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  • Nudity and Society: 1

    For some time now, my reflections and artistic explorations have deeply challenged me about the relationship between nudity and the philosophical construction of our society. This intellectual journey began in earnest with my "Venus" series, where I began to explore the human body and its philosophical implications through photography and painting. This quest was fueled by the beginnings of in-depth research (which is still very recent), conversations with visitors to my exhibitions, and the study of major philosophical works such as François Julien's "Le Nu Impossible" and Daniel Arasse's "On y Voit Rien", as well as Eva Illouz's "La fin de l'amour" on the sociological aspect of freedom of the body and sexuality. These works challenged the aesthetic and social norms surrounding nudity, paving the way for deeper exploration. Delving into the writings of European philosophers, I discovered a variety of perspectives on nudity. For Plato, the body was the reflection of the soul, exposing our inner essence to society. This idealistic vision profoundly influenced the cultural norms of the time, promoting the valorization of the intellect to the detriment of the physical. Aristotle, on the other hand, viewed nudity through the prism of virtue and modesty. His ideas reinforced the moral standards surrounding the body and helped shape the social values of his time. Antiquity has left us with a solid philosophical foundation on nudity, influencing the arts and schools of art that have emerged over the centuries. Classical schools of thought promoted the ideal of beauty and harmony in art, while influencing representations of the human body. (It's hard for me not to mention Violette Leduc's manifesto, published in 1964, which challenged social and cultural norms, and the Salon des Refusés, organized in 1863, which marked a turning point in art history by exhibiting works rejected by the classical salons and the Académie des Beaux-Arts, defying aesthetic standards established since antiquity and creating a fracture. I'll come back to this later, but if you're curious, you're welcome to join me.) Of course, when we talk about a philosopher and quote him in a research discourse, we mustn't disassociate him from his contemporaneity. In Plato's day, ancient Greece was characterized by a highly patriarchal society where philosophy, politics and art were male-dominated domains. The city of Athens, where Plato lived, was a direct democracy, but only free citizens, generally men of Athenian birth, had the right to participate in political life. Greek culture was imbued with polytheistic religious beliefs and an aesthetic centered on the ideal of masculine beauty in the arts and the notion of the "beautiful". But what is beauty? Beauty" is a concept that is often open to subjective interpretation. The term "beautiful" is used to describe something that is aesthetically pleasing, harmonious or visually or sensorially gratifying. However, the definition of beauty can vary according to cultural, historical and individual context. In the context of Western art history, the concept of beauty has often been associated with classical ideals of perfection, symmetry and harmony. Works of art that reflect these qualities are often considered beautiful by traditional artistic standards. Beauty is often associated with a sense of aesthetic pleasure or wonder at a particular form, color, sound or composition that elicits a positive emotional response. This notion of beauty is important for the question of the body and nudity in the face of the state. François Julien highlights the complexity of perception and representation, emphasizing that our conceptions of beauty are not universal, but rather shaped by our cultural and historical contexts. He looks at how different cultures understand beauty and aesthetic standards. Beauty" is not an absolute or fixed entity, but rather a contextual and contingent construction. He emphasizes that beauty emerges from contrasts, tensions and differences, rather than from a quest for perfect harmony. This perspective invites us to rethink our aesthetic criteria and consider the diversity of forms of beauty that can exist beyond conventional norms. In ancient Greece, the concept of beauty was closely linked to the notion of proportion, harmony and balance. The Greeks saw beauty as a quality emanating from order and symmetry in the natural and artistic world. This idea is well illustrated by the aesthetic theories developed by thinkers such as Pythagoras and Plato. For Plato, for example, beauty was associated with abstract, universal ideas, reflecting perfect, ideal forms that transcended the sensible world. He saw physical beauty as an imperfect manifestation of these ideal forms, and stressed the importance of education in cultivating an appreciation of beauty. Aristotle, on the other hand, saw beauty as a harmonious, orderly quality that aroused aesthetic pleasure in the beholder. He put forward the idea that beauty was linked to perfection and balanced proportions. Although François Julien didn't focus specifically on Greek conceptions of beauty, he could highlight the relativity of