The Importance of Photo Sets
Photo sets are the heart and soul of Nude Art, because they are the unique and exclusive invention of pure solo Nude Art! Movies are used everywhere (Hollywood etc.). Single photos the same (Newspapers). Smaller groups of photos you can find in the Art Nude category, but photo sets with 100 or more photos, which tell us a storyline... that's Nude Art! And fans and creatives as well should appreciate them, venerate them as the essential medium which defines the unique value of this special category of Erotic Art! Without photo sets Nude Art would be just a secondary sideline of the vast world of Erotic Art.
What exactly is a photo set? A photo set is a larger group of photos where the single photos are not independent from each other! They are connected by a storyline! The most simple example is the striptease set! Model is dressed at the beginning, strips off and is naked at the end. When a model strips off her T-Shirt in picture 10, wears it again in pics 30 to 40, everybody will know immediately that someone messed around with the continuity. The set is not intact anymore! The art is destroyed, the comfort of watching the set is affected!
What makes a photo set different from movies? Photo sets inspire the watchers' fantasy much more than a movie! Photo sets have blind spots! These blind spots are between two photos! A movie shows every second of a performance! But what happened between two photos will be freely imagined by the watcher's imagination! It's an almost subconscious process, but it makes the experience of watching a photo set individual! Also the speed of watching the photos can be chosen individually! The things imagined by watching one photo or by waiting for the next can be different! A good photo set might inspire different associations every time you watch it! It's very familiar to comic books and I recommend to read the book "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud! He wrote a full chapter about what happens in our minds between two pictures!
For more than 20 years Nude Art has improved the diversity of photo sets! The mentioned striptease scenery and also the masturbation theme were only the beginning! When you read my earlier texts here at the site about two sets Robert Graham shot with Leona Mia and Anna Melody, you will find two perfect examples about the mastery in photo sets! Photo sets give us small narratives, models perform moods and messages, hidden, included or implied in the photos! Photo sets can have a poetic structure. It's so amazing how differently a photo set can go into conversation with the watchers! Photo sets can have real happy ends (I don't mean any orgasmic endings!), or they can have a melancholic ending or even a sad one. They can emanate happiness and send it as feelings into watchers' minds. Once again: photo sets are a unique invention of pure solo Nude Art! Porn and other categories of Erotic Art use screenshots from movies or accompanying photo sets following a narrative which actually belongs to a movie! But photo sets as stand alone pieces of art, which transport events, feelings, life style and development, yes even messages... this ONLY and exclusively exists in pure Nude Art!
The value of Nude Art as an art form, the acceptance of it as art, will always depend on how the creatives treat their own creation! I've seen lots of brilliant sets, which were in it's radiance completely destroyed by wrong continuity, randomly splitting of sets and other misbehavior. But I also saw sets which increased the possibilities of what can be done, shown and told in photo sets. (Again: read my 2 texts about the sets of Robert Graham!) Some creatives prepare their sets, make designs, conceptionalize the shootings in the weeks before, create accessory and outfits themselves and this often results in masterpieces of Erotic Art which give me goosebumps. These are exceptions, though. But even when a photographer shoots 10 sets with a model over the weekend, EVERY set has a beginning and an end! The model performs! There is a storyline! A continuity. A topic. And a tension! Photo sets have the character of what I call (and Scott McCloud, too) a sequential narrative! A poetic structure! It's the nature of a set to have that continuity! The poetic structure will be defined and refined after the shoot, when the photographer (in rare cases together with the model) chooses the pictures which come into the final version of a set. Frame plots at beginning and end (often told with single photos!) can increase the value and impact of a set!
The artful process after the shoot consists of choosing THE photos, which represent the mood, the message and the storyline in the best way. Maybe 200-500 pics were shot, but after the shoot the creatives choose the 100, 150 or whichever number of photos which represent the best version of the shooting process! When this selection is over, the result IS the art, representing the artful intention of model and photographer! And whatever happens afterwards with the result, is very likely a destructive process (randomly splitting the set in 2, 3 or even 4 fragments or random groups of photos, publication in wrong continuity etc.).
During the last 10 years it seemed to me, that Nude Art as an adult art form was only a small step away from its acceptance as 10th artform even outside of Nude Art World! That step wasn't done yet, but one thing is certain: for reaching that goal (which would increase the monetary reward for the creatives, too, next to attracting another, more intellectual group of customers who have more insight in and understanding of art and the necessity of paying for it!) it needs 2 things: creatives have to keep up to be inventive, innovative and demanding in themselves as artists! And users, watchers, fans, however we call ourselves, have to understand the importance of paying for their Nude Art! Nude Art made big steps during the last 10 years! NOW is not the right time to move backwards!