artistic nude redhead smiling

Time Was Never

MODEL / BRITTNEY
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Brittney is a young wife and mom and has a nice Instagram presence with a devoted fan base! Her sense of humor is contagious and you have to love her freckles! We decided to meetup and shoot near an old dam that’s become a museum on the river. Spending the cool morning sharing our mutual love of automobile restoration and talking about kids and family, we worked our way around the structure and park around it on both sides of the river. One thing Brittney definitely wanted to highlight in this shoot are her “tiger stripes!” She earned them and wants them to be seen and loved. Enjoy these fun shots!

nude female near orange buoys

Out Until Dawn

MODEL / ADRIANNA
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

It’s always fun to meet and shoot with a new model. I love to hear the stories that brought us together to create art — to hear how our journeys collide and enhance each other’s lives. Adrianna had a plan to do 30 shoots for her 30th birthday and as the penultimate shoot, I got to be the 30th! We shot near a river where some buoys were left sitting around by somebody. I love incorporating “found objects” in a shoot and, with the late fall weather, these bright orange balls were just right!

Photo by Jason Lee, Model in front of waterfall

In the Beginning

SOURCE / H & E Magazine
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE
INTERVIEW / MARK HAMILTON

 American photographer Jason Lee believes the human body reflects God’s glory.

How many other artistic photographers found their vocation courtesy of a personal dare? “It was 2006,” recalls Jason Lee. “I had been told throughout my upbringing that nudity equalled lust, and that it was impossible to spend time with a naked person of the opposite sex and not be automatically aroused. I thought this was absurd, but I wanted to test myself, and the theory, and find out if it was true. So I put out an advert as a photographer to set up what I thought would be my only experience.

“Probably not surprisingly, to those who already know how benign being nude in nature really is, I found that my model’s beauty did not distract me from capturing her likeness as art. We had a marvellous time shooting together, and I found that I had a knack for capturing art nudes. What started out as a personal challenge turned into a passion for pushing back against the negative narratives of body shame and porno-prudish thinking.”

It was the start of a new career, and Jason’s company Genesis Modeling & Photography (shootwithgenesis.com)  – which now offers a range of services including personalised shoots as well as workshops with both models and photographers – was born.

 “The name I chose is directly reflective of the creation account in Genesis, where man and woman were made naked and unashamed. I believe this is the original intent of God and that it has never changed, despite humanity’s fall. As a Christian, I believe that by experiencing and appreciating the beauty of the human body, we are reflecting God’s glory in which we were created. Genesis tells us that we were created in the image of God and in His likeness, completely without shame. My work as an artist in creating nude photography and body paintings is a way for me to present that viewpoint to the public.”

Approach

Jason’s beliefs are fundamental to his approach to work, and life.

“I base my understanding of naturism on what I’ve read and studied in the Bible, so I have settled on the term ‘comfortablist’.   Practically, this means I’m comfortable whether in clothing or without it. I definitely think of clothing as only necessary for specific purposes or decoration, and find it completely unnecessary for the protection of ‘false modesty’. I believe modesty is an attitude, not a dress code. Though I wasn’t raised as a naturist, I made the personal choice to sleep nude around the age of seven and haven’t looked back.”

Jason recounts that his upbringing was “no different to most adolescents in America who were raised in a middle-class conservative family: namely that nudity is reserved for married intimacy or taking a shower, and that it is not to be shared. Something inside me, however, never bought into this idea. I can remember being fascinated by the beauty of the human body, even as a child, yet not really having a sanctioned way to perceive this beauty.

“I was exposed to pornography while visiting a cousin when I was about eleven, and found it to be shocking and degrading. A few years later, I went to the library (this was before the internet was a big thing) and tried to search out pure forms of nudity. What I found were classical art paintings and a section of shelves that were supposed to hold art nude photography books but instead, they were empty. Apparently even tasteful nudity was too much to just leave out on a library bookshelf. The books had to be requested via a librarian and couldn’t be checked out. It seemed absurd.”

Hooked

It should come as little surprise that Jason discovered naturism, although as he admits, it came a little later in life. “It wasn’t until moving to Idaho that I began to experience social naturism and incorporate it into my photography. Idaho is home to two naturist resorts and has many hot springs. I learned after moving here that it is not only acceptable, but often expected, to soak naturally in nature in these hot pools. After experiencing it for the first time, I was hooked and never wanted to wear a swimsuit again!

“Since that first experience, I have enjoyed social naturism many times and find it beneficial for building lasting friendships and promoting body positivity. I have participated in three World Naked Bike Rides, and my wife and I have visited several resorts and beaches, including one in Italy on a recent holiday.”

Of course, not everybody is as relaxed about nudity as that.

