Fashion Photographer David Paul Larson Develops Nude Series

By Jacqui Palumbo

David Paul Larson is an emerging fashion photographer with a taste for high fashion and high-impact beauty shots, a Marine Corps Veteran who found success and solace in photography after an accident left him honorably discharged at 19. He is a gentleman at heart, charming but humble, with a four-year track record of spending his Thanksgivings in soup kitchens in New York City. 

Larson has been a professional, full-time photographer for the past three years. He cut his teeth by assisting Norman Jean Roy, Mark Seliger, and Mario Testino after he graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, where he double majored in photography and advertising because he “wanted to be able to talk to his clients as both as a peer and an artist.”

Since his first year at Columbia, Larson has had an interest in nude photography. He has developed various series alongside his fashion work, incorporating the same elements and stylistic approach, but in a more intimate setting. He uses film and keeps the images fairly raw, using a combination of natural and fill lighting in his Brooklyn studio. He rarely has a beauty or styling team present during nude shoots, explaining, “I want the work to express intimacy and vulnerability. I feel that models are more comfortable and trusting when they don't have an audience.”

Larson wants to show the women he photographs in a soft, timeless manner, eschewing the racy, flash-heavy approach to nudes that is prevalent in the fashion industry today. “I strive to have an element of tension,” he says. “I am interested in themes of intimacy, voyeurism and innocence.” He looks to the myriad of ways the nude has been portrayed throughout art history, as well as to his network of dancer friends from the Joffrey Ballet School in Chicago.  “To this day, I am inspired by their poses and movements,” he says.

His series has gained traction through social media and word of mouth, and Larson finds more and more models seeking him out to be photographed. “Many of the models I work with are friends with someone I have photographed already,” he says. “They hear about my work and contact me.” His Instagram is filled with the models he photographs for professional and personal work, holding up his “I was photographed by David Paul Larson” promotional stickers, and he promotes them as much as he does himself across his social media platforms.

Now, with a prolific portfolio from his nude series, he is currently planning a solo exhibition for 2014. 

To check out more from David Paul Larson, visit his website. You can also follow him on Instagram.


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