Naked Before the Camera

naked_before_the_camera_metropolitan_museum_of_art_hermaphrodite
naked_before_the_camera_metropolitan_museum_of_art_hermaphrodite

Hermaphrodite, Nadar, 1860

"Tapping veins of mythology, carnal desire, hero worship, and aesthetic pleasure, depictions of the nude have...triggered impassioned discussions of sin and sexuality, cultural identity, and canons of beauty. Controversies are often aroused even more intensely when the artist's chosen medium is photography, with its accuracy and specificity—when a real person stood naked before the camera—rather than traditional media where more generalized and idealized forms prevail." Naked before the Camera, on view now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, surveys the history of this subject and examines some of the motivations and meanings that underlie its expression.