Contemporary nude photography ranges from pinup to beaux arts. This black and white composition undertakes elements of both.
With her back towards the viewer, she looks over her shoulder in an oasis of tropical foliage. Shadows filtering through palm leaves cast a warped, grid-like pattern on her smooth form, interspersed with highlights. These projections camouflage her contours, blending with the surrounding shapes. Brightly-lit skin contrasts with the texture created by the leaves in the background. The foliage creates a wide array of values, ranging from deep, black pockets of shadow to bright highlights.
The woman gazes sensually toward the viewer with her hand delicately grazing her cheek. With her lips slightly parted and her black tresses veiling her eyes, she is a mysterious figure. While she invites the viewers into her trust by gazing at them, she also has an air of inaccessibility. The image has a voyeuristic feel to it. The subject seems only half-aware of being observed.
The soft shadows on her form contribute to this curious quality. The highlights pull attention down her back through gently shifted hips. Grains of sand on her back and hip coax exploration of the subtle variations of texture and pattern throughout the image.
Photographed on a small island in The Bahamas. This image is a counterpart to another tropical nude photograph from the same location.
The depiction of the female nude in a tropical setting was explored by Henri Rousseau. His piece “The Dream” depicts a nude, reclining female surrounded by exotic, tropical foliage, including what appears to be palm trees. This is one of the first artists I studied with regard to a style evolving based on visiting new cultures. It undoubtedly influenced this contemporary nude photography. The contrast of the smooth, curved female form with the sharp, sleek palm leaves makes an interesting juxtaposition.