From 'The Online Photographer':
"Sanders McNew explores the tension between the concepts of "portraits" and "nudes" in flattering but unretouched photographs of real women.
Mostly nude portraits (not workplace/school friendly)
A very short article about the work"
I looked at every single one of those photographs, and I thought Sanders' effort was absolutely wonderful
To me he did what he set out to do, which was to capture a full panorama of women, of all body types, ethnicities, and emotions in a neutral and natural setting. Yes, some of the women were hideous, I mean so hideous in fact that I personally might have been tempted to get my gun, not a camera (LOL). But hey, that was part of the story being told.
In reading some of the comments posted, it seems as if there is a certain shallowness or denseness that biases some people toward physical beauty alone, as if the only things in this world that are "beautiful" are those which possess perfect physical form. But is "physical form" all there is to beauty? I mean, how many of us have met physically perfect women ... who have gotten uglier by the second every time they talk, because they either have no personality or a negative one? Conversely, how many of us have met women who may not be perfect physically, but the more we talk with them, interact with them, and see the light and mischief in their eyes, the more and more attractive they become to us?
In fine, the human spirit
can be beautiful too, more beautiful in fact than mere human form
And this is what I personally found was so compelling about Sanders' work: there was a broad spectrum of natural human emotions to be seen, for those who are subtle enough to see them. From women who were clearly a little shy and withdrawn, to those who were basically unimaginative and boring in their poses, to those women whom you could see were transformed by the moment into really feeling
beautiful ... all of these emotional ranges were captured on film ... and all of these kinds of emotions and levels of comfort are part of being human.
When an ordinary woman gets to be photographed nude for the first time, and just beams in front of the camera because she is delighted to have this kind of attention lavished on her, is this not a form of beauty? It doesn't matter that her physical form isn't perfect, what matters is that something positive and needing to be expressed in her has come to life
, and that was captured on film.
It kinda reminds me of what happened last weekend, while I was leaving my girlfriend's house. We had just spent the day horseback riding, then we ate an early dinner out by her pool, and then of course the evening progressed from there
Sadly, I had to split though, as it was just about night time and I had to get back, so she walked me to my car. As we said our goodbyes, I sat in my car and looked up at her ... and she had her arms folded and just had this smile on her face that captured "everything feminine" ... she was at once girly, womanly, satisfied, happy, sad I was leaving, basically every emotion she was feeling was all wrapped up in that one beautiful moment.
I had my camera handy on my front seat, and I just reached for it and snapped that special moment right then and there. The autoflash was off and the photo came out very dark, with the ISO too high, and the shot was too grainy. So I re-adjusted the camera, and set-up everything up manually, and I asked her to "stay still" so I could take another shot, but better-prepared this time. As I compared the two photos, the interesting thing I immediately noticed was that the second shot was technically the better shot. The color was right, the lighting was right, the clarity was better, everything was superior in that second photo ... except one tiny detail. The special moment was lost. Her smile had changed to slightly unnatural and the surreal, natural mood of the darkness was blinded by the flash. It just wasn't the same.
At the end of the day, the first photo (though technically inferior) was ultimately the better preservation of her beauty, because it captured everything I wanted to capture, including the moody darkness, but most importantly it captured "the magic" of what made me want to take the photo to begin with: her radiance
. What I most wanted to see and remember was something beyond mere physical form, or flawless photographic execution, it was a mood and a feeling
, a satisfied woman beaming at me. I don't know how else to explain it.
Anyway, I have digressed a bit, but my point is that sometimes seeing flawless photos of made-up models does get old
after awhile. That isn't what we see in real life. I found Sanders' effort to be very refreshing, and indeed very interesting, precisely because I was able to see a whole gamut of not just physical bodies, but more importantly all kinds of levels of confidence, happiness, imagination in poses, etc. Yes, there were some truly insipid poses shown, and some truly ugly women too ... that I would probably be very happy if I never saw again. But you know what? That's part of life too.
But there were also
some women captured whom I wouldn't have really given a second look under other circumstances, but yet whom I could see were beaming
in front of that camera, literally glowing. And to me there is nothing sexier or more beautiful than that, which is the human spirit glowing, especially in a woman.