Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Women photographing men

I have started using my Bronica more frequently and have finally sorted how to develop and scan my negatives. It is all quite exciting. I am not very technically minded so it took me a while to get to know my camera. But now I seem to have it under control, after a few botched attempts.
Being a photographer I need subjects. After toying with various ideas I realised that my interest is, after all,  in art nude. So far so good. Except that I want to take pictures of men. And in saying this I know I am opening a can of worms.
Roswell Ivory wrote a piece for UdA about the male nude, regretting the scarcity of images in comparison to those of the female form. Model Mayhem has had several forum posts about female photographers photographing nude men.  The score so far: most male photographers who shoot male nudes tend to be gay. Straight male photographers do not by and large shoot male nudes, only a few do. Straight male photographers do not find it easy to capture the sensuality of the male form. A handful of female photographers have risen to prominence for shooting male nudes - Maricevic among others. In the UK Cecilie Harris and India Hobson have published Boys by Girls. It is an ongoing project:

"The Boys by Girls website represents our first book and continues building on the focus on male models being shot by female photographers. For our published (and to be published) boys, we also follow what else they are up to and try to get an insight into their world through our model stories features. We will also be introducing new fresh faces as well as more established boys to share with you through this site and future print projects".

But it is not all that straightforward. My casting call on MM went up last night and I have already received several expressions of interest - all dishearteningly unsuitable. Several male models on such sites are not model material at all, that's the bottom line. So finding the men that satisfy my aesthetic requirements is not going to be easy.

Let's face it. Photographers taking images of women can take their pick of the available models, with hundreds of new comers everyday joining internet model sites, keen to be photographed, and so they can lay down the criteria. Female photographers wanting to photograph nude men do not have it that easy. Still...

I cannot but endorse what the dA group The Male Soul (some superb shots of men can be seen there) say about their raison d'etre, that of showcasing male beauty. That's my goal too.

Men are definitely beautiful... albeit some more than others.

There will be other posts on this topic, as this project develops, so plenty to discuss. The most important, most exciting thing for me is the role reversal that this affords me. As a model I have experienced the chauvinism and arrogance of a number of male photographers, and had to bite my lip. As a photographer, I will be in a position to call the shots, no pun intended... and be able to show the beauty of a man the way a woman sees it.

(Photos by Martin Robinson modelled by Alex B shot at Martin's studio. Notice the Bronica)


  1. interesting post, Alex.....especially as there are so few female photographers, when compared to the number of males at MM. I never thought about females shooting male nudes.

  2. I have long lamented the dearth of male nudes in museums, photo books and sites like dA. I am straight, but I enjoy looking at male nudes almost as much as female nudes, and for many of the same reasons. I eagerly await seeing male nudes by you!

  3. Oh, the number of factors in why few women photograph male nudes.
    Although there are as many female photographers as men out there, few do model photography. Fewer still shoot nudes, and when they do, the female nude still ends up being preferred.

    I once tried to hire a male model for a figure study contest at deviant art. There were only about 10 models within 150 miles of where I live listed at Model Mayhem who stated that they would model nude, and most of them hadn't been active on the site in over a year. None of them had any nudes in their portfolios. Of the handful that were still active on the site, none of them responded when I tried to contact them. No luck on the casting call, either.

    Good luck finding your models! I'd love to see what you do.

  4. Very interesting... are You seeking models yet?