'With his dry, matter of fact approach, he underlines the absurdity of truth and objectivity in photography while playing with our reliance upon taxonomies around sexual representation.' There is a boundary often crossed in fashion photography where nudity is used as titillation or provocation, both distastefully and unsuccessfully. Of course the female body, and indeed the male body which is seen nude to a lesser extent, is a form to be celebrated but when does this form become overtly exploited by photographers and creative directors alike? Richard Kern has an interesting approach, he provokes his models to use their sexuality naturally whilst asking the reader to explore their own relationship to the imagery presented.
In British society, in particular, sex and the nude are subjects which are still not quite entirely socially accepted; the term 'prudish' is used almost synonymously with the typical British reserved manner. Nudity has been used in days gone by within art, countless Renaissance images display their idealised vision of femininity and although these images were seldom based on real life studies of nude women, the female nude was indeed a celebrated object of art and beauty. Modernity therefore seems to have attached some sense of disgust or an air of taboo with the naked body which is odd because our age is one of great advances, it seems regressive to take this attitude. Although a large section of society does find nudity an awkward state, Kern's models seem in full possession of their nudity and fully comfortable; with strong compositions, and an ease in viewing, these photographs seem to be less about confrontation and more about nature. The locations forming the naturalistic intention with the models slotting effortlessly into each scene. It is indeed a fine line to cross in fashion photography with no definite solution; beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder but it would seem apt to note that men like Kern are progressing in a direction that gives a more artistic view of the nude.