heARTbeat: The Nu Project Focuses on Real Women in the Nude

ColumnAre you comfortable in your own skin? If so, Matt Blum wants to hear from you.

Three little words:  “You Are Beautiful,” can change the moment. We all want to hear them. As our first world cultural gaze is trained on augmented, botoxed, plastic-y looking images, it is sometimes confusing to reconcile the natural beauty that lies within each of us as we are bombarded daily by hundreds of manufactured images. In photographer Matt Blum’s Nu Project, he aims his lens at the quintessential muse:  the female form.

Says Blum:

The project began in 2005 and has stayed true to the original vision: no professional models, minimal makeup and no glamour. The focus of the project has been and continues to be the subjects and their personalities, spaces, insecurities and quirks.

To date, over 100 women across North and South America have participated, while over 1,500 women have signed up to be part of project. And Blum is always on the lookout for new subjects.

Speaking of subjects, what do they get out of it? In the words of some of his models:

…that some of the images are really, really lovely helps me remind myself to be compassionate toward my body’s struggles to find equilibrium, to process emotions and conditions it doesn’t get much reprieve from.

Another subject’s words:

Actually taking the pictures was incredible. I was nervous to open myself up like that to someone I had just met, but was pleasantly surprised when the nervousness quickly faded and the confidence of “this is who I am, and this is my body” took over.

From a young woman with body issues:

This issue of beauty, the body, and seeing yourself objectively vs. your own perception is something that means more to me than perhaps the average person because of the problems I’ve had with body dysmorphic disorder, a fancy medical way of saying you just can’t see yourself rationally or the way others see you. For me, having a “middleman” of sorts, in this case, the camera, gives me a bit of a reality check. I was a bit awestruck by the photos because that’s just not the way I see myself.

Perhaps part of the beauty of Blum’s vision is his ability to not only turn the lens on the exterior landscape. He brings to the surface the subjects’ interior feelings, revealed not only to them but to us, too. It’s that beauty, which would otherwise be hidden.

Inspired by a post on Infinitta Decoração E Expressão‘s Facebook page.


Eco, trends, art, creativity and how they tumble through social media to shape culture fascinate EcoSalon columnist Dominique Pacheco. Her trends blog, mixingreality, speaks to these topics daily, and here at EcoSalon, she takes a weekly look at the intersection of eco and art. We call it heARTbeat.

Dominique Pacheco

Dominique Pacheco is the author of EcoSalon's weekly heARTbeat column.