“For every one model who agrees to a naked shoot,” reckons Jason, “there are another nine that say: I love your work. But I can’t shoot nude because I have body hang-ups, I’m afraid of what my family/boss/friends will think, or my boyfriend/husband won’t allow me to. I think this is one of the toughest parts of producing artistic nude work. People are afraid. They’re afraid to participate. They’re afraid to admit they enjoy the experience of viewing or owning it.”

Would switching the gender balance make a difference?

Jason isn’t convinced. “I mostly shoot with female models, but occasionally work with males. Sometimes I have received a little negativity for not including more males in my work, but I often invite the person complaining to go and create their own male nude work. I can’t do it all by myself! We need lots of new art and lots of new participants if we’re going to change attitudes. But I’m happy to say that I work with a lot of models who are experiencing nude photography for the first time, and have developed a reputation for being a safe person with whom to shoot.”

String

Photography isn’t the only string to Jason’s bow – he also paints abstracts, plays music, builds furniture and restores vehicles – but he does restrict his work behind the camera to the nude.

“When people ask why, I reply because nudity is pure. It’s always my goal to present the purity and soul of a model’s personality, not a fashion show. I’m not selling clothes or cosmetics. I am not interested in being coy but nor am I trying to sell my model’s sexuality in a photo. I look for the raw, innocent essence of who she is – and as much as she would like to share of herself in that space. My work reflects the goodness of the human body in its beauty, as created. It’s as simple as that.”

Jason doesn’t just believe that what he does is art for art’s sake. “I am humbled by feedback from models and patrons who find that my work touches them in a profound way. I’ve had models who have found freedom from body shame and dysmorphia, and reported experiencing a new personal ownership of their bodies. Sometimes this even happens in the middle of a shoot. I have had others who have reported that our work together has helped resolve sexual trauma from rape and abuse. Others have remarked on how their lives have been forever made brighter, and freer, and empowered.”

Given the choice, Jason prefers the great outdoors.

“I most often shoot on location in the Pacific Northwest of the US. My home base is one of the most beautiful (and unknown) places on the planet, though I love to travel, and I’m willing to shoot practically anywhere in the world. I have an invitation to shoot in Puerto Rico soon, so I’m looking forward to that. I’d also love to have my photographic travels take me to places like the UK, Spain or New Zealand, so if any readers are interested, feel free to reach out!

“As for favourite locations, I love to include water of some kind. We have shot around water in every season, even in ice and snow. I always feel that water, whether as a waterfall, steam-filled hot pool or snowy backdrop, incorporates so many elements of nature into one place. I try to always keep my eyes open for new potential shooting spots. I once spotted a couple of abandoned milk vans down in a ravine while on location for a different spot. Of course, we had to climb down and explore.”

Elements

When not braving the elements in the winter months, as part of his Personal Spaces Project, he also shoots models at home where, as he explains, “they can be naturally nude and do whatever it is that fits their mood. It’s designed to capture a personal vibe and natural body energy in a relaxed environment, and explore the personality, mood and creativity of each model.”

Indoors or out, Jason explains that “to come up with a subject or theme for a shoot, I will collaborate with the model. I am also incredibly inspired by the natural handiwork of God in nature. I love to explore a new vista with a model and chase the light and shadows, and compare and contrast the model’s form, emotions and style against the natural features of a landscape or even an abandoned manmade space. Body paints are often similarly imagined while on site, though occasionally a theme will be developed beforehand.

“I have had quite a bit of interest in seeing my work published in book form, so I am assembling my first book of art nudes, and debating on whether I should self-publish or go for the traditional route.

“Apart from that, I am perfectly content with life the way it is. I am happily married, and my wife and I are raising our children to hopefully be well-balanced members of society. We’ve incorporated our beliefs about the body into raising them, and believe this helps to prepare them better for life as adults.”

God willing.

Let the Sunshine In

MODEL / DANYA
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

What can I say about Danya? She has such energy and a wonderful personality! This was a selection from our first shoot together out in a sunflower patch and a corn field. I don’t think it turned out… corny. Do you?

black and white art nude

You Had Your Light

MODEL / MADISON
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

It took a few years and a few tries before Madison and I were able to find a date that would work for both of our busy schedules, but one day the calendars aligned! We shot in a dry riverbed full of volcanic rocks and an abandoned farmhouse and got some nice contrasty shots. Madison has a look that reminds me of classic 1930s Hollywood.

city park nude

Open Up My Eyes

MODEL / JORDAN
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

One thing about smoky skies in the Boise summer is that it makes great natural lighting! Jordan and I visited what turned out to be a busy local park along the river in the late afternoon. She has a great freedom and confidence that is endearing. This city park nude shoot was really fun. When Jordan got in the river, we met a nice pregnant lady who enjoyed watching our shoot. She was soaking her feet in the cool water and shared with us that nudity was so much more common and accepted where she grew up in northern Europe. She was glad we were out there taking advantage of a great afternoon.

