Michael Thompson’s Red Nude series is taken from his 2011 book of the same title. The images comprise several photographs of the same female nude, lustrously coloured in still-wet red paint. The styling of the subject – the powerfully red shapes of the body shot against the bright white background – is such as to render the female figure almost abstract.
The book from which the images are drawn was inspired by an earlier Thompson monograph, Blue Torso, published in 1993. The more recent photographs were shot in New York City with a single model; and the resultant book published in a limited run of only 100 copies. The photographs represent a rare, radiant diversion from Thompson’s better-known role as one of the leading fashion, advertising and celebrity photographers of his generation.
‘I decided to use red paint because of its bold and powerful nature,’ says Thompson of the series. ‘The portrait session consisted of one model and took place in one day. After the day of photographing and observing the results, I was taken back by the beauty and how the different images played against each other in the most abstract way. The human body, having been painted and photographed for centuries, always amazes me.’