A painting of me

Advanced Figurative Photography: Part 4

    3 November 2009, early evening

In between photo shoots.

The 4th class in my Figurative Photography Class was the first class where we photographed the nude body. I found the experience quite surreal. Normally the people you interact with are clothed. Having a conversation with a naked person is odd. Asking them to pose this way or that way is all the more strange.

The models were regulars at the AGO. It seemed like most of my class members had taken other gallery courses at the AGO, so they had already worked with nude models before. (A few even knew the models in question.) We were supposed to have a male and female model to work with, but the sculpture class lost their model so our female mode left to help them out. The male model called up his friend, another AGO regular, and so a half hour or so into the class we had two male models to work with, Ab and Flip. Being regulars, they were quite comfortable getting naked and contorting their body. They were probably far more comfortable with the situation than the people in my class.

I found that I would get wrapped up in the way the models were posed and forget where the shadows are falling on their bodies. Another issue is that the schlong is a very awkward appendage: it’s hard to place in a photograph. More so, I think it’s hard to photograph a dude’s junk and not have it be vulgar. I’m not sure what I can say about nude photography. I found it hard to take a meaningful photo. There are a few shots I thought were standout, but for the most part I felt like I was just taking pictures of naked people. Hopefully the next time we take pictures i’ll have a better idea of what I want to photograph.

A few NSFW images from the night are up on Flickr.



  1. Your schlong photos are marked private.

  2. Strange. So I set the safety filter on the photos to ‘restricted’, since they were of naked peoples. This apparently means that even if you put them in a set with a guest pass, no one can see them. I changed the safety filter and they should be visible now.

  3. I’ve done figure drawing courses with nude models in the past, so I assure you that it gets less awkward. However, when you’re drawing you have the option to omit parts. ;)

  4. I wonder if you will lose some critical social filters as you get used to staring at naked people?

  5. I never omitted parts when I drew nude models in my fine arts course at UW. I felt it unjust in the same way that I would have felt wronged if Doctor Manhattan was wrapped up in the live action version of Watchmen. I may have varied the detail though. I think it makes people look more alien to be honest, unless that’s the goal you’re going after.

    Maybe you just have to desensitize yourself to male genitalia so you can focus on the whole picture instead. It probably just takes time.

  6. I ended up with plenty of photos with junk in them, but I think they don’t look good. I think getting used to the nakedness doesn’t take too much time. I was taking pictures of all sorts of stuff not too long into the class. It’s still a strange experience, though.

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