Ansel Adams and Nudes

Ansel Adams reportedly did not make photographs of nudes. He said of Edward Weston’s nudes that they all looked like they were dead. I’ve never been able to look at this photo and many other of Weston’s nudes without thinking of that comment.edward2.gif

I don’t believe it, of course. It is quite possible to make photographs of nudes that are vibrant, vigorous and spirited. But it requires care of both the model and the photographer. Neither should ever forget that a four dimensional – at least four, maybe eleven; but this is not the place to discuss quantum mechanics – event is being reduced to a two-dimensional photograph. A particular moment in time is being reduced to a single moment, something that may be ontologically impossible. Buddhists, after all, define eternity in just such terms and they have a point. Eternity is something that has no beginning and no end. Think of a moment. Think of this moment. When did it start? When does it end? Art of all kinds must wrestle with that question at some level but especially photography.

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