Publikation Digital Photographer

Publikation | Digital Photographer (England) Ausgabe 180

Publikation in der „Digital Photographer“ zum Thema „Nude“
Anbei das ganze Interview:

 

Can you explain the lighting set-up that you used for your images? Do you use lighting modifiers?

Bruno Birkhofer

When I am in a natural surrounding, I almost always use only the available light without any modifier. I want my images to be as natural as possible. This means that I always try to work with the light nature has to offer. Normally my shootings take place around sunrise or around sunset. During daytime, I almost always search for the shadow in forests or canyons. In canyons or riverbeds light always comes directly from above. This means that I often have to advise the model to change to a pose where she can look up into the sky in order to lighten up her face and turn her body towards me for a perfect angle. I try to connect all curves of the human body with the shapes of nature. If I find good matching lines, I close my aperture to bring out the lines of the background, if not I open it so I can reduce the disturbing elements.

When I have full control of the light in the studio, my aim is perfection and my goal is to place the shadows exactly where I want them to be. Photography of a naked human body is all about shadows on the right place. In my opinion the difference between a cheap flat image and a nude art image is to place the light and the shadows at the right spots.

And for nude art images I need a lot of shadows. That is why my light almost always comes from the side (from a 90 degrees angle from the camera).

 

 

How important are the shapes that the model creates and which poses work best? Why?

Bruno Birkhofer

Nude photography is all about the light, the poses and the feelings. I like to see curves and I like to see the shapes of a human body in harmony. I have my favourite poses but it is much more important to me that the model feels good with the poses and that they are natural for her. I strongly believe that being a photographer is not about telling a model exactly which pose she has to take up or to work on details until everyone is tired and there is too much concentration on the details. Being a photographer means to me to build up a trusting relationship/friendship with a model within a short time frame, so she is ready to show me her movements without any hesitation. This is also the reason why I cooperate with the same models again and again for many years. I want her to trust me and to feel comfortable. As a photographer I am here to catch her personal and unique movements in the right time. I am here to put her in a kind of rhythm and to support her in what she does. It is my job to make her feel comfortable so she can let herself go without thinking too much. I love sensuality, I love feelings and I want to see the model’s soul in my pictures. For me this is the way how I try to achieve this. When I am correcting and guiding too much, I often start to feel as if I take pictures of a robot and not a human being. So I tell her what I want and then let her go and if there are poses I don’t like, I won’t say anything and let her go on, because there will always be a pose or a movement which is unique and great.

 

What poses work best for women? And what works best for men?

Bruno Birkhofer

For me there are not a lot of differences between photographing a woman and a man. In the woman I normally want to see her sensuality and in a man I want to see his strength. So my communication with a female is normally very soft and caring and with a male model the communication is a bit stricter to achieve an expression and a pose that I want to see from him. From a man I like to see strong and fearless poses and from a woman I like to see sensuality and feelings. I try to correct the exact positions of legs and arms and head as little as possible, because any corrections during the shooting sequence would kill the model’s natural and unique movements. After a sequence of ten minutes shooting, we go through the pictures and discuss the corrections. After this we re-do the sequence.

 

In your opinion, what makes a good nude image?

Bruno Birkhofer

Technically a good nude image is light and shadows wrapped around the human body in perfect harmony. Then the human body has to be shown with respect and sensitivity. I also want to see soul, feelings and sensuality. All these points combined in one image are a good nude image for me.

 

A lot of your images are in black and white. Why?

Bruno Birkhofer

In order to show a human body, I don’t need colour. And if there is something, I don’t need, I can reduce it so that the more important things get more attention. And much more important than colour is the game of light and shadows in perfect contrast. For me this often works much better with a black and white image

 

Are your lighting setups for men and women different?

Bruno Birkhofer

The lighting setups for men and women are rather similar. I often use smaller light modifiers for men to get even stronger shadows. This supports the strength of the body and model, which I normally aim for in men nudes.

 

And one last personal statement:

I will never understand why so many people see a naked body as offensive!

We all are born in a naked body. A naked body is something natural we should respect and honour. Maybe we should start to love and respect our own bodies more, no matter how they are shaped and no matter how many wrinkles and pimples are on them. We are all unique and we have our body to move, to work, to express ourselves, to hold someone, to love someone and to give new live … So is there anything less natural in the world? And please realise that a human body has only been a sex object since the day people started to cover it in clothes …

 

Bruno Birkhofer

 

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