'STRIPPED' for Risk V: The Revolt by Pavel Denisenko & Colin Anderson
There's always some form of red tape surrounding the topic of nudity. One of the most pure and natural aspects of our world, is also one of the most feared, questioned, and demonized. Why?
I grew up in a home where any form of nudity was seen as inappropriate, sexual, or "ungodly". Over the course of my years growing up, I feel as though I was absolutely clueless when it came to the topic of my body. Years of being trained to avoid all sensuality, mixed with my self-suppressed sexuality, the first twenty-something years of my life I was rather uncomfortable when it came to anything related to body image. I remember as time passed, flipping through magazines, books, etc., and having a sense of appreciation and admiration for the nude human body and art form. Though I appreciated the expression in others, I still had an inner reluctance to partake in the experience myself. Time passing, through creating my art, I found a deeper connection and admiration of celebrating the body in its natural state, and began incorporating these elements into my work. Rather abruptly, I allowed myself to let my guard down, and let myself live and feel in the moment, and embrace my body. I think often times I've looked at myself from the lens of the world or society, and let others expectations or what I think are their "preferences", dictate how I view myself. Putting those opinions, thoughts, and expectations aside, I realized that I actually liked and appreciated my body. Self-love and confidence is often confused with arrogance, but for me has been a monumental shift in how I view, carry, and present myself on a daily basis.
With all of that being said, though I've found peace with the topic within myself, I've found it rather interesting navigating the "social constructs" and reactions of when I have expressed myself. As many positive, uplifting, some lustful, reactions I've received, I've been met with many abrupt and condescending viewpoints. I remember getting a text from my father at around midnight one evening, asking if I had "gotten into prostitution" because of a phone call he had received from a "family friend", due to a photo I had posted on social media showing a little more skin than usual. The many times brands and companies have had to "re-evaluate" their relationship in working with me due to my "explicit" and "off-brand" content. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I've encountered hundreds of times feeling as though people feel entitled to a "piece" of you, or a false sense of "ownership", as if just because you chose to express yourself in the form of nudity, you become "easy", or individuals feeling like you owe them something more. Self-expression and transparency does not equate to consent. The assumption that one cannot have or posses intellectual ideas, thoughts, and concepts while also being in tune and showcasing their sensuality is false. "Nudity is not sex, nor pornography. It's the human form showcased visually into the purest state. Uncensored and untainted."
With all of the positives and the negatives, instead of taking the feedback and suppressing the expression, in true Risk fashion, I wanted to face the topic head on, no filter attached. I didn't want 11 models from top NYC modeling agencies looking for new images for their portfolio, or on the job because their agent sent them. An organic casting from Instagram, we sought out to capture 11 people in their natural state, and share a small capsule of their experience and viewpoint regarding the topic of nudity. The respect, admiration, and celebration of the male form.
Editor-In-Chief Colin Anderson