Male Photographer Reenacts Famous Female Nude Portraits

Montréal-based photographer Chuck Samuels channels the objectification of the female body for Before the Camera.

In this photography series that began in 1990, Samuels reenacts famous nude portraits, by giving the camera to friends -most of whom were women, taking off his clothes and becoming the model of history’s most recognizable scenes. The artist was inspired in the 80s, while doing his MFA. At that time, he had the time to study several seminal feminist texts on the male gaze, and years later he chose the material that was going to become part of his work, based on what stayed with him more intensely.

Being images that have formed the way the female body has been objectified and consumed, the original works inspired Samuels to recreate them, by depicting even the smallest detail. Surprisingly, the presence of Samuels creates notions of unfamiliarity and oddity, as his body looks out-of-place inside the ethereal, romantic or edgy sets. According to the artist, one of the most memorable feelings he got during this experience, was how uncomfortable he was, trying to hold some of these poses.

This set of images plays with humor and edginess, but overall give the viewer the chance to think about the way women have been used in art and photography.