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Nude Scapes: A new exhibit by Seattle native Art Wolfe
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Nude Scapes: A new exhibit by Seattle native Art Wolfe

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Art Wolfe's
Nude Scapes
Art Wolfe Gallery
1944 First Avenue S.
November 13


Celebrated wildlife and nature photographer Art Wolfe will showcase a new exhibit on November 13, entitled Nude Scapes. A special private viewing of the collection of artistic male nudes is set for November 12, by RSVP only.

This week, SGN spoke with Wolfe about the new body of work and, in particular, why he shifted from nature and wildlife to male nudes.

Nudes Scapes is a minor shift, Wolfe told SGN. The photo work that I've done with cultures around the world - from Ethiopia to New Guinea - provided me with the opportunity to see how tribes incorporate natural things to their appearance. Borrowing heavily from those experiences, it just seemed like a natural progression to take a model and place them in a natural setting and really work with the human form.

In other words, the portraits are a stunning double dose of raw beauty: both man and nature combined. Wolfe approached the photo shoot with over 30 years' experience as a photographer of all things natural; his instinct and professionalism shine through with each click of the shutter. Nude Scapes is a photo exhibit you don't want to miss.

Wolfe said the models are not from an agency. He used all local men, from personal trainers to men that wanted to be a part of the creative experiences of Nude Scapes. All of the men in the collection were volunteers who received a framed original print from the artist.

The element of surprise, he said, is a part of the experience. Each of the models were hand-painted with body paint for certain scenes, and the backgrounds are stunning, he told SGN. The photo shoot really involved the models. I think what people will respond to is this is all a craft.

What I'm doing is celebrating the beauty of the human form in a non-sexual, but sensual way, he said. I want to shape the concept of nude photography up. I told all of my models that these are photos you will be able to show your grandmother without blushing.

Additionally, Wolfe is working on a project (which he hopes to incorporate in future Nude Scape exhibits) entitled Vanishing Act, where the model is camouflaged in nature through body paint and other effects.

Wolfe said that growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the 1950s prepared him for a career as one of America's most renowned photographers. I grew up in West Seattle and Kent. Playing in the forest and climbing mountains gave me a real sense of independence, and mental freedom, he told SGN. Also, when I was a boy I was immersed into the world of arts. Both of my parents were photographers and I went to a free art school for children at Cornish.

As an adult, he said, he just kept pushing my playfield further out there. Wolfe has traveled the globe and done assignments for National Geographic magazine, filmed a public television series Art Wolfe's Travels to the Edge, released more than 65 photo books and has photos appear on two U.S. Postal Service stamps. Still, Seattle is where Wolfe calls home.

I love traveling to different locations throughout the world, he said. The truth is, when I visit a place for the first time, it becomes my new favorite location. But if I really think about it, no one location shines over the top of another. They are all really fantastic - which speaks volumes about the beauty of the earth.

Currently, Wolfe is looking for males who would like to volunteer eight hours of their time for a future photo shoot. He says the models should be interested in creating various abstractions involving the male form. The images, he said, will be showcased in a Seattle gallery, as well as a couple more galleries along the west coast.

I'm hoping to do three or four more photo shoots. I'm painting backdrops and putting together the next incarnation of the series, Wolfe told SGN. I want to release a book and have a show at a major museum. All of these photos are shot with a very high-end camera, which allows me to make prints that are literally wall-size, so some of the displays may be life-size, which I think would make for an interesting exhibition.

Nude Scapes can be viewed at the Art Wolfe Gallery, located in the SODO district at 1944 First Avenue South, 98134. On November 12, the gallery will be open from 6-8 p.m., with wine and light appetizers being served.

To RSVP for the November 12 showing, or to volunteer as a model for Art Wolfe, send an e-mail to info@artwolfe.com. For more information about Wolfe, visit his official website at www.artwolfe.com.

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