Et Dieu… créa la femme

As a Quora.com Top Writer, I often answer questions on that platform and this one question, “If your girlfriend goes to a professional photographer and takes nudes for hours, how would you feel about that?” I felt I had to share here on Americano Dream. My answer is below, though photo captions were added and the image layout here is different than on Quora.com. 

As Originally Posted on Quora.com

Girlfriend Poses Nude Photo

Photograph of one of my models at our Philadelphia photography workshop.

As a professional photographer who’s photographed many women nude, from publication in Playboy to private boudoir sessions, I’m going to answer this question as asked, talk about assumptions, then explain what goes on during a nude photography photo session and finally the girlfriend’s perspective. I do this to hopefully give you an idea why it can take hours, and sometimes even a second day of shooting.

As The Significant Other

As the significant other, if my girlfriend goes to a professional photographer to shoot nudes and takes hours, I would not be bothered provided the photographer was an established professional. The same is no different for when my girlfriend goes to her OBGYN.

Implied Nude Book Cover

Implied nude photograph of Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough for my first photography book.

Now that is easily said, but as a Leo Latin male, honestly, I’m not going to lie, I have a little jealousy in my blood, so yes, it does bother me to some extent, but as the song says, “Some things are better left unsaid.” The reason, because as the significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife, is that you need to have confidence in the one you love in order for that relationship to last, along with trust. If you don’t, then you’re in the wrong relationship. It’s OK if you’re bothered in the back of your head as that merely indicates you are human with feelings for your significant other.

The Assumptions

Here is the irony in this question; did anyone even think that the photographer is a female photographer? Honestly, how many people that first read the question assume the photographer was male? My daughter is a photographer in Atlanta that photographs everything from weddings to boudoir and even nudes—sometimes even of men! She’s not only very professional and married with children, but she’s good at what she does.

The problem with our society, specifically the U.S., we tend to assign masculinity to many professions, i.e., doctors, surgeons, soldiers, lawyers, photographers, law enforcement, etc., so my question to the original poster is, “Would you still ask this question if the photographer was a female?” Maybe, maybe not, the point is, we’re all programmed by the society we live in—the U.S.—in as much as I love my country, and served patriotically in the U.S. Army and civil service for the U.S. Air Force for a total of 17 years, the U.S. is a very hypocritical society in various things—sexuality and nudity being two of them.

I lived in Europe for three years and Central America for 26 months, two different cultures due to their own societal programming. In Europe, they are more open minded about sex and nudity, and just the opposite in Central America, and both regions are different than the U.S. when it comes to what we “publicly feel and say” with sexuality and nudity. It’s all about the psyche in the part of the world we live in that causes these perceptions, though things are changing thanks to the Internet and social media. Basically, I’m willing to bet you’re asking this question because of your exposure to your society in the part of the world where you reside.

Model Photograph

This photo was captured by my daughter, Stephanie Gomez, a professional photographer based in Atlanta.

The Professional Photographer’s Perspective

Moving on to the professional photographer’s perspective as I’ve been photographing nude women for almost four decades now, professional models as well as private clients that wanted some nude photos for themselves or their significant others.

First, as a pro photographer I take my time, I don’t rush things. My father always said, “If you rush it, you’ll screw it up.” Normally artists don’t rush. In fact, the majority of my time is used to better understand my subject, who they are, and why they want the nude photos. This process is what professional photographers call “building rapport” with their subjects so throughout the process both are comfortable with each other in order for the photographer to capture, not just her outer beauty, but her inner beauty too. I’m after the perfect smile in my subject.

Model Smile Photo

Photograph of Elizabeth during or last Atlanta, Model Photographer Extravaganza.

Photography is the art of capturing the inner- and outer-beauty of life at a specific moment in time. When it comes to photographing women, it’s a marriage of the minds between the photographer and the subject that often leads to the perfect smile, the corners of the lips in harmony with the corners of the eyes.

Notice I say “subject” and “photographer,” not woman or man, or male and female. Ultimately a photography session is about the photographer and the subject working together to create photographs, not pictures, and the nude human body is the hardest thing to photograph because no one has a perfect body. You can read more what a photographer has to comprehend when photographing the nude female form in this article, The Human Body, A Photographer of Women Perspective.

As a photographer if there is one piece of advice that I could offer to the significant other, be proud your woman is doing this for you and the last thing you want to do is send her to a photography session worried about negative thoughts from you. I’ll also add, with the pressures women face today, especially in the U.S. when it comes to beauty, age, and physical looks, she’s also doing this for her own self-esteem.

Model Headshot

Photo of Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough captured at one of our Philadelphia photography workshops.

The Girlfriend’s Perspective

As men, we have it easy, we can put a baseball cap on and skip a day of shaving and no one really cares, it’s a hundred times more important to a woman as they are under tremendous pressure when it comes to their looks and that is something most men don’t understand. It’s this pressure that often causes women to seek reassurance, and reassurance comes from many sources today, whether it’s presenting her boyfriend with some sexy boudoir or nude photos and watching your response, including your facial expressions upon first view, to “likes” from selfies posted on social media which I thoroughly outline in the article, Like Me, My Life Depends On It.

It’s about her needs, not yours. As a man, she’s your lady, and while another man may have captured her beauty on a camera, ultimately she’s your lady. One piece of advice I teach at my photography workshops of women to other photographers is to “capture her needs, don’t try to solve her problems.” Think about that and how it applies to you and your relationship with your lady. With that, I leave you with some famous French words, which became a movie starring Bridget Bardot, Et Dieu… créa la femme, which translates to And God Created Woman.

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