My name is Brian Cattelle and I want to welcome you to my black and white photography project BARE USA. BARE USA is a nationwide fine art photography project that delves into the study* of natural beauty in contrast with man-made decay. This contrast is explored by photographing nude art models in abandoned locations nationwide.
My goal has been to photograph one model in one location in each of the 50 United States. Over the course of the past few years, I achieved that goal giving me a huge catalog of images. In doing so I have now published a digital and hardcover book on the entire black and white photography collection. I have currently released a number of fine art images available to purchase now! Click here to get the book.
I set out to make art, to create something beautiful where there once was nothing, to produce new compelling images that spark the spirit of adventure, to ignite the imagination and to evoke emotion.
I love the excitement that comes from exploring and photographing forbidden landscapes of decay and I want to share that. These crumbling structures create compositions that are difficult to find anywhere else. There’s also something quite compelling and inherently beautiful about the natural shapes of the female form. I’m not talking about the false ideas we have been force-fed through popular media. I’m talking about real women, as they are, as they’re meant to be, naturally beautiful in every way. Right from the start, I have loved everything about this project.
On a personal level, I aimed to challenge my discomfort with nudity, the presence of it, photographing it and discussing it. Nudity is natural and I want to show that it’s safe to embrace it. I wanted to tell interesting stories about people and places across the United States in a unique way.
I’m was also curious to see if it’s even possible to create a tasteful black and white photography book consisting entirely of nude women in abandoned places, taking a seemingly taboo even cliché subject and approaching it with a totally new perspective.
There were many challenges along this journey; one being that I’m not the first to take black and white photographs of nude women in abandoned places, but I am the first to do so on such a large scale. What’s more is that the focus isn’t just on the models but often on the locations themselves. This creates compositions that often blend the models into the surrounding environments. As a result, the audience often has to explore the photos before they realize there’s a nude figure there. Not all photos are of this nature as this is ultimately a study and thus a learning process. In the spirit of variety, the focus can differ from image to image but the end goal of the project as a whole is ultimately the same.
* Study 1: the devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic subject. 2: a detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation. Click here to see official definition