I rambled a bit about my hobby in a previous post and wanted to expound about it a bit more. When people find out what I do for fun they naturally have questions. Most of those questions, oddly enough, focus on what I plan to do with the photos I take. When I tell them “not a dang thing,” the reactions range from incredulity to jaw-dropping incredulity. After all, there has got to be some ulterior motive at play.
“So do you try to get them published?”
“Do you exhibit them?”
“Sometimes. When invited to.”
“Do you sell them?”
“So you just…take pictures. Of nude women. Just because.”
I think the incredulity is driven by two things. First, the “nude women” thing. After all, there are tons of subjects a hobbyist could turn their cameras towards, such as still lifes or bugs or birds or food or landscapes or astrophotography or pets. Does it have to be nude women!?
But…why not nude women? The nude form has been celebrated in art for millennia. but nude art does not have to cater to The Male Gaze. The challenge I set for myself artistically is avoiding “the gaze” entirely. Asexual or not, there is a lot of conditioning and programming I’ve been subjected to over five decades and it isn’t easy to avoid all the visual tropes.
Secondly, it is the thought that somebody would spend so much time on something so specific, so dang odd, with no expectation or reward.
To which I say: have you ever met a golfer?
Hobbies are not rational activities. A typical golfer will spend thousands on clubs alone and untold, but significant, amounts for clothing, greens fees, golf course memberships, and frequently whole vacations, all in support of their hobby and without ever once going pro. And yet, few would dare to suggest that they should go pro, because otherwise what’s the point of investing all the time, money, and effort?
I think the difference is that photography is viewed as both a hobby and a commodity. People sell photos. They have photos published. Therefore, if you’re good enough either should be attainable, if not outright desirable.
But I certainly don’t care about such things and I feel that most photographers (or golfers, or model train enthusiasts, or bonsai cultivators) don’t either. Hobbies are hobbies. They don’t need a purpose to flourish.
So for anyone who asks: nope, my interest in art nude photography doesn’t extend past personal growth and artistic development.