Brightest Star

MODEL / JOY
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Joy had always wanted a hotel boudoir shoot in a boutique suite, and as she had a connection who could provide it, she asked if I would help bring her dream to reality. Here’s the result of a fun shoot working with confined spaces, playing with light and dark.

bodypaint nude

Let Yourself Be Found

MODEL / HARLEE
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Harlee has a great intensity to her that’s matched by a stillness and calm – like a tigress.

Out Until Dawn

In Erin’s own words, shooting nude with Genesis is exhilarating, freeing and highly recommended. Check out this video for more!

Vision that Gives Me Sight

MODEL / AUDREY
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Audrey is an amazing photographer in her own right. One day she asked if we could hit the trail together and check out some locations I had told her about and then she volunteered herself to jump in front of the camera. Amazing laughs, hiking, waterfalls and friendship!

Ghost of a Note We Skipped

MODEL / Naddy and AJ
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

One of the great things about living out west is finding the occasional ghost town. This one was great fun to explore.

Across the Sky

I probably say it more than people want to hear, but there’s just a specialness to shooting nudes with people. The vulnerability leads to joy, to freedom, to raw beautiful emotion and fearlessness. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the Day

MODEL / ErinK
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Erin and I went and checked out this amazing old one lane bridge over a little river. It was golden hour, but boy was the area busy! She was a pro and has an infectious laugh and smile.

Can Life Be New

MODEL / Hannah
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE
INTERVIEW – CHAPTER I

It’s just like the most powerful thing to do.” – Hannah

Hannah is a treasure. We have worked together on several occasions and on the drive out to our most recent shoot, I got to ask her a few questions and she agreed to allow me to record our conversation and share it. She wanted to share with me about how the experience of shooting nude with Genesis Modeling and Photography has helped her overcome personal battles following sexual abuse. It was a long conversation and so we’ll break it up into a few chapters. We talk about some heavy topics, so if that triggers you, be forewarned.

Here are some excerpts from our interview:

Jason: Can you describe how shooting nude helped you after being assaulted? You called it something like “taking back who you are?

Hannah: I think after [the assault] happens you kind of lose a sense of yourself, and you just kind of think like, okay, well if that’s all I’m really going to be used for, then maybe that’s all I’m only meant for…. It sounds kind of pitiful I guess, but at the same time, it’s like I went through something and came out basically feeling broken.

And so to be able to gain that confidence and vulnerability back in a good way, it’s just, it’s such a relief-feeling to know that you can still love yourself after that happened to you. That it was not your fault. And I think a lot of people that are victims of those things blame themselves, or they’re like, well, what if I just didn’t go to that party? Or what if I just didn’t have that drink? You know what I mean? And it’s being comfortable again with your body. Like literally, I could just never look at myself naked. It took so long for me to be to do that.

J: Why do you think that was?

H: I felt like it was my fault and I was stressing: how did I let that happen to me? And then I had to realize like a lot of things are out of my control and that I didn’t choose to have that happen. I needed to let it “break you or make you.” I told myself that it’s fine to have the grieving process, but you have to get on your feet sooner or later.

One of my friends is a rape victim as well. And it’s just crazy to think like how often it happens. And then when it happens to you, you reach out to other people and you find out that’s happening a lot more. It changes your perspective, I guess a little bit. So you don’t feel so alone.

J: So by sharing your story, embracing community, it gives you power over…

H: Yeah. It’s basically like, OK, you took that part away from me, but you’re not going to take away the rest. Like you’re not going to take me away from myself. Yeah, for a moment, you tore my identity apart, but now that I found out who I am, again, it’s like, you can’t touch me anymore.

If I can embrace nudity in a non-sexual way, then it’s like, what else is there to see? I think it’s very empowering for us to embrace being comfortable naked.

I think a lot of people are very immature and I admit that I also struggled with insecurity for sure, especially after what happened. I thought no one would ever look at me the same way if I told them what had happened. But being able to look at yourself in a better way – being able to see yourself naked pushes you to realize that it doesn’t really matter how the other people think. It’s how you feel about yourself.

J: Do you think that rape is more about the physical or about the emotional?

H: I think it’s definitely both. Personally, I feel like every rapist, even if they don’t want to extend it, they definitely feel remorse for what they did. Although there are some people that don’t feel that emotion like that, but I think the majority of people do understand that their actions cause pain. My rapist – He tried reaching out afterwards, like after a month and apologizing, but honestly, I just didn’t really want to hear it. I appreciate him understanding that what he did was wrong, but I don’t want any communication of that because it was his choice to do it.

