This composition pays tribute to the traditions of pinup and monochrome nude art photography while adding a twist of tinting. Aphrodite dries on the rocks after a dip in a mountain river. It is late afternoon, early summer. The sun is warm and the water was refreshing. An Appalachian breeze coaxes goosebumps and anticipation is in the air. Much of the summer is yet to come and new experiences lay ahead. We’ve hiked a ways and aren’t even sure if we’ve wandered across the state line. There are no worries, only an intense appetite to consume the warmth of the moment.
It is human nature to romanticize our memories. This artwork does that by emphasizing some elements of reality while diminishing others. The lack of color, framing, and angle of the light, all influence our interpretation of the scene.
Though nearly monochrome, warm and cool tones emphasize the forms. The beads of water evaporating from her echo the flecks of stone near her body and dots of light in the background. Her torso is arched upward in a stretch that is more emotional than physical. Light grazes her ribs and gentle shadows define her curves.
Her head is turned, exposing an ear, jawline, and hints of cheekbone, nose, and lips. A single hand reaches above her head, exploring outside her chosen field of vision. The soft shadows and bright highlights establish the summertime atmosphere.
One distinction this monochrome nude art photograph has, is that it depicts the human form at larger than life scale. This is evident in the image of the artist holding the limited edition print.
Influences for this artwork include Edward Weston’s monochrome nude art photography of Tina Modotti as well as black and white nude photographs by Imogen Cunningham. Both artists photographed nudes in nature, often cropped and faceless. I studied their work in art school and was fascinated by the interplay of form and line. The contours of the body, can be crisply outlined and the volume of the form can be defined by a smooth gradient, depending on the choice of lighting. Images that include both hard and soft shadows have always captured my imagination; the effect is achieved here using natural light, the result of skylight mixed with cloud-filtered sunlight.