Lee Nutter is a England-born, Cambodia-based photographer working masterfully within the art of nude photography. Recognizable by his sultry and vulnerable black and white photos of the female form, he artfully toys with the concept of censorship within his latest series, "Facebook Friendly."
The series started as a way for Lee to vent his frustrations regarding Facebook's censorship restrictions–which would find the artist's uncensored photos gravely against the site's strict, nipple-fearing policy. With this in mind, Lee explored a method of photo manipulation that is simple, yet so genius for his specific needs: he tore and burned the images apart.
Konbini spoke with Lee regarding his thought process when deciding upon this medium:
"At first, I was just looking for a beautiful way to censor the images. People used emoji or black lines, or just cloned out nipples and other apparently offensive parts of the anatomy. I wanted to make something beautiful."
So he began taking his film prints and manually tearing over areas that would solicit unwanted attention from Facebook policy enforcers. With each tear, a new and curious image is created adding to the photographer's growing repertoire of conceptualized nude work.
Lee began shooting photography when he received a camera from his parents for his 18th birthday. "An early digital camera with only one megapixel," he explains. He took his first photographs of a nude woman soon after receiving the camera.
"The first nude photos of a woman I shot were of the one who is now my wife. She was and is beautiful and trusting and open minded, and I was and am explorative and experimental."
Following the storybook opportunity to capture the naked physique of the woman who would eventually become his wife, Lee photographed a close friend before jumping into the realm of shooting unfamiliar models. "For me, it was a beautiful thing for a near stranger to trust me like that."
As a seasoned photographer who has now worked with an abundance beautiful strangers, Lee is vocally aware of what matters most in obtaining a poignant photo within his style:
"Connection. It’s the only thing that matters. You can get a good photo of someone you don’t love, but it’s never going to be great."
I’m a romantic and have stubborn ideals. Within everyone’s comfort zone and always within their boundaries I work towards these ideals with every shoot.
I wear my heart on my sleeve and fall in love easily so it usually isn’t hard, and I never work with someone who doesn’t want to work with me, so I guess there’s a preselection process going on that helps facilitate any potential connection.
Lee's admiration for the female body is vocalized unabashedly, acknowledging, "Every body is different. Sometimes it’s the base of the neck, sometimes it’s the line of the jaw that's most beautiful on a woman. It’s regularly the curve in the lower back, or beautiful long legs. It’s almost always something to do with the eyes, but I’m not ashamed to say that it’s also quite often a petite ass or perky breasts."
"Sometimes it’s almost impossible to photograph the most beautiful part of a woman because it’s in the way she walks or delivers her speech. It’s the way she moves her mouth, or lifts her left eyebrow just so."
And of all those seemingly un-sexual parts of the human body – the base of the neck, the line of the jaw, the curve in the lower back – Lee acknowledges the twisted dichotomy surrounding nudity, sexuality and the lack of grey area in between:
You can be sexual and evocative without being nude, and you can be nude without being sexual and evocative, but they aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s one of the sad facts of western life, that for the most part we’re too prudish, self conscious, and repressed to explore this beautiful and titillating area of grey.
This grey area of nudity, sexuality and the search to find objective beauty within it all is exemplified in Lee's work through his vulnerability and eagerness to create images that evoke a sense of love and connection. From the confidence of his models to the shadows and angles he creates through light and camera placement, Lee's photos are contemplated, considered and care for.
"I’m a hopeless romantic, I’m a perfectionist to unhealthy degrees, I can’t stand to be in the company of the apathetic, and I fall in love easily. I hope that comes across in at least some of my pictures."