The Role of Aesthetics in Figure Photography: Part 2
To those who agonize over the question of “is it art?” I suggest that we replace the question with “what is the artist’s intent?” In a great many nude photographs, the intent is simply to flatter the subject or appease the viewer. In these images, the model is posed in order to be either flattered or scintillating but not always to be visually interesting. Artistic intent is evident in photographs that explore composition and experiment with the elements of visual design. Certainly, unskilled images that pander to a preconceived voyeuristic desires are easily labeled as crude or tasteless. By exploring shapes, texture, the beauty of nature, line, and form in ways that are unexpected to the viewer, the artist reveals their intent. The skillful combination of compositional elements should provoke emotion, but not for the mere desire to provoke a reaction. Art need not have a definitive message. A powerful work of art can raise more questions than it answers. Rather, it is a creative process that is more about artist than viewer.