Looking through my body of photography, my photo work often feels overwhelmingly unbalanced. I don't typically shoot male nudes (for reasons that will be discussed in another blog post), but I think I need to capture more men with a similar vulnerable, appreciative, and non-judgmental approach that I aim to photograph women.
I have a private Instagram page @UnashamedGrownWomanShit, where I post some of the uncensored nude images I've captured over the years. I've recently wondered what place male nudity has in Unashamed Grown Woman Shit. Can it be used to create positive dialogue in a space that generally I've curated to celebrate women? While I shoot what I want, I try to honor how people connect to what I do.
So I asked a question... "Should @UnashamedGrownWomanShit include male nudity?" I got a ton feedback! I found it interesting, because 76% of you that replied to the survey (mostly women), wanted me to share male nudity on the page. However, 50% of the comments said "No".
I loved the thoughtful feedback, and I'll share a few responses that resonated with me.
"As a woman I don’t want to be ashamed of the pleasure I experience from observing bodies, female or male (or other forms that don’t fit so snugly into the binary for that matter.)"
" I feel like the page has made it a positive space for women to appreciate women who have bodies as their own that they may not have otherwise felt comfortable in. It's so body positive and for women society is still not as progressive as it should be when it comes to women's bodies and celebrating them and not just seeing them as means of sexual gratification because that is not our purpose on earth. I just feel like having men on the page would distract from that. "
"I’m here for [CHD:WCK!'s] view. The fact that what he creates makes us feel positive about ourselves is a bonus. If he chooses to include men in his art here, and it provides the same honesty and positive thoughts in men then it’s not an infringement but an expansion that is needed more than ever."
"I think it’s important to have this space for women to be expressive and free without infringing on that. Sure, the male form is beautiful but in a space that was originally intended to depict women it can seem a bit intrusive."
"Art how you wanna art man. If it feels like your headed in the right direction... Go there. If you aren't sure take your time.... (but I do think you received some great feedback concerning impact of your art which is definitely worth taking into consideration)"
At the end of the day, I create in order to bridge gaps... to share things I think are beautiful and not celebrated enough. I create so I can see things that I don't get to see enough. But when I share the work, i share it for you!
Overall, my decision is to keep @UnashamedGrownWomanShit focused on the female form. I will look to curate my work in a way that shares even more things and body types that I believe are not celebrated enough. However, the work posted here will only be a portion of what I capture and create. Occasionally, male nudity will creep into the page. But the comments I received made me realize that on the rare occasions when this happens, I want to try to share the male form in a way that still promotes the feminine viewpoint - PERHAPS even requesting submissions of nude men taken by women in this audience.
As I expand my creativity, I will definitely be sharing more nude work celebrating male, women, and non-binary experiences. If interested, you will be finding more of these types of work at http://chdwck.com/ and https://www.patreon.com/chdwckart, and if you see fit to support my efforts to maintain safe spaces to share my work in an uninhibited way, I greatly appreciate it!