Since the first days of photography, the nude was a source of inspiration for those that adopted the new medium.
Most of the early images were closely guarded or surreptitiously circulated as violations of the social norms of the time, since the photograph captures real nudity.
After World War I, avant-garde photographers such as Brassaï, Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, André Kertész and Bill Brandt became more experimental in their portrayal of nudity, using reflective distortions and printing techniques to create abstractions or depicting real life rather than classical allusions.
Alfred Stieglitz's photos of Georgia O'Keeffe are examples of some of the earliest nudes presented in an intimate and personal style rather than with dispassionate idealization.
Nude photography is the creation of any photograph which contains an image of a nude or semi-nude person, or an image suggestive of nudity.
Nude photography is undertaken for a variety of purposes, including educational uses, commercial applications and artistic creations.
Nudity and sexually suggestive imagery is common in modern-day culture and widely used in advertising to help sell products.Before nude photography, art nudes usually used allusions to classical antiquity; gods and warriors, goddesses and nymphs.Poses, lighting, soft focus, vignetting and hand retouching were employed to create photographic images that were comparable to the other arts at that time.In this context, the emphasis of the photograph is not on the subject, or the beauty or eroticism of the image, but on the educational or demonstrative purpose for which the image was produced.The nude image may be used for analysis or to accompany medical or other text books, scientific reports, articles or research papers.