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Exhibition Features 27 New Mexico Photographers
The naked human form has been a subject of visual art since the creation of Venus of Willendorf, roughly 30,000 years ago.
But as residents of a relatively protestant country in a relatively conservative time, Americans rarely see the nude figure outside of pornography or the bathroom mirror.
This struck photographer Kenneth Ingham as a problem needing fixing.
“You occasionally see a nude piece in a gallery,” Ingham said. “But I really feel like it is an underrepresented subject in our society.”
This inspired him to create the Artistic Nude Show, a group photography exhibition of 27 New Mexican artists.
The finalists were selected for their artistic merit, a criterion Ingham admitted is hard to qualify.
“Artistic means different things to different people…so this was a collectively curated gallery,” Ingham explained.
The only other guidelines for entry were that the models be consenting adults, and almost or completely unclothed.
Both sexes are on display, both in front of and behind the camera, which should ease the doubts of those concerned by the Male Gaze.
As a photographer of nudes himself, Ingham understands the challenges of getting started in the field, and offered some advice for beginners.
“For models, check the photographer out carefully,” he said. “While there are honorable photographers, particularly everyone in this show, there are also those who are not respectful.”
New photographers would be wise to take a similar tack.
“If it’s your first time, it’s really best to hire an experienced model who knows what to do,” he advised.“There is also always the option of working in a class where a model is provided.”
Ingham said he enjoys shooting the human body because it is such a rich medium to “explore the interaction of light and shape.”
For the viewer, it can also provide space to reflect on the grace and complexity of our unique forms, one of the few things we as a species have in common.
Obviously, our own bodies have been the subject of fascination from the stone age up to our present era, but it is difficult these days to see it in an artistic lens. This show will hopefully provide us the opportunity to see the nude from new and diverse perspectives, and to reevaluate its meaning in the context of our current moment.
The Artistic Nude Show will be on display at the Artistic Image Gallery, located at 1101 Cardenas Dr. NE, Suite 102 Albuquerque, NM 87110, until April 1.
Featured image credits:
Photo: Kenneth Ingham
Model: Kel Moseley