Nude Models

I cannot understand what compels one to be a nude model for drawing or painting class. I have thought of doing so myself a few times to earn some well needed money, but the realization of not one, but many pairs of eyes gazing at and studying my nakedness never sat well enough with me to actually do it.

I have drawn a few nudes myself, all of which were middle aged hippy women or old men, and none of which would fit the ideal image of beauty. I know why I am an artist, or at least why I should study the nude, but I wonder why model in the nude for artists.

I have a hard time believing it is just for the money. We all have insecurities about our own bodies, which occasionally brings us to comparing ourselves with others, and others with other others. For some, if they do not fit the ideal beauty that popular culture has created self loathe sets in followed by destructive behavior. I wonder if for the model that is far from this ideal image if it is empowering to model in the nude for artists.

While society rejects them as ugly or infirm, the artist finds beauty in them in search of their own ideal of beauty. Perhaps, yes, the artist is most guilty for constructing these ideals that people fail to meet, but it is also the artist that can appreciate a fold of skin that hangs down over another fold of skin and can turn that into something people who would have initially scoffed at into something of quiet contemplation, into something beautiful.

It must be a way for those models that society deems unattractive to have their being turned into an object of beauty. It must be a way to reject society’s label for them.

Either that or the nude model is a narcissist, believing that of course their gorgeousness must be captured as only an artist can. Or maybe it is a form of seduction, or an odd form of shameful emotional masochism. Or something more.

As I never took my clothes off and struck a pose, baring all to be drawn, I don’t know why nude models pose. I hope it isn’t just for the money.

 

abstractnude

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3 comments

  1. Hi, as someone who has been a nude model and an artist, I did it because I like life drawing classes and found it interesting to strike and hold poses that were interesting to draw. I did not freak out about people looking at me as I knew that they were more worried about getting their drawing right than if I corresponded with there idea of beauty, A good life model is very hard to find and it is a difficult job at times. The money also helped, but I did not always do it for money. Karen

  2. I have been a photographer for years, and I started life modeling for two reasons: one is to put some serious time, thought and energy into posing (what works, what doesn’t, etc.); and two, as someone who has worked with many nude models, I understood that the model is, at least potentially, in a vulnerable position. I wanted to better understand how it felt to be the model in that situation, so I could be more empathetic in my role as a photographer.

    As I started modeling, I got some encouraging, constructive and positive feedback. And I found I liked working creatively toward making an image from a whole new approach. So I kept going.

    And the money is nice, too, even if it’s not a fortune.

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