The most difficult part about dedicating yourself to the fine art nude is the constant reminder of all that has come before. Ever since Talbot and Daguerre unleashed their respective technologies onto the public in 1839 the nude and its close cousin the landscape have been plumbed and plowed to within an inch of their respective lives. Prior to 2000 anyone who wanted to express himself or herself through photography did so with a dedication not only artistically, but financially as well. Having a darkroom was an expensive proposition and only the supremely dedicated ventured out.
Today with wet darkrooms almost extinct and digital capture the coin of the realm millions of ham and eggers who would have normally expressed themselves by taking color vacation snaps are now by the virtue of the sophistication of digital point and shoot cameras and photo editing software being reincarnated as fine art photographers. This makes it increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff as the pipeline gets clogged with subservient imagery most of which cannot be consumed. This is a very real problem for the few who take it seriously.
Anyone who shoots film knows how precious every frame is especially if you shoot large format. The care and composition of one shot takes on an enormous magnitude and the Holy Grail for the large format photographer is a masterpiece with each exposure. On the other hand, digital removes the need for this modus by permitting the practitioner as many shots and technical safeguards as needed to achieve an adequate image. Fail that, and Photoshop becomes the last line of defense.
Many models have told me that digi-photogs will take 500-1000 shots in a 3-hour session! I’m sure some arresting shots can be culled from that much imagery, but where is the humanity? I’m not saying that every practitioner who shoots a digital nude is the reincarnation of Serge Jacques, but this technology has allowed the callow to enter a game they shouldn’t be in.