BeautyLook fan page readers to voice their opinions on nudity and its’ impact on their modeling efforts…

EMMY G:  “I have never done any nude modeling, with having done ‘implied’ (topless photos of my back, photographer didn’t even see the ‘goods’) only a few times.  This is partly because I also feel that there is a fine line between classy and trashy, and that the photographer is indeed a huge part of which way it goes.

I also am just not someone that is comfortable being nude in front of others.

If you aren’t comfortable during the shoot, your photos will project that and they won’t be the best they could.  Might as well save you, and the photographer, from a mediocre and even a little scary experience all around.  So far, this hasn’t effected my modeling career at all.  I haven’t lost many opportunities (for not shooting nudes) and they were usually opportunities I wouldn’t have wanted anyway.”

SWEETNLO:  “There is a time & a place for everything. Being Plus size, nudes seem to be a request, but harder to do tastefully.  I love myself & want to encourage all body types to love themselves.  Sexy is sexy.  Trash is trash.  Isn’t that the difference between Playboy & Hustler?”

SHELLY T:  “I have benefited from ARTISTIC, TASTEFUL implied nudity. I get more requests for less tasteful than art gallery quality.  There must be no sexual innuendo which means – know your artistic director and photographer very, very well… don’t take just any job, and if it isn’t good for dad to see it, probably isn’t tastefully done. You can cover more of your private body zones with props, arms and legs than you realize. I feel it shows ability to take something conceptually to a higher level than “sexy”. And that deserves credit to the model and team.  In the request for less quality, more sexual innuendo – just best to decline politely and stay true to keeping it classy.”

CHRISSY B:  “It has affected mine in that since I don’t do nudes or implied, other models are chosen over me.”

SIOBAHN M:  “I have always said no, no, no to any nudes, boudoir, and even baiting suits.  I believe there is a huge difference in the type of nudity done, and this difference alone is what can truly hurt or help ones career:

If the nudity is done with the right photography style, with a classy / edgy feel, and more or less implied nudity it can set a career off.  There is a fine line between what can be considered classy and trashy.  If it’s not professional enough, and “hanging everything out there,” it would look more like a porno mag.

I’m sure anyone can agree when they look at a bunch of pictures, what parts of your body are showing, and the way the picture is put together, even the environment makes a huge difference.

BETHANY L:  “In regards to my modeling career, it has definitely helped. Being a petite (5’7″) model with an athletic build, I don’t meet most agency standards and am not as well-suited for fashion or runway modeling. You can definitely be a great commercial model and get a lot of paid work without nudity, but for someone like me, this is very difficult. So, that’s why I turned to artistic nudes as my go-to genre. More photographers are willing to pay for nudes than non-nudes so as a freelance model, this works well for me.

I haven’t had necessarily better photographers, but definitely more diverse ones. For example, I was contacted by the official photographer for Louis Vuitton who shoots almost exclusively in 35 mm and Polaroids as well as nudes. This adds great diversity to my portfolio as well as helps get my name out there (he also promised to help me get signed in NYC where he lives).

Overall, nude modeling has gotten me almost all of my paid opportunities, as well as allowed me to flourish in a genre that is better suited for my body type when I didn’t meet the standards for others.

I think it really depends on the person. If you are comfortable with your body and have good self-esteem, I think you can do really well as a nude model and create some beautiful art, which is really the point of photography in my opinion, to create art.

It depends on your reason for not doing nudes as well. If you’re not doing it for religious or moral reasons, you tend to get more respect from other people than if you are simply doing it so you’re not perceived as a slut. I get easily offended when people say what I do is porn and not art. It’s really up to the eye of the beholder, but it’s generally not intended to be sexual in nature, rather, thought provoking, sensual and emotional.   SENSUAL is a lot different from SEXUAL…

Article:  Jim Jurica, Beautylook  Editor