The Male Nude

year: 1983     models: Michael and Tony

A young naked male model poses teasingly on a bed. A beautiful body – a dancer no less. But a sentimental cliché, surely! Photos are taken. The technical quality is poor, especially with regard to lighting. Altogether undistinguished results, as might be expected in this my first foray into photography.

If technical expertise is absent another approach might be possible, to draw out sometime new and fresh from this medium. I decide to explore and exploit the characteristics of the negative itself, by painting on it with colour pens. The small scale prohibits finesse. Next I attack the negative itself, scratching and scraping its surface. At various stages the negative is printed to check the effect. As the progressive ‘abuse’ of the normally inviolate negative continues the results are surprising. The colours, reversed, are unexpectedly brilliant and attractive. Scratches create wild and dynamic contours. The rate of attrition is high as the ‘groping-in-the-dark’ manipulation more often than not fails to produce a satisfying result, or images pass beyond a point of redemption.

But I was pleased by the final selection of images which are so much more full of life and colour, and which have a distinctly ‘painterly’ quality.