Anonymous was a project born out of necessity. Nudity in the USA seems to fall into two categories: it is either something reserved between two partners, or it is an integral part of the sex industry.
Where I live, in the Southern United States, a nude model is often viewed in the same light as a stripper or prostitute. Unfortunately, there appears to be no middle ground for artistic, tasteful nudity to exist, much less appreciated. Times and attitudes do change however, particularly among women who have opened their minds to see and even portray the art and beauty of the naked form. Yet even with a shift in attitude among these women, there is still a very real fear of being condemned or ostracized within their social circles and communities for exposing themselves.
This fear has always been an obstacle to many women who are otherwise willing to take part in creative process by posing nude for the sake of art. Despite this fear, many women still expressed a desire to model for me, as long as they couldn't be easily recognized. That's when the idea for this book began to form in my mind…a collection of tastefully shot, artistic nudes, where the subject themselves can remain anonymous.
Muses is a project that is an amalgamation of many other different projects.
The Skinny: Last year I posted a picture of a model on facebook and got SO MANY ugly comments about how she ‘obviously had an eating disorder’ and that I was ‘perpetuating an unrealistic ideal to other women’.
Whilst I applaud the efforts of many to diversify the popular concept of beauty I will absolutely NOT condone the body shaming of women who just happen to be thin.
I’m a skinny man and I have lost count how many times I have been told to “eat something”, and because today’s society only seems to judge women on their looks/weight I can only imagine it is far more intrusive and common for women to be told this and more.
Darkness and Light: During the shooting of my first book “Anonymous” it soon became apparent that the vast majority of the volunteers were white and very, very few were black or indeed any other ethnicity. I live in Louisiana where 60% of the population are white, 32% black and the remaining 8% are Hispanic etc. In Shreveport the non-white percentages are higher. These numbers were certainly not represented in my book.
Now there are many reasons why this could happen, including the fact that I happen to be a white, English, middle-aged man living in the deep south of the USA; but rather than try to explain it I simply decided to dedicate a future project to celebrating the beauty of these women.
I was born in London and went to school with children from many parts of the world, including China, India, Africa and the Caribbean. My concept of female beauty was educated at the same time which has often left me at odds with my peers who can only see beauty in lighter skin and European features.
Big Girls Don't Cry: As well as a lack of WOC in my Anonymous book I also noticed there were fewer curvier women than I had hoped for. My photography has ALWAYS been about women of every size and color, so alongside my WOC book I also intend to shoot a book of curvy nudes.