this concept across cultures and eras, suggesting that our contemporary understanding of beauty is influenced by our own cultural and aesthetic frames of reference, and this is where I'm obliged to make the link between patriarchy, dominant structures and the notion of universal beauty... And yes, patriarchal and dominant structures often control aesthetic standards, promoting certain ideals of beauty to the detriment of others. Patriarchal norms generally promote ideals of physical and aesthetic perfection that correspond to the interests of dominant groups. This tendency leads to a uniform, universal conception of "beauty" that does not reflect the real diversity of human experience. We are increasingly witnessing a cultural homogenization in which unique local aesthetic expressions are replaced by standardized norms, as evidenced by the standardization of contemporary architecture. At the same time, capitalism is exerting a profound influence on the conception of beauty, promoting the standardization, commercialization and massification of aesthetic norms. Challenging this uniform conception of beauty often involves attacking the economic and cultural mechanisms that perpetuate exclusive and alienating aesthetic ideals. In a nutshell, the link between patriarchy, dominant structures and the universal conception of beauty highlights the mechanisms of cultural and social control that shape our aesthetic perceptions. To challenge these norms, it's essential to value the diversity and plurality of aesthetic expression, while acknowledging the issues of power and inequality that underpin imposed ideals of beauty. My research is not limited to classical philosophy. I've also turned to contemporary works and international perspectives, because restricting this investigation to European borders would have been reductive, but for this first part I have to talk about what I know best. But let's go back a little further into what I've been able to find out about antiquity (I'm aware that I'm not a rocket scientist, and new elements are welcome in this investigation). I'd like to talk about the late-antique philosopher and mathematician Hypatia, who defended a vision of the female body as being as capable of rationality as the male body (this refers to her belief that women are intellectually capable and deserve the same respect as men in terms of rational and philosophical abilities). Her work challenged the patriarchal social norms of her time and paved the way for a reconsideration of women's place in society. Hypatia lived at a time of transition between classical antiquity and the beginning of the Christian era. However, the rise of Christianity and religious tensions influenced the climate. As a female philosopher and mathematician in a largely male-dominated society and an emerging Christian Church, Hypatia had to navigate a complex cultural and social environment..she was tragically murdered in 415 AD by radical Christian monks. It's important to note that Hypatia's direct writings on nudity, beauty and the body have not come down to us, and we often have to interpret her ideas through the prism of texts and commentaries attributed to her indirectly. Hypatia often valued beauty as a manifestation of harmony and universal order (Neoplatonic thought), and saw the body as a vehicle for achieving a deeper understanding of reality, seeing the body as an instrument of knowledge and understanding of the world, emphasizing the importance of intellect and rationality over physical appearance and making it clear that beauty was secondary. In the end, there are more discussions or speeches about the body in a church than by philosophers who can be counted on the fingers of one hand... with religion, drugs and politics, we could add nudity to the list of controversial subjects... but why? Nudity raises complex questions of morality, ethics, aesthetics and individual freedom. Philosophical debates on nudity often involve considerations of human nature, power, social control and individual rights, which can make discussions on this subject particularly rich but also potentially divisive. But why DIOS MIO? Thank you for following this first part of my exploration of nudity and philosophy! As you may have noticed, there's still a lot to explore in this vast field of intersecting histories, ideas and perceptions, and I'm just a student at the beginning of an investigation I'm carrying out on my own in the hope of understanding this contemporary disarray. The rest of this article is coming soon. I hope this dive has made you think, question and maybe even smile. Together, let's shake things up and open up new perspectives on nudity, the body and our philosophical constructs. See you soon! Léonie Stolberg

  • Image Rights Contracts: A Short Guide for Photographers and Models

