B&WEuropeNudeNude photographs by Martin Zurmühle

I am fascinated by the beautiful rooms and the fantastic lighting moods with which I can take stylish nude photographs.

All photographs of this nude series were taken by me during workshops in different castles in France. Most were taken in the castle of Paray-le-Frésil. For years I have been leading workshops in this historic castle. I am fascinated by the beautiful rooms and the fantastic lighting moods with which I can take stylish nude photographs.

During the workshop we have the whole castle at our disposal. In addition to two nude models, six photographers take part in the workshop. I take photos with the models myself before the workshop begins. In this way I can do my own nude projects too. In addition, I get enough sample pictures that I can show the participants. During the workshop, I support the participants as a coach.

Many shots in the castle benefit from the beautiful, dark brown tones of the wall coverings. These photographs look very artistic both in colour and in black and white. Daylight in the morning looks very attractive at the large windows. The beauty of daylight also depends on the weather. A clear sky is not ideal because the light often looks too hard and cool. Better is a slightly overcast sky that filters the light or clouds that cover the sunlight. This makes the light look softer and warmer. It is therefore worth repeating the same pictures in different weather.

In the interior of the castle, I like to work with the existing continuous light. Of course, this only works with a tripod and the models also have to stand very still. In this way, very atmospheric photographs can be made. I usually take pictures with the automatic white balance of the camera. The strong drop in light from the point light sources creates a very exciting and high-contrast light.

Sometimes the amount of light from the existing light bulbs is not sufficient to illuminate the room sufficiently. Then I supplement the light with a permanent lighting system I have brought with me or with the modeling light from studio flash units. With large soft boxes, I can create a soft, even light. The light bulbs then complement this light with high-contrast points of light. Because of the similar colour temperatures of the light sources, I don’t have to worry about colour casts. In the rather dark rooms, I reduce the measured exposure by 1 to 2 exposure values and often make a series of exposures.

I rarely use an indoor flash. In order to maintain the mood of the light in the room, I have to reduce the output considerably and also install an orange film to match the colour temperature of the flash light to the room light. Either way, I have to take pictures with long exposure times. That’s why I mostly only use the modeling light of the studio flash units.

For me, the image design is about creating a suitable lighting situation to emphasize the beauty of the model. A streak or sidelight that models out the body shapes of the model is particularly beautiful. When shooting with daylight, I often lighten the side of the model facing away from the sunlight with a reflector. When shooting with the available light, it is also worth integrating individual light sources directly into the picture. This warm and high-contrast light contributes a lot to the lighting mood of the pictures. Lampshades, which have a geometric shape and diffuse the light through the shade, look particularly beautiful. Then all I have to do is think of a suitable story with the model, and I have an effective nude picture. [Official Website]

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Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
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