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Empowering, Stylized Photos of 100 Naked Women (NSFW)

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For 100 Naked Women, London-based photographer Nadia Lee Cohen takes a bold approach to body positivity, shooting nude portraits of dozens of women of varied shapes and sizes bearing it all for her camera.

Inspired in part by campaigns like Free the Nipple, a movement seeking to end discriminatory censorship of the female body, as well as recent Instagram activists who have used the platform to protest bans on parts of the female anatomy, Cohen approached friends who she felt radiated self-assurance and individuality. Other women who participated in the project responded to casting calls sent out by the artist over social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The overwhelming number of women who wanted to experience the process of being shot nude was humbling and empowering, explains Cohen, noting that many of her subjects had never modeled before.

In shooting non-models in a stylized fashion setting, Cohen hopes to confront the fashion industry’s unrealistic portrayal of the female form. Her aesthetic, she says, is deeply influenced by cinema, and in the vein of Cindy Sherman, her images emerge like single instants from a larger filmic narrative. Her models, ultimately, are playing characters, and element of role-play, she mentions, often allows them to open up in ways they otherwise may not have.

A comfortable setting is a key element to the photographer, who works with an all-woman team and encourages her subjects only to reveal as much as they feel secure exposing. Of course, the project also motivates the women to step out of their comfort zones, but Cohen explains that the experience “enabled them to exclaim ‘fuck it I only live once,’ strip off [their clothing], and pose for the camera.”

Unlike traditional nudes, female bodies often veiled with a sense of softness and romance, Cohen’s naked women are bold, colorful, and in-your-face. Their nudity, suggests Cohen, becomes something that they use to confront the sexism that still pervades so many facets of our society. Cohen continues to photograph women, traveling frequently from London to Los Angeles in search of sitters. When completed, the project will be published as a book by Sturm & Drang.

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All images © Nadia Lee Cohen

  • Neato!

    Step 1. Be attractive.

  • gvanderleun

    About as empowering as a hearing aid battery.

  • Not Brummie

    ridiculous

  • shahnyboy

    “In shooting non-models in a stylized fashion setting, Cohen hopes to confront the fashion industry’s unrealistic portrayal of the female form.”

    By shooting models who fit that very mold?
    GTFO with this empowering cowcrap when the photos do none of it.

  • Patrick McPheron

    Cool images but maybe a bit overblown artist statement/press release. Just let the work speak for itself.

  • Sarah WithAn H

    Yeah, I do some modeling, and I’m a very out of the box thinker, but I fail to see how these are empowering. There’s nothing wrong with them, of course. I just hate when people slap overblown descriptions on their work just to try to appear dynamic and innovative. It’s just more click bait. I clicked, but found myself unimpressed. They’re nice photos, but stop pretending to be changing the world.

  • FreeThoughtGuy

    it may be empowering in the sense that they are overcoming their shame and putting themselves out their for the world to see knowing they will be judged harshly by society. But they have built up enough confidence not to care. Since women are usually put under the microscope with everything they do and wear to go against society’s high expectations can be quite empowering for some.

  • AntiPoliticallyCorrect

    the quality of work here has been pretty horrendous for a few months. stop showing work by people who have no clue what they are doing. when will these no talents realize that art is more than coming up with a post rationalization load of crap? just because they say something about their art doesn’t make it so. these aren’t empowering at all in any way. I didn’t think it was possible to fail at art…….

  • Lucy

    You’re all idiots. These photos show that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. How is that not empowering?

  • Tetsuo Shima

    I don’t see how this is any more empowering than Page 3 of the Sun. Yet people want that scrapped. Make up your minds!

  • harrykarry

    Isn’t it up for the models to decide whether or not they’ve felt empowered by the process and and by their representation? I’m guessing that having seen their pictures and expressed a willingness to consent to their publication they’re very content with the whole thing. I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that photographic representation of any kind is going to somehow overthrow the worst excesses of patriarchy. I just feel thankful to have seen such wonderfully crafted odes to storytelling that mark a pleasant change from the ridiculousness of fashion bullshit on the one hand, and the earnest ‘objectivity’ of documentary pieces on women’s bodies that are so ubiquitous yet have so little to say.

  • onenil

    Beautiful? That would be entirely your opinion.

  • jose

    Angela Merkel is empowered.

    That’s what power is.

    These women just pose naked. They gain no power whatsoever, just a few dollars if anything.

  • torr10

    And if those same photos were in a Playboy they would be demeaning and exploitive…

  • GlobalObserver

    As hinted at below, if these were shot by a man, an all male crew, they would be seen as demeaning and exploitive. And to be ’empowering’ there is a presumption of pre-existing shame. More than anything, it is the prevalence of fast food and cigarettes in these images that is truly disturbing. Nadia needs to rethink this project!

  • Wayne Quilliam

    The ‘Lowanna’ series which means beautiful women in ‘Aboriginal’ language explores the connection between women and mother earth. Artwork by Wayne Quilliam

  • jose

    What power have those women gained? Are ugly women powerless then? Use your head.

  • Richard Butler

    geez…somehow if a woman objectifies and stereotypes women its lauded as innovative, insightful and creative. this work is so fraudulent, and is indicative of much post modern photography and is ‘up there’ with the female orgasm photographs you dudes published a few clicks ago. somehow i dont think your promise delivers… and im concerned about this masquerade. its not that there is something vapid its that you keep publishing treacle dressed as consequence

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