Media Needs to Once Again Appreciate Nude Portraits

“I wish I still had a body like yours,” my mother says as I’m looking in the mirror feeling uncomfortable in my one-piece swimsuit.

“You look beautiful. You’ll look back on pictures of your body one day and regret calling yourself names,” she continues.

Two years later, there I am lying fully nude in a forest outside of Barcelona while someone photographs me — more importantly my body.

If you would have told me a few years ago that I would one day be living in Barcelona, casually doing nude photography, I would have laughed out loud. Not this girl. But life has a way of surprising you, and I’ve grown to admire my body.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash

After all, the human body is a masterpiece. It’s a masterpieces that has been painted into — well, masterpieces for centuries. Masterpiece inception, perhaps?

Why is it that we can visit nearly any art museum in the world and spy nipples in all shapes, sizes, and colors? Same goes for penises, too.

There’s no R-rated room filled with all the nude portraits and sculptures taken over the centuries. Children aren’t denied entry due to the sensitivity of the matter, and no one is getting ID-ed beforehand either.

Yet if you posted a nude photograph on Instagram, imagine how long it would take to get removed. Probably not that long. Despite how tasteful and artistic the photograph may be, it’s still seen purely as pornography and has to be censored. When did nude art cross the line into just pornography?

The Renaissance Era celebrated human life and that included their bodies. As a result, museums are filled with the work of this era despite modern day restrictions on nudity.

It’s also interesting to compare the Renaissance to modern day. Dressing modesty was the norm, but so was nudity among artistic expressions. Today, however, men and women can make their own definitions and determiners as to what is considered modest wear, but the nude portrait has lost its touch. It’s often seen as “bold” or “slutty” and artists struggle to share their art on social media platforms because of the censorship of nudity.

However, nude portraits artists are not intending to create pornography showcasing bold or slutty men or women. They want to celebrate the human body and appreciate it like centuries ago once did.

I love my nude portraits because it represents the misshapes, imperfections, and beauty of the human body. It showcases that we aren’t just cookie-cutter people with a filter slapped on us. Our bodies are art forms, just like Renaissance artists once saw them. Plus, one day I’ll take my mom’s advice. I’ll look back at these portraits and be impressed with the woman I once was and the body I proudly showcased as I was intertwined in the enchanting forests of Barcelona.

Freelance writer, solo traveler & sustainable explorer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store