Kenyan Model, Ephy Saint

Photography is one of the greatest arts in the world. It’s no longer about using a photo as a keepsake to show your children in the future. It has evolved to being a way of telling a story. The story of a mother glowing in pregnancy, of a starving child, of a blossoming flower. Any photo can tell a story, if you look close enough. Photographers have honed this craft and made it into a huge phenomenon.

One form of photography is nude photography. Nude photography is all about showing the aesthetic value of the human body. It is different from pornographic photography which is all about arousing sexual desire in the viewer. Often times, nude photography is confused with glamour photography. Glamour photography is where human bodies are portrayed in a romantic or sexually alluring way. The subjects may be fully clothed or semi-nude.

The depiction of the human body in all its glory has gained popularity, especially in Kenya. More and more models are coming out and posing nude and there is a huge uproar about it. Most people associate nude photos with pornography. That showing your body is wrong especially in an African setting. To them posing nude depicts immorality on your part. Once in a while, you will see one bold model pose nude and get backlash for it. No one pauses to consider why the decision to pose nude was made.

There are many reasons why people pose nude. It can be to promote breast cancer awareness, to help women heal after a rape ordeal, to promote a product or even as a way to speak out or take a stand against something in the society.  I came across a photo of Kenyan model Ephy Saint posed nude. The photo was done in a tasteful way that is not pornographic or offensive in any way. Once it went up on social media, the comments came in with some being for it and others against it. One comment that stood out for me was, “This is wrong, shows moral decay in our society. We are copying the Western world. I am against it. This is pornography.”

Does posing nude for a photo necessarily mean it is pornographic? There is something amazing about the human body. Something that many people fail to see. There is so much that can be said about using your body to empower others. There seems to be a notion that nude photography is something we got from the West, something that is ruining our African society. Nude photography dates back to the 19th century, and it does come from what we call the Western world. But in Africa, our ancestors walked naked for a long time. Some remnants of this culture still remain. Therefore, the claim that posing nude is ruining our society is ludicrous .

I think that photography has evolved in Kenya, in a way that people are no longer shy about telling stories in unconventional ways. I have no problem with nude photography if it is done for the aesthetic value or for professional use to pass a specific message. Has the time come for Kenyans to accept nude photography as a form of art?

  • theadvbuzz

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  • http://www.jackphotography.net Jackson

    Kenya is really growing in terms of art,i have done nude photography for some people but mostly pregnant.I believe the first aspect to hit the viewer should be the art and cheorography then later realising the subject is naked.nude is not pornography and am open to any client but must have a theme and purpose not just nude.

  • Lulu Akaki

    I agree. Kenya is growing fast in art. Nude photography is coming up. The key is in doing it professionally so it is not offensive to others. Tell a story with the photo and the nudity is forgotten

  • Tendai

    We have to be more accepting and loving of the humanbody. We are beautiful creatures, and as Wamathai said, our ancestors were walking naked way before us and I can truly believe that it wasnt looked down upon until the west came about. This kind of art thoroughly involves more people being less perverted. I love nude art, whatever shape, size or colour! GO EPHY!!

  • Lulu Akaki

    Once we remove the sexual aspect to being naked we can truly appreciate the beauty of the body and nude photography can thrive. We need to stop the mindset that equates being naked to sex

  • crack

    NUDITY IS SEX!!!!
    No debate for that

  • Lulu Akaki

    Why are you of the opinion that nudity is sex?

  • http://www.kenyanpoet.com/ KenyanPoet

    Crack,

    You obviously are not familiar with a guy called Spencer Tunick.

    He is a New York-based photographer who has been creating human art installations all over the world, calling together volunteers by the hundreds or thousands, asking them to remove their clothes, and photographing them in massive groups.

    Check him out here http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/07/the-naked-world-of-spencer-tunick/100344/

  • http://gallerykhately.tumblr.com/ Michael Khateli

    http://gallerykhately.tumblr.com/ Kenya was ready ages ago

  • http://www.dancepeeps.blogspot.com Dancepeeps

    Allow me to be sincere with the lil underastanding of what art is. I love photography and the dynamics and variation in understanding impresses me but Nude photography!? really nooo the society we are living in nudity is jus t pornography. Dont get me wrong i believe art so be himbled and moral. Back then peeps never masturbated but now they do. In all humility i would love any form of art to look at the society,the commodity that drives us deeper into the grave then refine whats good and make the societymove up right. With all humility to the author and deep respect to photographers. i call it the art of capturing a moment.

  • Lulu Akaki

    Shouldn’t art be about telling a story? What if that story requires a naked body to do it? I believe it is o to do nude photography. But i draw the line where you take the photos for sexual purposes. If the nude shots can help people be proud of their body after rape or are used to promote breast cancer awareness is their pornography in it? I agree that nudity can cause immorality but only if we use it for sex

  • Rovina

    I’m all for nude photography. The human body is an art in itself, genetically designed, variably coloured, it has a language of its own. It’s easier to capture vulnerability, confidence, pride and serenity when one is stripped of their clothes. There’s no vulgarity in it.

  • zack

    Kenya has always been ready but it takes a brave person to do it for publishing, Having worked for a while in the advertising circles I have seen the trend change from artistic nude being a taboo to the same getting appreciation. If we stop it with the hypocracy we would actually see the beauty that it is.

  • Wilson Manyuira

    hi lulu. i am a freelance journalist for daily nation on education matters. i would like to do a story titled SO YOU WANT TO BE A NUDE PHOTOGRAPHER and mention you as my point of reference. please holla me on 0715041670 so that we can have a chat

  • Soni Mso

    embrace change ppl

  • Wairiuko N. Wairiuko

    Rovina:”The human body is an art in itself, genetically designed, variably coloured, it has a language of its own. It’s easier to capture vulnerability, confidence, pride and serenity when one is stripped of their clothes. There’s no vulgarity in it.” the words sums it all up…though, I am not advocating for nude photography.