The goal of many portrait photographers is to not only make your subject comfortable, but also to draw out some of their personality in the images. We strive to get genuine emotion and translate that into the image on the page.
In Trevor Christensen’s series, Nude Portraits, the images are not quite as they seem. Trevor is great at showing his subjects with genuine emotion, but the subjects of Christensen’s nude portraits are fully clothed. The twist in Nude Portraits, is that the photographer that is nude. Christiansen captures the reactions of his subjects while he himself is naked taking their portrait.
Nude Portraits is about leveling the playing field in an unorthodox way. Instead of focusing on bringing the subject to a place of ease, where I am, this project brings me to a place of vulnerability.
The images below are totally SFW (safe for work).
The Utah-based photographer was interested in the photographer/subject experience during a portrait session. Exploring the sense of vulnerability during a photo session, Christensen wanted to shift the paradigm of the unequal “power imbalance [that] seems like an almost inescapable part of the experience.” So, before the session, he sits down with his subject(s) and discusses what the portrait session will be like and what the goals are. He then leaves, undresses and comes back to shoot for around 45 minutes. After the session is through, he gets dressed and they go over the experience. Christensen says that he feels much closer to the subjects after the nude shoots than he does after a typical (clothed) portrait session.
So far, Christensen has only photographed friends and his girlfriend, but the project has gained much popularity and now, he is asking that those interested, to contact him by email. He describes himself as “a 25 year old, straight, white male” and he is looking for “for anyone who does not match that description. Diversity will enrich this series.”
As photographers, sometimes we get stuck in a creative rut and looking for something to inspire us. Many times, just doing something different and thinking outside of the box can kickstart those creative juices that have run dry from doing the same boring portrait session every day/week, at the same locations, with the same types of clients. Trevor side steps that mundaneness and turns the tables on his photography by doing something that is very different (and pretty brave). Having no barrier, but a camera between you and your subject, makes things at the very least, interesting.
What are you doing today to keep things interesting for your photography? I’m not suggesting you disrobe, but if you need some ideas on being more creative, start thinking outside the box, and put those crazy ideas in motion! Check out Tanya’s 100 Ways to Be a More Creative Photographer to get you started.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Trevor Christensen and his Nude Portraits series, check out his website. To keep up do date on this project and others, make sure you follow Trevor’s Twitter and Instagram.