Sanders McNew explores the tension between the concepts of "portraits" and "nudes" in flattering but unretouched photographs of real women.
Mostly nude portraits (not workplace/school friendly)
A very short article about the work
Featured Comment by The Accountant from Kansas: "Millions of people every day alter their body in some way: plastic surgery, shaving their beard (or legs, and so on), cutting/coloring their hair, doing their nails, getting tattoos/piercings, putting in their color contact lenses, going on a diet, covering themselves in makeup, building muscle, and so on. There is no 'real-ness' about a person except for how they exist at any given second in time. That's what Sanders captures. These people are 'real' because there didn't exist any preconceived notion of how they should look: someone else's 'real'...before I modeled for Sanders I asked him 'how should I show up? Should I have my hair and makeup done?' and his response was 'This is a portrait. Come how you want to.' He was capturing my real, not his real, or anyone else's real. No art director's real, no makeup artist's real, no photographer's real. My real. The fact that the images are not retouched? I think that ties in to being 'my real.' By retouching an image, the photographer is inflicting their own sense of real on 'my real.' They thought the light should have hit me differently, they though that freckle shouldn't have been there, they thought that scar was distracting. By leaving the image unretouched, Sanders is in fact showing 'my real' and not 'his real.' It's a portrait, it's about the subject.
"A few of the comments mentioned the presentation of Sanders' images. One even mentioned 'a box of images' with no rhyme or reason. In my opinion, if Sanders ordered these into galleries or made them anything but a 'box of images,' it would be inflicting his own sense of 'real' onto them. By categorizing the images into groups, this tends to say that somehow these images are related by something. By not categorizing the images, this shows us how individual each shoot is. Nothing ties them together other than what they all contain (naked, portrait, B&W). Each shoot is unrelated to the next because each person contains a different 'real' at any given time than the next person. A box of images is exactly what these portraits are.
"Why naked? Well I'm sure Sanders has his reasons, but for me I see it as a way to get something honest out of your subject. I know that if I were wearing clothes I would find something to distract myself. To 'do something' in the image. By being naked, there are no pockets for me to put my hands in, no collar of my shirt to fiddle with, there is nowhere for me to look other than the camera. I am forced to show the camera a real emotion. When you're naked, what else do you have to do other than talk to the photographer about world politics or how funny last nights episode of 'Scrubs' was? By eliminating the clothing it forces the subject to use what they have left: their facial expression, which I feel is the most important part of a portrait.
"As for some of these girls being 'professional models,' I don't feel that this really makes any difference. They are all 'real' people being captured in a moment of time. Their high level of comfort in front of a camera is their 'own real' just like a non-model's level of comfort in front of a camera is their 'own real.' Most of these girls are not people you would see on the street and think 'Wow, she must be a model." Even if some of these girls model for a living, they are still daughters, sisters, mothers, neighbors, addicts, religious, fearful, loved, travelers, students, artists, excited, nervous, or any other noun or adjective that I can use to describe a person with eyes that have seen the world and have a story to tell.
"Obviously I have some bias about Sanders work since I have shot with him but I wouldn't have posed in front of his camera if I didn't feel that his work is brilliant."