Nude, naked, it’s all relative when you’re unclothed in front of someone you’re not intimately connected with… and even then sometimes. Clothes shield our physical vulnerabilities from the world, in fact in many ways, they hide our deepest secrets from the world at-large. Ask yourself, what if my friends or family knew how big I was here, small I was there, and hairy (or not) I was elsewhere… for many, this can be either devastatingly crippling or empowering. This is not only why being caught naked is often the source of nightmares, but also why I find nude modeling so beautiful and powerful, not only because the nude figure can represent everything that is natural, beautiful and sexy about a person, but most importantly, because the person inspiring the nude has overcome-and owned-all of their physical insecurities in order to allow their nude form to be used as the product of artistic reproduction.
All of this is why I’m such a fan of The Embody Project. It’s creator, photographer Erica Mueller, has undertaken the project in order to empower the model to transform the vulnerability inspired by their nudity into power. Each photograph is accompanied by a 400-800 word essay written by the model about their experience, which not only adds a person’s nude body to the project, but also exposes their soul, their emotions, to complete the victory experience. Her project is truly the pinnacle of mastering the vulnerability associated with physical and emotional nakedness.
The Embody Project can be viewed here. From my perspective, the Embody Project models personify the epitome of owning that which makes you vulnerable and which inspires fear.