I’m excited to complete the first quarter of the project, with shoot # 25 by the male form photographer Sam Devries from NYC.
One of the recurrent subjects (among many others) that surround 100 NUDE Shoots is the desexualization of nudity. If the vision of nudity was a common enough occurrence — free of the taboos, censorship and prohibitions that still haunt it — we could deal with it better and stop automatically relating it to sex. This would greatly benefit us towards a healthier society. By exposing myself nude in so many different ways and openly discussing the experience, I get frequently told that I’m helping other people deal with their own nudity more naturally… and that’s an awesome reward for me.
But here and now I decided to shoot and publish this nude photoshoot by Sam Devries with an obviously erotic, sexual appeal. In these images, I intentionally made sexual desire explicit. I chose to do it because I think that the taboo around sex itself is equally harmful to us. In my view, nudity is only taboo because sex is taboo in the first place. What if sex wasn’t such a sensitive, private matter? What if we could view and discuss sex, desire and eroticism as openly as we discuss culinary or politics?
Our world is actually very permissive to sex and eroticism — advertising, TV and movies are full of them — but as long as genitals are hidden or censored. Why is it that an erect penis or an exposed vulva are still so forbidden, even when actually portraying sexual acts? Why does hiding them make an equally erotic image acceptable? Is an image unworthy of the Art denomination because it’s erotic or explicit? Why does the word “explicit” bring such a negative charge? Is it sex, or the image of sex that bears the controversy? And why?
I’m taking with shoot # 25 a diagonal step in the nudity naturalization road to state that sex itself should be also viewed without scandal. I believe if sex was also naturalized, unrestricted, uncensored, made into a common subject, there would be no more sexual guilt, no more shame, no more sexual harassment, rape, pedophilia, no more sexual exploitation. Why is it we fear sex so much? Let’s censor sexism, not sex. Let’s censor violence, discrimination, humiliation, xenophobia instead. Let’s be sex-positive.
I asked friends to submit their own views of the matter. Here’s what some of them said:
For centuries nudity has been seen as something negative, something to hide. As for sex, then, that feeling is even stronger. It is never to be exposed or discussed honestly or in-depth… Most people feel extremely uncomfortable in exposing themselves, either through nudity or through a conversation about their sex lives. These are taboos built over time thanks to human hypocrisy. Society is not prepared for the explicit to become public, but in secrecy or anonymity people freely divulge their intimacy. The clandestine is accepted, the public is not. — Rodrigo Vieira
Erotic/sexual/explicit – some of the trigger words while growing up in rural Oklahoma in the early sixties. As the hippies were shocking the world with free love and counter-culture and daisies in the barrels of guns, I was going to church, being a boy scout and doing my best to avoid hell, which I was taught would become of me if I engaged with these subjects. Now when you combine these with the imagery, it would have been a volatile mix that could get you railed at from the pulpit. Fortunately time and introspection has allowed me a different view. I will admit that deep down there are still some of those triggers, but seeing the freedom you express with your body, your nudity, your erections, your wildly different takes from each photographer, I smile. I smile at the beauty, I smile at the provocativeness, I smile because it is incredible art. Bravo. — Mark Wyrick
One has to desexualize nudity and naturalize sexuality. Many societies still bear the Christian, somatophobic and repressive heritage of sexuality, very different from the Hellenic (or Greco-Roman) mentality and free-body culture (known in Europe by the German abbreviation F. K. K.). Indeed, it makes no sense to censor the exposure of the penis and vulva, focusing censorship and modesty on organs as natural as any other parts of the human being. — Arthur Virmond de Lacerda
It is not a matter of opinion, but of looking upon the human body and upon sex as a philosophy of life to be experienced, learned, understood and above all felt. A form of humanization, of redemption of essentiality. — Ruano Berenguel
A quick word between us: this shoot by Sam Devries was previewed earlier for my Contributors, who also get exclusive access to extras, outtakes and making-ofs of every new photoshoot. I count exclusively on your collaboration to continue making this kind of work. If you think it is worth it, you can contribute a small monthly amount to get access to all of this extra material and to several ways you and I can interact and collaborate in making this work. Click here to learn more about the contribution options and the corresponding benefits.
Finally, if you haven’t seen them yet, you can find the previous 24 NUDE Shoots here.