August 13, 2015

The New Candid Nude by Kiran Patil, part 2

Article written and illustrated by Kiran.


The New Candid Nude, written by Kiran Patil

"Candace N II"

Nudity, by itself, is not sexual to me. It is honest. 

That is the crux of why I continue to explore what I will call the "new candid nude".Candid nudes have been photographed since the invention of the camera. What I feel is 'new' in my work is the philosophy behind the approach of taking the photograph, not necessarily the visible properties of the picture itself. It much more than a simple snapshot aesthetic of yesteryear.

I have found that there are three masks that most people wear when they are photographed : clothing, physical and emotional.



Let's look at an imaginary man walking out of a corner cafe, cigarette poking out between his lips, sporting a leather jacket and sunglasses. What is our impression of him ? His eyes are hidden, adding an air of mystery. The leather jacket exudes a tough-guy persona and the cigarette hanging from his mouth screams of being a rebel. Whether we conciously realize it or not, clothing acts as a mask of how we want the world to see us.

Remove the clothing and we remove the first mask to help reveal the true Essence of a person. This is why nudity is essential in my photography.


Clothing is just the first obstacle, however. We still have to deal with the physical and emotional masks, which are much tougher to unveil.

The physical mask is the purposeful way that a person postures their body to interact with the camera, the environment and themself.

As we all know from looking at glamour magazines, certain poses and facial gestures signify sexuality, submissiveness, strength, success and so forth. When being photographed, even inexperienced models will often structure their body and face such a way that projects an image flattering to the viewer. In a world obsessed with perfect images, one cannot blame a would-be model for doing this.


In order to break the free from the physical mask, I ask the subject to engage in an activity.

I find that the act of doing something - anything - for a length of time can push the awareness of being gazed at from the forefront of model's mind.

"Kerri II"


The emotional mask is tethered to the physical mask. We express how we feel by our body's posture. When the physical mask goes down, the underlying cause is the erosion of the emotional mask.

In performing an activity and concentrating on that one task, a person will show their true self. 

Even something as innoculous and dull as folding their laundry will reveal a state of emotion that they may have been holding back. It is important that the photographer not take photos right away. Some time must pass before the model "loses themself" in the activity.


The goal of the new candid nude is to explore the person's Essence - the intangible quality that makes a person who they are.

The emotional mask is the last layer to peel away before the viewer is able to see the truth of a person's existence.

Whether the photo is a success or not, we should applaud everyone who steps in front of my camera. Once the emotional mask is removed, there is a vulnerability that is exposed and if I were a brutal madman, I could easily say something to strongly wound a person's psyche.

The new candid nude is not a venture that should be taken lightly by a photographer. Every word and every action taken should be considered carefully.

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