In August of 2014 Ben McGee was invited by The Crazy Horse Revue to photograph the Miss Nude Australia pageant. Ben understood the privileged opportunity he was given to occupy such an intimate space with his camera. Ben’s genuine curiosity and regard for his subjects and their story resulted in him being afforded access by management on the night to the backstage areas and change rooms.
For Ben, the showbiz, beauty and eroticism was one part of the story, but it was ultimately about photographing the relationships between the dancers and their audience. These are some of McGee’s most interesting observations as potential rivalries give way to visible bonding.
Consciously rendering the surreal nature of what he saw in rich, deep tones of black and white, Ben McGee presents a timely and surprising idea: despite bleak, Biblical portrayals of naked as evil, coupled with today's commercialism of female nudity, the female aesthetic’s durable power remains intact. As broadly as eroticism might be presented to the Miss Nude Australia pageant’s enthusiastic, mostly respectful male audiences, residual mystery survives, despite the explicit nature of some performances.
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