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Male nudes and male gaze


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Male nudes and male gaze

3 Mar 2021 7:40AM   Views : 481 Unique : 314

I’ve had some interesting exchanges of correspondence with other members lately, and that’s shaping my blog quite frequently. Thanks to all the people with provocative views and intriguing questions!
Now, my comfort zone, photographically, involves a large bag of lenses and a female model: it may also involve old-fashioned film. The question I was asked was about male nudes – do they exist on this site? (Yes.) And that led to further thoughts about who might be taking them.

Lucyrabbit is the current leading practitioner here. Her images are always interesting and usually challenging: a worthwhile follow to add to your list, and her pictures will reward repeated viewing. But while they are wry and thoughtful, I suspect that few people will find the images alluring in the erotic sense (but I could be wrong).

I don’t shoot male nudes: to be precise, I have once shot a back view of a model’s boyfriend, and once photographed two female and one male model at a group session with a ’50 Shades of Grey’ theme. Both worked OK, but it’s not an area that I’m drawn to shoot more. Why not? I think that there needs to be a little bit of sexual chemistry for most nudes, certainly for sensual ones. I’m not talking about the ‘artist’s muse’ sort of relationship or anything like it, but there must be an emotional appreciation of the subject: just the tiniest hint of ‘in another life…’ Does that description speak to you?

There have been a number of successful female photographers working in the ‘men’s magazine’ market, and I remember seeing an interview with Janet Cook, who worked under the lens name of Fanny in the Seventies and Eighties – she spoke of a conspiracy with her models against men: complicit sisters in provocation. Sadly, I can find no digital trace of her – though in the course of looking I found a penis gallery on the Book of Man website. Disembodied bits are not that interesting, on the whole (pace, Georgia O’Keefe!).

But I feel neither the necessary attraction nor a desire to conspire to enrapture women, so I won’t be going there. Although – a model friend has started an interesting ‘reverse’ project, asking male photographers to pose for her, naked and outdoors. I’m hoping to get some words from her and one of the first photographers to respond to her. For the sake of clarity, I emphasise that she remains clothed while taking the pictures: it is a very interesting project, and she’s asking men to switch roles, which is challenging in the extreme.

In the same way that there are different types of feminine appeal in various characteristics (women reading: please check how annoyed you are by the squeaky-voiced dumb blonde style, or the strapping dominatrix) there are various types of masculine appeal from the geeky and intellectual to the testosterone-exuding Alpha male: maybe, for heterosexual photographers, one of the difficulties is in photographing someone who is trying to compete with you for something, even if it is not something that you feel competitive about?

Would you, if you’re a man, pose for her?

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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
3 Mar 2021 7:43AM
Naturally, a blog about a type of picture I don't take is unillustrated... But do go and find out about the adventures of Miss Lucy Rabbitston: there is a lot of wry humour there. And you can always seek out Tom of Finland for classic beefcake male nudes... Possibly the male equivalent of Playboy Playmates?
chataignier Avatar
chataignier Plus
10 258 15 France
3 Mar 2021 8:46AM
Male photographers posing nude for a female photographer - interesting social experiment, but 50+ overweight males would not normally be first choice as models. A large part of the appeal of nude photography for me is the beauty of the human form, male or female, and that must strongly influence the choice of subjects.
Would I pose for a nude shot ? 20 yrs ago, no problem. Today, not sure the result would please anyone.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
3 Mar 2021 8:55AM
I definitely understand the appeal of young and athletic form, in either sex: and I know it's discriminatory, in some senses, always.

Never having been troubled by being athletic, it's never been an issue for me (though once, under interesting circumstances, I was asked if I was a model. 'Interesting' but not alluring: the answer was and remains no. But in less fetish-orientated surroundings, there is an element of 'put up or shut up' to such a challenge.

The model in question knows full well what her past photographers look like: and I think we need to be mindful that there is value and beauty in every face and body...
cooky Avatar
cooky Plus
19 7 11 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2021 12:15PM
Already interesting...Unique views 57 and comments 4 by 3 people! Likes 4. At time of writing!

I think this is a really worthy blog and discussion. I have started looking at the nude images recently, never blocked them but never really looked like I would at a landscape, macro or just anything in fact. To say they don't interest me appears a tad insulting not just to the photographer but to the model. So I am a 'reformed' character! I look with an amateur photographer's eye, to learn and improve and no I won't be stepping into the arena but like food, you can't have an opinion on something you haven't tasted!

So can describe some as sensual, seductive, slightly provocative and yes I am liberated and can say that heterosexual women will often look at other women and say they are attractive etc. That doesn't always mean in a sexual way just a recognition of beauty, face, movement, whatever. Women are probably more likely to find beauty and a kindred spirit in a face that has character, signs of living, crows' feet, laughter lines, a glance. They are sometimes also threatened by the 'picture perfect' blemish free female. No stretch marks - a sign of beauty and often of giving life, bigger/smaller women, cellulite etc. In my terms I would make a comparison between a beautiful untouched landscape and an industrial one. Both worthy but oh so different. Whether the image is sexually stimulating would depend on loads of factors, sexual preferences, where viewed, who with etc.

Breast feeding, piercings, tattoos, dyed hair, fat, thin etc does not matter a jot. The recent adverts on TV are now showing a selection of women in all their beauty, battle scars and all - brilliant!

Now for the blokes...This does appear to be a limited field, much less than female nudes. To be fair I'm not well qualified to judge and can only base my knowledge on the advertising world and speaking to female and male friends! Think the general rule of thumb is the complete opposite of the female if they are looking for sexual interest. Less is more but saying that, if you're looking for seduction, isn't that sometimes the same for both sexes? What is beneath the veil is more provocative? Just musing. By that I mean the rolled down overalls while holding a tyre in a workshop, topless male holding a new born baby, Mr Diet Coke Bloke! I feel I need to take John's advice and go and visit Lucy Rabbit before I make any comments on nude photography as I am severely under researched!

I do obviously appreciate the fact we are discussing Nude Photography on EPZ not the wider field.

Robert51 Avatar
Robert51 15 14 147 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2021 3:53PM
I think watching "The Full Monty" covers a lot of questions that people may ask here like "fat old bloke". We are what we are and there are lots of male models in art classes, so is it more about the attraction of the photograpger to the model being either male or female. We will always to be drawn to the things we like and photography is no different.

If anyone wanted me to photograph loads of naked women, I would have to bite the bullet and just do the job...
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
3 Mar 2021 6:08PM
But if a random woman asked if you would pose nude for her?

That's the question that pushes buttons. Or a man?

I suspect I'd run out of comfort zone pretty rapidly, myself.
Mrserenesunrise Avatar
3 Mar 2021 11:09PM
Hi John,
I have decided to push myself this year (when it is safe to do so) and I will endeavour to photograph a male nude...hopefully my appreciation of light and shade will be helpful lol.

Part of me would find it exhilarating to pose naked in the wilds of Wales (I hope you are referring to Leaf as the photographer)
Her knowledge of posing, using locations and her skill as a photographer should ensure a decent image.(whether I would enjoy seeing the images is another question!) lol
The other female model/photographer that we have worked with who shoots both females and males would be a challenge to pose for!


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
4 Mar 2021 9:48AM
Cheers, Tim!

And yes, Leaf, wonder-model, amazing editor and fine photographer. I hope to get some comments from her for a future blog...

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