    In my practice, and in the photography industry as a whole, the question of image rights is of vital importance to photographers and models alike. In order to establish a climate of trust and to clarify the issues at stake, thus guaranteeing a fruitful and lasting collaboration, it is often essential to draw up an image rights contract. I understand that familiarizing oneself with the ins and outs of this legal aspect can be daunting, especially for those new to the world of photography, whether as a model or a photographer simply for the fun of it. Having started out photographing friends and comrades, I'd like to share with you a lesson that will benefit you, as I've only been doing this since 2024! In this article, we'll explore what such a contract is, why it's essential, for whom it's intended, what it should contain, the precautions to take when drafting it, as well as the distinctions between an image rights contract, the right to broadcast and the right to photograph. happy reading :) What is an Image Rights Contract? An image rights contract is a written agreement between a photographer and a model that sets out the terms and conditions for the use of images resulting from a photo shoot. It specifies the rights and responsibilities of each party with regard to the use, reproduction and distribution of the images. They are an essential tool for ensuring transparent, fair and respectful collaboration between photographers and models. They offer legal protection, clarify expectations and contribute to the professionalism of the photography industry. Even if you're not a professional, or not yet ;) I'd advise you to draw one up from what's available on the internet, or to hire someone who's done a legal course or study on the subject. Beware: tacit agreements are worthless, unfortunately... so in the meantime, if you've only got agreements via the written conversation you've had, screen what you've agreed to and create your image rights contract by adding your clauses! Why make Image Rights Contracts? Image rights contracts are essential to clarify expectations and avoid misunderstandings between photographer and model. They protect the rights of both parties and clearly define the scope of authorization granted for the use of images. In the event of a dispute, a written contract can serve as legal proof of the agreements reached. Who are Image Rights Contracts for? Image rights contracts are intended for anyone involved in a photo shoot: the photographer, the model and sometimes even third parties who may use the images, such as M.U.A., designers who have collaborated with you, a venue, etc. What to include in an Image Rights Contract? An image rights contract should include the following elements: Identity of the Parties: Names and full contact details of the photographer and model: date/place of birth, e-mail address, telephone number, address, national registration number (or copy of model's identity document only). Description of the Session: Date, place and nature of the photo session ( payment or in collaboration, etc.) , number of photos made or rendered. Rights Granted : Authorization to use images for specific purposes (commercial, editorial, promotional, etc.). Duration of Authorization: Period during which the photographer is authorized to use the images. Responsibilities: Commitments of the parties with regard to copyright and image rights. For models wishing to remain anonymous: it is crucial to discuss together the measures to be taken to guarantee this anonymity. This may involve not being physically recognizable in the photo, or simply asking that their name not be mentioned. In some cases, both options can be combined. In this case, the model may choose to cede all rights to the photographer, allowing free use of the images without the risk of compromising their anonymity. Signatures: I advise you to initial all sheets on both sides, and to sign at the end of the contract. What to look out for in an Image Rights Contract? When drafting or signing an image rights contract, it is crucial to pay attention to the following points: Clarity: Make sure all clauses are clear and understandable to all parties involved. Legal considerations: Make sure the contract complies with local laws on copyright and image rights. Even if, in the end, you're happy with your clauses, that's great! This clause stipulates that the model and photographer agree not to act in any way that might damage reputation or image. In other words, if the model and photographer agree not to undertake any actions or behaviors that might disparage reputation or professionalism in the course of their collaboration. Here are some examples of behaviors or actions that could constitute a breach of this clause: By complying with this clause, you agree to maintain a respectful professional relationship with the photographer/model and to help preserve his or her reputation and professional image. Make defamatory or prejudicial statements. You will not, either publicly or privately. 2. Disclose contractual terms that are private. 3. Use images captured during the shoot in a way that is detrimental to the photographer, for example by associating them with negative comments or using them in an inappropriate context. 4. Acting unprofessionally during the shoot, which could tarnish the photographer's image by association. 5. Share confidential or private information about the photographer without consent. 