Fashion photographers have always flirted with nudity, partly for its uplifting echo of the classic ideal, partly for its transgressive kick in the midst of a magazine’s usual expanse of overdressed flesh. But, at a moment when fashion photos seem to be less and less about clothes, an utterly naked model is merely taking things to their logical extreme.
Bruce Weber, who often teases us with flashes of nudity, goes all the way with Kate Moss in the second issue of Joe’s, star stylist Joe McKenna’s fat, glossy ultramagazine (priced for fashion junkies at $80). In one of his more Edenic spreads, Weber opens the issue with Moss in the rosy buff, rolling on the grass and blowing bubbles with two naked, delighted children, an Eve for the new millennium.
Mario Sorrenti closes Joe’s with more full-frontal nudes—young, redheaded models whose coloring falls somewhere between Rubens and death. But this is nothing next to the new “Modern” issue of Dutch ($19.95), which devotes 82 pages to Mikael Jansson’s photos of naked models (see below). Shot outdoors in a style that suggests vintage nudist magazines but references Weber, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Leni Riefenstahl, the images all include tiny fashion credits: Gucci, Helmut Lang, Missoni. Editor Matthias Vriens writes that readers will have to imagine the clothes, but that the “ultimate message” is “freedom from censure, from fashion and from fear.” Real freedom would also strip the photos of their fantasy credits, but we’re willing to take this one smart, witty step at a time.