Saturday, November 4, 2017

Interview with nude photography author Nu Som

Private Dreams in Public Places

Born in Orleans, French photographer Nu Som has lived in NYC since 1995. She worked as an actress on stage and screen, eventually migrating behind the camera in search of broader ways to express her creative vision. Primarily self-taught, she has created a successful commercial career in print. She is known in the music world for capturing the feelings and stories behind the music of the artists she photographs. Her work has been featured and on the covers of numerous publications, and can be found at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in DC and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Her album art appears on multiple Grammy Award winning album covers. For more info, see:  

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
As I started my project, I had no idea it was going to be a book.  I had been taking photographs for years, sometimes just to capture beauty for its own sake and sometimes on assignment, but the day I shot the first photograph for what was to become Nudescapes, something happened, it was almost a perception shift. I had never before thought of shooting self-portraits, to me, master Cindy Sherman and a few others had explored every artistic possibilities and the only alternative was self-centered iPhone selfies that were already flooding social media, something I had no interest in participating in. 

But one morning, the light coming into my bedroom window was so beautiful, I had to capture it. I was alone, I grabbed my tripod, set the timer and slipped into the frame for the exact result I envisioned; it was an epiphany, I could use my own body to be the human subject in any scene. I started exploring with different light sources, compositions and situations and when I entered a public place, where people normally roamed and could appear at any point, the thrill of it took over. I was terrified and therefore exhilarated once I got the shot, it was such an adrenaline rush, I was hooked! I shot as much as I could and after a while started showing friends, wanting to share the peaceful beauty of the settings in contrast to the excitement of the process. Everyone I showed it to said “this should be a book” and so 7 years after the 1st image was created, voila!

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
It started as an exercise on privacy and what one can accomplish when unobserved, but I think it goes further, it explores and reflects on the human condition as a whole and our symbiotic relationship to our natural and created environments and cultures.  The book is definitely targeted towards art lovers and people who would let themselves dream away alternative realities and possibilities as well as want to reflect on where we are.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
I hope that people will realize that if you are afraid to do something you should do it and that you will come out stronger for it on the other side. I also hope it will highlight why we need to keep some privacy in our lives and should stop sharing every moment, every meal, every meeting with the rest of our virtual friends. Living for living, not sharing.  These experiences can only happen if I keep to myself and find a moment alone. Privacy has become a precious commodity. Finally, I hope it helps people see even more beauty in the world around them and make them care for it as much as they possibly can.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Dream, visualize, take photographs, write, share with others, put it out there. I think failure is either a step to steer you in the right direction or an idea just not quite followed all the way through.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing  industry is heading?
Well I have been reading primarily on Kindle for almost a decade now, so I think that is the future, I was an avid book reader before and never thought I would make the switch from paper, but being a traveler, once I got used to it and realized that I can carry hundreds of books with me at all times, I rarely ever read a paper book now. Of course that doesn’t apply to a book like mine, I think photography books are meant to stay on paper, their digital alternative, a slideshow, just doesn’t convey the weight of a printed image. But who knows, that could change as well, life is nothing but change.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
The whole project was a challenge that is why it was so much fun to do!
That being said, I don’t know if the biggest challenge was capturing private moments on Piazza San Marco in Venice or at the feet of Abe Lincoln in Washington DC or actually making the decision to share these very intimate experiences with the world. Once the adrenaline got going, it didn’t make things easier per se, but it almost turned my desire to get the next shot into a compulsion, so I think deciding to let the world witness it was a harder decision over all. 

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Because it is full of beauty and thoughtfulness and our crazy world is in major need of daily reminders of these things.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby

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