THURSDAY MARCH 30, 2017
 
Blog SEX COLUMN
ANOTHER KIND OF NUDE
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Carrie Leigh is a photographer who a focuses on depicting women erotically, often in natural shadows and shades. Based on her experience as an erotic model, she decided to develop NUDE magazine, a quarterly publication of high quality that features photography, art and culture, presenting some of the greatest artists from around the world. The first issue was released in September 2007 and the magazine continues to grow, with individual issues often selling out.

Q: What do you think of your earlier modelling in Toronto and later with the likes of Playboy?
A:
I loved modelling in Toronto because I learned to explore movement, shadow and light, and it was basically the beginning of my artistic career.  With Playboy I was able to work with some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. I learned a lot from working with them at that time. In those days, Playboy created and published art.

More pictures from NUDE

Q: Have you been interested in how Playboy or other magazines presenting erotic photography have been developing, in terms of how you approached NUDE?
A:
In my opinion, in the early 1990s Hugh Hefner decided to turn away from high-end fine art and started to compete with Larry Flynt and Hustler. In retrospect, Hef would probably view this as a very bad decision, as his magazine eventually was diminished and had to compete with online porn. Do you know that Playboy doesn't even print the magazine any more? It is printed and distributed by American Media, the owners of The National Enquirer. Even though I don't talk with Hef, I still view this as a very sad situation.

Q: How did you go about developing the idea of a nude photography magazine?
A:
I created NUDE as a quality, fine-art publication. I chose to use gallery-quality paper and ink. NUDE is the only sheet-fed plate-printed quarterly in the world. Let's face it, the print magazine industry is struggling to compete with the Internet, and we aren't competing with the Internet because there is no way for pixels to duplicate gallery-quality art. Playboy's product quality is not what it used to be, and its online pay sites have not been successful in holding off the damage done to the magazine by online pornography. Playboy cannot position itself competitively in erotic imagery because it cannot distinguish itself from the pixels....

Q: The editor Dian Hanson, with her body-part series, has said that once the genitals were right out there, commercial industries turned away from more “artistic” approaches to the body. How do you feel about concepts of nudes, when there are increasingly more explicit body depictions?
A:
I don't like the explicit depiction of women's genitals. That would never be seen in NUDE. Collectors and galleries look to NUDE to see who is up and coming, what's new and what's happening. Every image in NUDE would be appropriate to show in the best art galleries and art museums of our time.  Actually, many are.  We have exhibited work from Lucien Clerque, Leonard Nimoy, Mel Ramos, Ralph Gibson, and Henry Ascenio, all of whom have had their work in the best galleries of the world without feeling it necessary to turn away from artistic expression.

As a photographer, it is much more difficult to be creative in depicting the human form, to show expression and movement and to capture the elusive beauty of a woman than it is to just shoot the genitalia. Personally, I believe gynecology should be left to the gynecologists. I do not take the road of cheap, easy shock value at the expense of a woman's dignity.

Q: I saw Brigitte Berman’s recent documentary about Hugh Hefner, mostly focusing on his activist, rebel sides. It’s curious with magazines like Playboy, with its long history of Playmates, how many of them are either unrecognized or assumed to have commonalities of surfaces over time. Thoughts?
A:
First of all, I was never a Playmate. From day one I thought the word "Playmate" was degrading to women. When I lived at the Playboy Mansion, there were those who accepted the label and those who didn't.  Those who didn't moved on to have their own lives and careers. Those who accepted the label still go unrecognized and share surface commonalities.

I think there's a public misconception here. Hugh Hefner followed the times, and Playboy reported on the times. Quite honestly, I never witnessed his ties to activism and rebellion. I never met any activists while living at the Playboy Mansion, and certainly never Gloria Steinem.

Q: How do you choose your cover models? What figure you’d aspire most to put on there?
A:
I look for fresh, natural women who want to collaborate with me to create great art. It's about the chemistry between us and a real sense of friendship. I look at them as artistic partners.

Q: It seems you’ve spoken to Isobella Jade with her narrative Almost 5’4” and the tensions of marketability of petite female bodies. Are you interested in the appearance of different bodily forms in your magazine?
A:
When Leonard Nimoy published his art book The Full Body Project, I interviewed him and exhibited his work with plus-size women. He photographed them in an extremely artistic style. For me and NUDE, it comes down to whether the image is artistic and beautiful. Each issue of NUDE is 96 pages of high-end fine art, with absolutely no advertising. It is a continuous art exhibit. In this exhibit, you will find various sizes and shapes of women. As I put the quarterly together, it always comes down to the flow of the art, not the size or shape of a body.

Q: Are you interested in how NUDE magazine has surrounding social realities? Like you’ve featured Kim Weston’s work, who is open about his past and present photographic families.
A:
In the winter 2010 issue, I said this in introducing my new managing editor, Dr. Carla Johnson: "As the world is at a turning point, so is NUDE, and to ignore our environment would be an injustice." NUDE must address social realities. And in the winter issue, our "Power Bloggers" story not only addresses the way the online mega sites are changing our world, but also legislation in the United States that threatens those who photograph nudes [and] also the work of fashion and other photographers as well.

We chose to cover these issues that the mainstream media chooses to ignore. So, yes, we are not only interested in our surrounding social realities, we are investigating them in the style of the old Washington Post.

Q: How do you think working with this magazine has altered your senses of contemporary nudes, in relation to the pornographic drive of imagery in print?
A:
In a way, we created NUDE in the opposite direction of everything else being published around us. I wanted to create something beautiful in a world where pornography had become an obsession. I believed there were people out there who felt the same way I did, who still wanted to put fine art on their coffee table. Over the last few years, this has proven to be true. As it turns out, NUDE came out as an art quarterly just when those publishing print pornography were losing sales. Pornography has come to thrive online, but art can thrive in print.

Q: What changes would you like to bring to NUDE magazine as it grows?
A:
NUDE is changing right now. With the winter issue, we have Dr. Carla Johnson as our managing editor. She brings a vast wealth of experience as a noted author, educator and prominent member of the high-end academic community. Dr. Johnson will go down an avenue of investigative reporting where no one else will go.

We are going to enhance our tradition of exploring our ever-changing world through both art and words. Art is not stagnant, nor is NUDE. Therefore, there is continual growth. Each issue moves to its own beat, basically. It is 96 pages of fine art. The challenge for me is to present the art and the written word in harmony. In the realm of art, you have one.

More info: NUDE magazine website

Related links:

Interview with editor Dian Hanson
Nude art by painter Mel Ramos

3 Comments | Add a Comment
Thankyou so much, your material is very good and the part about Jimi Hendrix was verysurprising/ I didn,t kow that these types of tapes existed for him. It has been very well hidden over all these years. Tks Again....Dan
and I should add, brilliant fine art photography.
These are stunning!
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