In 2017 I, Leon Schröder (59), realized the Naked Rotterdam project as part of my Masters in Photography. Naked Rotterdam was a tribute to the American artist Greg Friedler(1970 – 2015) who made Naked New York, Naked los Angeles, Naked London and Naked Las Vegas.
The concept of the Naked series revolves around identity. We have a public identity and a private identity. In the Naked books, each time the public, clothed portrait of a person is shown with the private, unclothed portrait next to it. Furthermore, the viewer reads the profession and age of that person. Naked Rotterdam made me realize how much the feeling of ‘not meeting the standard in appearance’ lives in our society and how many people are weighed down by that feeling. Social media plays an important, negative, role in this.
More information about Naked Rotterdam can be found elsewhere on this site and on the project site‘Naked Rotterdam’.
Because of the reactions that Naked Rotterdam has caused, I have decided to make Naked The Hague. Unlike the project in Rotterdam, Naked The Hague has a specific social goal, namely raising awareness about our body image.
In this site you will also find posts from the blog of Emeritus Professor of Psychology Mrs Liesbeth Woertman. She obtained her PhD on the subject ‘Body image’, wrote the book ‘You are already beautiful’ and is the expert in the Netherlands in this area.
She writes about Naked Rotterdam:
“..this is about Being and not about having. We desperately need these images as a society because his photos bring us closer together and do not create a distance.”
I am very happy with her advice and support on this project.
Besides articles by prof. dr. Woertman I have collected links to relevant articles from magazines and newspapers. You will find them here.
As a photographer and teacher, I am not a body image expert. That is why I have asked a number of mental health professionals to act as a sounding board and in case someone is looking for coaching or other professional help. I entered into a collaboration with psychosocial therapist Melissa Frieser from Plan Pelan, where she offers a non-binding aftercare conversation.
Incidentally, I, and all (amateur) photographers with me, do have a certain responsibility in this area. After all, we have the tools to “apply perfection” anywhere and everywhere. We must therefore only use them consciously and deliberately.
My idea about body image is that you should strive for a healthy and well-groomed body. You don’t necessarily have to be happy with your body (#bodypositivity). Accepting your body as it is and not feeling positive or negative about it is of course also fine (#bodyneutrality). If you are unhappy with your body, then of course you should do something about it. Unfortunately, this turns out to be reality for a large group of people.
The intended Naked The Hague exhibition and the photo book (after the summer of 2022) are means to reach a wide audience and also enable the inclusion of non-digitally skilled citizens.
In order to realize the Naked The Hague project and to receive contributions from funds and donations, the Stichting Fotografie in Beeldwas recently established. The board members of the foundation do not receive any compensation for their work.