6. Disclosing screenshots of private discussions. Differences between Image Rights Contracts, Broadcasting Rights and Photography Rights Although they are often linked, it is important to distinguish between an image rights contract, the right to broadcast and the right to photograph: Image Rights Contract: A specific agreement between the photographer and the model concerning the use of images resulting from a photo shoot. Right to Broadcast: The right to publicly broadcast an image, usually held by the copyright holder (the photographer), but may require the model's consent depending on local laws. Right to Photograph: The right to take photographs of a person or subject, usually held by the photographer, subject to compliance with local laws on image rights and privacy. If the terms of an image rights contract are not respected? If the terms of an image rights contract are not respected, there may be legal consequences for the party in breach. The action taken in the event of non-compliance often depends on the seriousness of the breach and the specific provisions of the contract itself. Here are some potential actions that could be taken in the event of breach of contract: Formal notice: The aggrieved party can begin by sending a formal notice to the breaching party, informing it of the breach of contract and requesting it to comply with the agreed terms within a specified timeframe. Negotiation: In some cases, it may be possible to resolve the dispute amicably by negotiating with the breaching party to find a mutually satisfactory arrangement. Contract termination: If the breach is serious and irreparable, the aggrieved party may choose to terminate the image rights contract. This terminates all contractual obligations between the parties, but can also lead to further disputes over damages. Legal recourse: If an amicable resolution is not possible and the offending party refuses to comply with the terms of the contract, the injured party may take legal action to obtain compensation for damages suffered and/or an injunction to enforce compliance with the terms of the contract. A special mention for the problems I've encountered as a photographer: I've had some crazy stories in the past, simply because I chose to naively trust the people I worked with, favoring tacit agreements. These experiences have taught me a valuable lesson: from now on, I'm careful to protect not only my work, but also myself! Five years ago, I had the opportunity to photograph someone I considered a friend, who had signed a contract stipulating the terms of our collaboration. The contract, drawn up carefully and transparently, included specific clauses concerning the model's anonymity, the absence of any physical identification on the photos, and the agreement to exhibit the images. Everything had been agreed and validated by the model herself. Unfortunately, a few years later, this person changed his mind and demanded the destruction of the exhibited photos - photos in which I had invested time, energy and financial resources. While I understand the model's concerns, it is regrettable that the work and investment I had put into this project should not be taken into consideration. That's why the contract is important... According to the law and after careful verification of my rights, it was clear that I had the right to use the photos as agreed in the original contract. However, the situation took an unpleasant turn when the model publicly defamed my work and leaked screenshots of private conversations as well as confidential clauses of the contract. It's important to note that the contract in question included clauses designed to maintain a professional and respectful relationship between the parties, which unfortunately was not respected in this case. The disclosure of confidential clauses and the public defamation had repercussions not only on my work, but also on my personal sphere, particularly in my school and social environment. This experience has affected me deeply and made me reflect on the wider implications of photography, as well as the need to defend my rights as a photographer. It's crucial to recognize the importance of contracts in this field, and to understand the steps you need to take to protect your work and your reputation. I know it's not an easy thing to do, but with real goodwill you can do anything. I subsequently discovered that the person had been using the photo, right up to the present day, even though he had expressly stated that he didn't want to see it and had asked for it to be destroyed. This revelation led me to reflect on the true nature of the problem. However, I'd prefer to save the rest of my stories for a new article entitled "The stories that got me going." Reflecting on this situation, I am confronted with the question of defending our rights when the contract is called into question despite its initial validation. This question raises complex issues and underlines the importance of seeking solutions that are fair and respectful to all parties involved. My final piece of advice: If I could share one final piece of advice, it would be this: never underestimate the importance of clear and transparent communication when setting up a contract. Make sure all parties fully understand the terms and conditions by asking several times if necessary and explaining each point with the person concerned. Personally, I always include an open clause in my contracts, allowing