The place of the nude in WPF photography

Following some recent discussions about the place of the nude in WPF photography the Federation President, Cliff Emery, has published some thoughts.

Nudes in Photography A Presidents view

a) For centuries nudes have formed a significant part of sculpture, painting and photography. A current programme on BBC points out that the first nude female statue was created back in Minoan times many centuries ago and it has continued through Greek, Roman and European art ever since – it was no surprise that photography in the 19th Century included such images as part of its repertoire, The programme further points out that we are the only sentient beings on the planet that has always found the creation of pictures and art a significant part of its makeup – right from prehistoric man and their cave paintings up until the current times. It is only the media that has changed.

b) Secondly, the presence of nudes has become rather blasé over the recent years as can be seen daily on page 3 of newspapers such as The Sun, Daily Star and others – these images are repetitive, boring and bring little artistic quality – they are professionally photographed, well lit, beautifully sharp and neatly composed – but they are all the same. If they appeared in Photographic competitions I would expect the first one to score well but simply on repetition I would expect the scores to drop markedly for subsequent images – I am sure even avid readers of these tabloids probably skip quickly over these pictures every day.

c) Thirdly, I believe that our Judges ought to think seriously about images such as these and not mark them high because they are nudes. Judges should look for additional artistic input from the photographer, be it in dramatic lighting, posing, and generally adding a story to the image. To see what I am trying to suggest look at Images by Judith Parry, Tim Pyle and others who regularly do well in Salons and bring that extra indefinable but obvious addition to their pictures. Only then should Judges give high marks.

d) Finally, the WPF is not a controlling organisation we do not issue edicts and instructions to our Clubs who are Affiliated members of our Organisation. The Clubs themselves are in control of their activities, image choices and the styles of photography they find acceptable and practiced by their Club members. The WPF does not believe that Censorship of this genre of photography is in the best interest of our hobby nor of photography in general as this genre has long been a part of Photography and still continues to be displayed, it seem to us, by every other Club and Federation in the PAGB and wider still as is evidenced by its regular appearance and acceptance in International Exhibitions organised by FIAP, PSA etc.

e) However, the WPF would have no hesitation in banning any image that wandered into the obscene, pornographic or downright distasteful – and I am sure all our Clubs, Members and Judges would respond in the same manner.

Cliff Emery President WPF 5th March 2018

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