Humanity evolved to find beauty in the human form. Its shapes, textures, and lines resonate deep in our brains. Although human beings come in a variety of body shapes and sizes, we’re exposed on a daily basis to media that holds up a single specific body type as the only one worth appreciating. This “model body” is not only uncommon, it is often the product of unrealistic (if not unhealthy) habits and diet choices. Worse, these atypical bodies are often digitally distorted, such that they no longer even resemble what the human body should, or can, look like. The region between the naval and pelvis is, for instance, so consistently Photoshopped into a flat plane that many people no longer recognize a protruding stomach as “normal.” After years of viewing and absorbing artificial, “belly” free images, we now see this type of stomach as a defect rather than a natural part of the human body. These relentless visual lies seep into our subconscious, creating a filter on our perception of our own body and the bodies around us. That filter affects what we see, whether we want it to or not.
Terra Nudum, latin for “bare earth,” shows the body without that filter. The bodies appear outside their normal context, either arranged into geometric shapes or composed to resemble or evoke a landscape. Their shapes, contours, and textures are accentuated by surreal backlighting. Sufficiently abstracted, our Pavlovian body-shaming filter doesn’t kick in and, free of the societally-trained tendency to measure against an arbitrary and unrealistic standard, the body is seen for what it is: beautiful.
In a very true sense, this may be the first time you’ve really seen the human body. Many of our models respond to first seeing Terra Nudum images they’ve posed for by saying things like, “I didn’t know my body looked like that.” That encapsulates our mission: to help and encourage people to see that their body, and every body, is beautiful.
Support Doug and Brittany’s work by volunteering to model (adults of all gender-identities and body types welcome).