BLUR magazine: Is nude photography “playing it safe” in regards to having an audience? Why do you think female nudes attract such an audience (especially men) and why aren’t male nudes photographed as much?
Jacques Beneich: Women and what female nudity refers to as “promises” is the ultimate mystery, a quest of Graal that ruled the world from the very beginning. It refers to youth, love, sex, passion, and then maternity to leave descendants as a trace and a part of ourselves. The quests of power, battles, wars, conflicts beyond religions, territories, richness, have always been in order to “get women” as an ultimate goal or at least were never out of the frame. Since the very beginning, nudity has always been a major subject of visual representation by drawings, mosaic, paintings, sculptures, photography, film … It attracts so much audience, especially men, because it’s the most universal subject. Photography became the first medium to get the closest to the reality of this Graal. Societies have always mainly represented men more as warriors, dominants, than objects of desire and conquests.
BLUR magazine: Although nudity has been present in art from its very beginnings, do you sometimes think that we haven’t progressed as much as we should have? Did we, while keeping in mind today’s reaction to nudity, maybe even take a few steps back?
Jacques Beneich: It’s like everything, the more you show, the less room is left for you, your imagination, your fantasy, the difference between erotica and porn. Black and white photography has always been more magic because it forces you to interpret what you don’t see. We live, dream, exist in color, unless the color is treated as some painters did, in another way than natural, there is less mystery. I don’t even know if the fascination or attraction we have for black and white hasn’t something to do with our childhood fears or Plato’s myth of the cavern and knowledge. Woman’s nudity carries so much mystery and desire that we keep re-adapting, re-writing over and over again the subject within the limits that societies we live in permit, from one period to another one.
There’s only a few more days left (until Jan 4th 2015!) to the deadline for your submissions to the Photographic Nude 2015 competition by Lightbox Photographic Gallery. As the main juror of Photographic Nude 2015 as well as the editor BLUR Magazine, I invite you to take the chance to participate in this contest, as it’s an amazing opportunity for every aspiring nude photographer to have their work exhibited at this exceptional venue.
The Photographic Nude 2015 is a juried exhibit exploring the artistic and creative view of the body and it’s form. This exhibit celebrates the nude in photography, welcoming the timeless elegance of a classical study as well as alternative and provocative styles. Studies of the whole or partial human form, nude or semi-nude are eligible.