models to express what bothers them or what they'd like to add. Their comfort and satisfaction are paramount. Sending the contract by e-mail is an excellent way of keeping a written record of the agreement. And don't hesitate to copy the contract to someone you trust, who can support you if necessary. For models, I urge you to follow your instincts. If something doesn't feel right or doesn't match your expectations, don't hesitate to communicate and say "no". During the session, always express how you feel, as good communication is essential for everything to go smoothly. If you don't feel comfortable coming alone, ask the photographer if it's possible to be accompanied, or if you can have access to the contract before the session to read it calmly. I've had to deal with models who made me feel uncomfortable, so it's important to say no or bring someone with you who makes you feel at ease. In short, whether you're a photographer or a model, mutual respect, open communication and concern for each other's well-being are essential to guarantee a successful and positive collaboration. Thanks for reading :) Léonie Stolberg

  • Welcome to my blog

    Welcome to my blog, It's time for me to open the doors to the backstage of my thoughts, my projects and my journey. The desire to create this blog has been nagging at me for some time now, and now I feel the urge more than ever to share this inner journey with you. The subjects I tackle here are sensitive, profound and often of great societal importance: from the body to love, from society to standards, etc. I'm engaged in a quest for collective awareness, and sometimes I feel it's essential to explain the whys and wherefores, to bear witness to the beauty I discover in every encounter, in every exchange. My career in the multi-disciplinary art world has anchored me deeply in this approach, as if ever since I was a child, the sight of exhibitions, the works I love and the details that capture my intention, had always prepared me to do what I do today. Creating is vital and essential for me, but more than that, I realise that my projects often strike a chord with those who join them. There's this urgency to life, this need to participate, to feel exorcised in what I propose. The tears that sometimes flow during our sessions, the strong emotions that are released, but also the friendships that are born of these shared moments, all reinforce my conviction that this is where something very important is at stake for many people. The people I meet who ultimately make up the world, and their relationship with their own bodies. I realize that for many of the people who contact me, there is a deep desire to participate in my projects, to feel an urgency to live, to serve a cause or to find liberation through what I propose. It touches them to the core, and me too, because without them, I'm nothing. I make this distinction because some projects simply arouse the desire to participate, providing a feeling of satisfaction, while others take on a much deeper dimension, linked to the subject and the emotional impact it generates. Beautiful friendships and adventures often grow out of these experiences, which is truly wonderful. It's this human connection that I want to cultivate, and that's why I want to create this blog and share my thoughts and my adventure. I'm convinced that there's still so much to say, so much to discover, and it's with enthusiasm that I invite you to be part of this journey if it resonates with you. Admittedly, not everything has always been rosy and sweet in my young career, and I've had some less pleasant experiences, but I've accepted them as lessons, guides to move forward as a human being, an artist, a woman working on the dimension of the body, love and sexuality. At the same time, I'm immersing myself in personal research into the art of the nude. A fascinating quest that questions our perceptions, our representations, our mental and psychic constructs. What is the nude? How is it represented, and why? Have the canons evolved, and what does this mean for us, in Europe, where the influence of the Greek vision of Antiquity persists? the symbol of the tattoo, the hair, the piercing, from painting to reality? This blog reflects my life, my thoughts and my questions. I invite you to wander through it, to lose yourself in it, to find yourself in it. Everything that will be visible on this blog will also be a continuation of my reflections initiated on Instagram, in French and English. However, I think it makes more sense for me to bring all this content together here. From referencing the gear I use, to topics such as "How to draw up an image rights contract", to sensitive testimonials, you'll find a diversity of topics covered in these pages. You are free to leave whenever you like, to disagree, to find it unattractive, because that's how the richness of our exchanges and encounters is born. I encourage you to look at the world with kindness, to be the people you want to meet every day. Because if it doesn't start with us, where does it begin? Thank you for being here, thank you for listening, for being present. May this day be beautiful and inspiring. Léonie Stolberg

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