Imagine going to a place where wearing clothing is
not required. A place where families can come
together and enjoy a day unlike any other. Indoor or
out, summer or snow, friends shed it all for a different
kind of living. A life free of crippling social
inhibitions with no need for repressive clothing.
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If you are a photographer, your family pictures may be rather different to most.
My wife always says I don't photograph the kind of things normal people do. I
just offer to lend her a camera, though she has yet to take me up on it. My
approach has always been simple - I photograph things that interest me. If I'm
interested enough and do a good job, then they are likely to interest others
Situation & Family
Most family pictures are of people posing to have their picture taken, smiling
or acting up for the camera, sometimes taking it more seriously. Occasionally it
is convenient or necessary to pose people, but generally I've preferred to
capture more spontaneous moments.
A posed image, but one in where the subject's attention has wandered. (� Peter
You can get more interesting pictures by photographing people doing things -
talking to each other, working or playing games. If you are working for
publication, then you will want to be suggesting various activities, getting
people to dress up and to play roles for you.
It may be possible to photography people you know while at work, but make sure
if you do that you get permission from their employers to do so. A picture of
your Uncle Alfred might not be of great interest or likely to sell, but there
are far more possibilities if you can photograph him at work. Especially if,
like my Uncle Alf, he has an interesting or unusual job; he was a commercial
beekeeper, but unfortunately died before I learnt to use a camera.
Although I didn't photograph him, I was able to take pictures some years later
of his widow - my aunt, also now long dead. These are pictures that have a great
deal of interest for my family, but also I think touch on wider issues that make
them of interest to others. As well as photographing her, I also took pictures
that showed the house she had lived her married life in, full of the photographs
and other memories. Like her, the house was a survivor from another age, still
furnished in the same style as when they had moved in almost fifty years
earlier. I've used a couple of these pictures as illustrations to this feature.
Another problem with
family pictures can be nudity. As parents we
get used to seeing our young children without clothes. Few of us see any real
problem with photographing our own children at bath time or sprawling naked on a
rug, but the authorities may. There have been a number of cases where processing
lab staff have contacted police over images they have found. In the UK one
television personality found herself being charged by the police and her name
splashed over the papers, although the case was eventually dropped.
Most photographers at least will be familiar with the fine work of Sally Mann,
large-format photography made in collaboration with her young and often naked
children. Again her work has raised criticism from many who have regarded it as
exploitation of her children, although I find this difficult to take seriously.
Certainly people who are acting improperly towards their offspring are unlikely
to publish photographic evidence.
Mann's work is beautiful, and shows a great deal about the feelings and love in
her family, both between her and her children and also in the relationships
between them. It is hard to understand how anyone can find this offensive. It is
powerful and moving work that gives a positive and enriching view of life.
However we do need to be aware that there are people around who take a more
negative view, and also laws that we need to take notice of. There are also sick
people who may view pictures of child nudity in different ways to us. It is an
area where some caution is required as to what is shown and where.
Many other photographers have also worked with their own families. Among those
whose work seems to me to be strongest are Emmett Gowin and Nick Waplington (see
box, top right.)
Don't miss out
However I would feel I had missed an opportunity if I had not photographed the
events in my life when my children were young - and a part of this are all the
activities of parenthood, bathing, feeding, changing and so on. These are a part
of my photographic archive, although there are probably some that I would want
to keep private among friends and family for various reasons. Others I'm happy
to show in public.
Nudity as shown in pictures such as this is seldom unacceptable, as neither the
faces nor any genital areas of the subjects are shown. (� Peter Marshall, 1980)
Holiday times give us more time with friends and families, and the approach of a
new year is traditionally a time for reflection and the making of resolutions.
People are more important than anything else in all our lives, and our families
and friends surely the most important. It seems natural that they should have an
important part in the work of any photographer. For me they have been the
starting point for an exploration of photography that has led me out in many and
The naturist photo and video documentaries that we offer are legal in every city, every state and every county inside the United States. They are protected by the First Amendment and are not subject to local obscenity laws or ordinances. The depiction of adults and children nude in the visual media has enjoyed constitutional protection in the United States since 1958, when the Supreme Court vacated a Court of Appeals finding that Sunshine& Health magazine could be obscene (Sunshine Book Co. v. Summerfield, Postmaster General, 355 U.S. 372). The right to depict adults and children in innocent nude poses has been upheld without a pause for 41 years. In case after case, the Supreme Court and lower courts have always upheld the constitutionality of "nudity without more," specifically referring to the nudist depiction as a fully constitutional form of expression. Our website is widely visited in all of Asia, Europe, South America, Canada, Australia and Africa. The only exception may be countries where nudity of any kind is banned. Related Naturist Tags: Nudist Page Tags: Group, Waving, Pool, Summer, Outdoors, Family, Happy, Culture, Russian, Ukrainian, Outdoor, Family, Sunny, Day, Family, Pictures, Outdoors, Nudist, Day, Lines-Up, Sunny, On, Family