I think people that feel the need to do that didn’t get the love that they needed growing up and they searched for it in the wrong way. They don’t get it from the ways that they’re searching either, because they go out and hurt someone and take away their happiness.

J: How do you think that society contributes to the environment of allowing or promoting rape?

H: I think it should be harder [on rapists]. So I think there’s the legal part where a lot of people that rape don’t get in trouble. It’s very rare for a rapist to go to jail, or anyway for a long time, or a real reprimand or consequence for their actions — whether it’s a female or male, you know, it can come from both ways.  So I think that because of the way you view community and sex and stuff like that, like if you go onto like porn sites, a lot of it — it’s very rough — like not what real sex is. And I think people that don’t experience healthy ways of experiencing sexuality and nudity and being subjected to nudity very often have a difficult time distinguishing what’s right and wrong when it comes to sex. I think society play a huge part in that though. Especially now, if you go on social media, it’s all about girls’ bodies. Like it’s never about like personality or who they are, which might sound cheesy. But like, I feel like nowadays people shop for girls — or men as well — like it’s very subjective.

And I think society needs to do a better job at allowing helpful nudity. So I feel like if we subject everyone to more nudity, I don’t think [sexualizing] nudity would be a huge thing anymore. Like rape would still happen obviously, but I don’t think it would be as severe as it is now.

J: That brings up an interesting question to me: Does sharing nude photographs on social media help people see more normalcy of nudity to you? Or does it add into that shopping culture?

H: I think it definitely depends on how the nudity is being portrayed because you can take two different types of nude photos. You can make sexual nudes, or you can take artistic nudes. Like a girl eating a banana while wearing lingerie is likely insinuating something there. But like, for example, your photo of me, nude near a waterfall, definitely not sexual, it’s just nude.

You know what I mean? Like there’s a difference between sex and nude. And I think we have a hard time distinguishing that in society. And as soon as they see a naked person, they’re like, Oh my gosh, sex, that’s the first thing we are taught to think about. But instead, why, like, why do we think that way?  Why can’t we think of it as just like an art form? And I mean, that’s what it is. We’re all born naked.

J: How did seeing yourself in the photos adjust your outlook?

H: I think a lot of what follows after sexual assault, is a lot of shame. And guilt. And I just wonder, like, why me? To get over that, you just really have to be vulnerable again with yourself. Like I literally never thought I’d be able to look at myself naked again, after the whole thing happened. And then like doing that shoot, I was like, why am I so scared? Like, I’m not going to die if I’m naked. Like nothing bad’s gonna happen!

J: What do you think the mental switch was?

H: I think I just stopped. Like I just stopped allowing my past to determine who I am as a person and as my future. I just allowed myself to embrace who I was and it just felt so good to just be who I was again. And being naked at our shoot was kind of like a turning point for me. I don’t know if it’s the vulnerability aspect or like having the ability to be in a safe place and feel that emotion as well and not be scared. It’s just a really great feeling.

J: Any closing thoughts?

H: I want more people to shoot nude! I don’t know why people don’t just go for it when considering a nude shoot. You know? Honestly, like it’s scary at first, and then when you do it, it’s just like the most powerful thing to do. And it’s just, why was I scared in the first place? It’s like not even worth being afraid about. It’s like everything worked out great. And you learn to love yourself again. 100%.

Stay Tuned for Chapter II.

24 Skies

MODEL / Joy S
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

PART 1: Some of the most beautiful places in the world are right here in Idaho. Shh! Don’t tell! Joy and I hit the road for these shots near the Sawtooth Mountains. Here was Joy’s reaction to the photos:

“I just looked at them and omg ? they are beautiful! I love then so much and they made me smile so much!!!”

We Are Fire

MODEL / Hannah G
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

PART 1: The backdrop: A fascinatingly unique water-and-wind-carved canyon that can only be accessed in the wintertime. Even though it was 22 degrees Fahrenheit, Hannah braved the weather, climbing rocks and bracing through the cold as we worked quickly through the area. Here are her thoughts, after seeing the results:

“Sooo those pictures turned out absolutely amazing!!! I think a couple of my favorites would be of me on that rock that I was terrified of climbing! They look so good. Thank you for giving me the confidence to do it! I can’t get over how amazing they are! I love how the shapes just flow so well and there are a couple of other ones where I blend in with the rocks and it’s beautiful. I love sharing this art with people and creating it with people like you. I honestly never thought of nudism the way I do now and I’m so happy to be apart of the movement!”

Where’s My Soul?

MODEL / Janna G
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

On a cold, windy morning, Janna and I drove out through the fog to North America’s largest sand dune. The wind was biting and made your eyes water. Working through the emotions brought by the environment, Janna brought this truly heart-touching performance to this portion of our shoot. Janna’s response to our shoot? “They turned out AMAZING!”