Naked selfies are commonplace in 2015, especially for Brooklyn-based artist Frances Waite, who’s recently made a public request for the images on her Instagram. After providing followers with her personal cellphone number, Waite’s inbox became flooded with photos of balls, boobs and belfies—perfect source material for creating a series of nudes to amend her artist’s block.
“Anonymous selfies are really special,” Waite explained to Dazed & Confused. “I guess it’s really the puzzle of the situation that makes it exciting for me–like how much evidence of this person’s character can I find in this photo on my phone? It’s hard and it’s really satisfying to make it happen. It puts this pressure on me to make this person really feel good about exposing themselves.”
Since kickstarting this project two months ago, Waite has added Tinder users to her pool of potential subjects, as well; what’s exciting about this exploration is the artist’s decision to take something socially considered everyday or at times taboo and redefine its normalcy into something deemed “valuable” or “artistic.” When skewed through Waite’s critical lens, these naked selfies become highbrow nudes.
“The English language, with its elaborate generosity, distinguishes between the naked and the nude,” writes British critic Kenneth Clark in The Naked and the Nude. “To be naked is to be deprived of our clothes […] the word ‘nude,’ on the other hand, carries, in educated usage, no uncomfortable overtone. The vague image it projects into the mind is not of a huddled and defenseless body, but of a balanced, prosperous, and confident body: the body reformed.”
(via Dazed & Confused)