For Trevor Christensen his job as a portrait photographer is to make his subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera - so he decided to get naked. Yes, in his series titled Nude Portraits, the award-winning photojournalist changed the dynamic of a traditional shoot by photographing people completely unclothed.
"My thinking was that I’m a person who is comfortable taking photos, helping a subject feel comfortable having their photo be taken. What if I became a photographer who was uncomfortable taking photos, who was photographing a subject who was similarly uncomfortable?" Christensen told Bored Panda, stating that he wanted to explore how his fear would change his ability to make a portrait. In short Nude Portraits was a big experiment for the photographer.
For this artist, taking the road less traveled has always been his way. Christensen took his first photo class freshman year of high school and it quickly became a serious part of his life. The Utah native dropped out to pursue his passion and his talent led him to be published in outlets such as The Salt Lake Tribune, USA Today, the BBC and The Washington Post.
Despite being a highly experienced photographer, he admits that the first naked shoots were terrifying. "Even with people I knew, it was stressful and strange to carry on a conversation and direct a portrait shoot while I was nude. I did about 50 shoots for the series and never really enjoyed them," said Christensen. As time went on he noticed a shift in the experience:
"As I got used to the process I wasn’t as intimidated by the experience as I was in the beginning. I also noticed subjects didn’t seem to react as strongly to my nudity either. What I realized is that when you’re taking a persons photo, they’re looking to you to know how to feel. So as you become more confident and collected, they’ll be the same way. They’re feeding off your energy."
Christensen has received mostly positive reactions to the series, saying it has spurred conversations on bodies, how we process nudity and vulnerability. In addition to his personal projects, the now Los Angeles resident teaches online photography classes as well.
Scroll down below to see the photos from this experimental shoot!
Olivia, 28, acquaintance, opera masters student; Makenzie, 28, acquaintance, opera masters student Chole; 11 months old, acquaintance, cat
Jordan, 24, friend, quality assurance
Madelyne, 25, elementary school friend, executive assistant
Susie, 22, photographed in her bedroom at her Koreatown, LA apartment
Jay, 27, drummer, photographed at his home
Austin, 27, girlfriend at the time, middle school teacher, photographed at her home in Provo, Utah
Kari, 26, works in IT, former stripper. Photographed at her apartment that she and her boyfriend share in Salt Lake City
Victoria and her younger sister Hannah, shot in Provo, Utah