There's more than a few genres of photography that feature naked people: Glamour, art nude, erotic, fetish, and porn are, probably, the most prominent. Even fashion sometimes includes nudity, albeit nudity in fashion is more common in Europe and elsewhere than here, in the U.S. For the purpose of today's jabber, I'm going to stick with glamour and art nude. (You already knew that cuz you read the title, right?)
I've seen a lot of definitions for glamour. Usually, these definitions contain similar elements in describing the genre-- capturing the beauty, allure, charm, and sex appeal of the model are the most often-seen descriptors. The gamut of glamour photography includes nudity, semi-nudity, inferred nudity, and no nudity.
Art Nudes always contains some degree of nudity. That's why it's called Art NUDE. The line that separates art nudes from other types of images of naked people is that art nudes do not intend to degrade, demean, or trivialize the naked body-- and, no, I'm not saying glamour degrades, demeans, or trivializes. Also, art nudes do not usually intend to sexually arouse the viewer. Instead, art nudes idealize--some might say worship--the naked human form. Unlike glamour, art nudes do not, as a rule, attempt to capture the model's personal and individual allure, charm, and sex appeal. Rather, art nudes seek to capture the naked human form in, well, in artistic ways with an eye towards capturing aethestic values.
In a nutshell, glamour sells the model, art nudes sell the artist and his or her vision.
Some say that art nude photographers are artists whereas glamour photographers are craftsmen. I kind of agree with this view. That's not to say there isn't art in glamour or craft in art nudes. Both genres certainly contain elements of art and craft. Even the definitions for "art" and "craft" each contain the words "art" and "craft" in their respective definitions. But if I'm going to differentiate between these two types of photography, and it might be a fairly subtle difference, that's where I draw the line between the two, leastwise from the perspective of the shooter.
I regularly go to art nude sites. I love, admire, and often envy the work these artists produce. As a rule, I don't shoot art nudes myself, but that's mostly because I can't figure out how to make a living off of doing so and I need money more than prestige. (Assuming I even have the artistic skills and sensibilities to shoot prestigious art nudes.) Since there seems to be a way bigger commercial market for glamour than for art nudes, at least from where I'm sitting, it makes more sense for me to focus on glamour rather than art nudes. BTW, if you want to search out the work of notable art nude photographers, surf over to the Art Nudes blog. There, you'll find many, many links to the work of some really terrific art nude photographers from all over the world.
The images posted, which have little to do with today's post, are of my good pal, Ms. Korie Rae. The images were captured with her atop my good friend Rick's two-wheeled rice burner. The third shot is a casual, essentially behind-the-scenes, snap of Kori while she was sitting on the set, kind of bored and taking a break, waiting for me to quit dicking around with the lights. She has that, "Are you done screwing around with your lights yet?" look on her face. I've shot Kori quite a few times and I never fail to annoy her. Oh well. Here's another candid (below), this time of Rick and Kori on the bike.