“That scantily clad image of Giulia has got me thinking,” The Professor said.
“What doesn’t?” I asked, grinning.
“You have a point, lad. But then that’s what the University pays me for, isn’t it?”
“Indeed it is. So go on.”
“There is, as you well know, a great difference between nude and naked.”
“John Berger says, ‘The nude is condemned to never being naked.’”
“Ha! That’s a good one.”
“He means that being naked is to be undisguised. A nude, by contrast, assumes many forms.”
“By the hand of the artist, of course.”
“Right. And I’m thinking of that nude study you did of Vittoria, that small silver-framed picture you have near your desk?”
“Now, feminist critics would quickly fault such an image on the grounds that—like most nudes in western art—it does not render the woman as a whole person.”
“But showing only a portion or a detail of her body does not diminish Vittoria.”
“Exactly. And what’s more it meets Kenneth Clark’s definition. The image is not huddled and defenseless, as in naked, but rather balanced, prosperous and confident. As he put it, ‘the body reformed.’”
When I got home I looked at the photo, and recalled the day I took it.
We had just made love, and I was dozing. After a few moments I heard a most familiar mechanical noise. I rose on my elbow. Vittoria had my Nikon to her face.
“Click-whirr,” Nikon said.
I pulled the sheet up to my chin. “Whoa,” I said.
“Come on, don’t be bashful,” Vittoria said, laughing.
“I’m the one who takes the pictures around here.”
“Nope. Now, get rid of the sheet.”
I complied. She took pictures until she used up the entire roll.
“Give me more film,” she said.
I reloaded the camera and allowed her to resume shooting.
Finally she said, “Okay. I’m through taking pictures now. Lets make love.”
“All right. But first I need to take a few shots. Turnabout is fair play.”
“I don’t want anyone to see me naked.”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “Nobody will ever see you naked.”