Book Review: #SENDNUDES
By Maura Monaghan
If you’ve been on the Internet (or Tinder) recently, chances are you’ve come across the meme-ified, oft-repeated phrase #SendNudes. Originally a late-night sexting request, the term has become a popular joke on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Reddit; the words have been drawn in snow on college campuses and spelled out with lo mien noodles on video to entertain the masses. But it’s artist Iman Whitfield who has managed to successfully subvert the trivial meaning of the phrase in the new photo book #SENDNUDES.
Passionate about capturing the feeling of intimacy on film, Whitfield partnered with Amsterdam-based MENDO publishing to curate a collection of nude images by contemporary photographers. The result, due out August 15th, is a stunning study of female sensuality with perspectives from around the world.
Many of these photographs skillfully acknowledge and play with lighting. The role of warm tones and accentuated light contributes to both an artistic exploration of the body, and a fearless confrontation with the taboo that has surrounded that body. The light on the women’s skin in the barelegged beach photo, and the tonal match of their glow with the color of the sand, maintains a powerful air of mystery supplemented by the fact that we cannot see their faces.
A blurb explaining each photographer’s influences and inspirations prefaces each series in the book, a feature that adds valuable insight to the experience of viewing these images. Turbo, Colombia-based photographer Melissa Cartagena describes her work as a tribute to “sensuality and sexuality, and to women as strong and unique beings,” while Honolulu’s Mason Rose believes in the “naturally beautiful energy” of the women he shoots.
All of these photographs are captivating, and they come from a wide geographic range. The amount of male photographers featured need not be a concern, because the number of female photographers included still legitimizes the notion that this book champions the woman’s perspective. Whitfield writes in her introduction that “every image shows a woman and her body with glory, and I think they can all safely say: YES, that’s me.”