Tel Aviv-based illustrator Sara Laimon – also known online as Cookie Moon – has found a modern take on nude paintings by turning naked selfies into works of art that give agency back to the subject.
Comprising 16 illustrations, Cookie's Send Nudes series takes photos submitted by users and reworks them into stunning digital paintings. Depicting real women snapping themselves in the mirror on their phone, these images contain telling details about the subject due to their choice of composition and the surrounding details they have decided to leave in the shot.
It's a revolutionary approach to the age-old practice of painting nude subjects, and one that finally allows the model to portray themselves how they would like to be seen. After all, thanks to camera phones, poses can be instantly reviewed and discarded until the perfect picture is taken.
Cookie explains that the series occurred when she lived in a different country from her boyfriend. "I loved sending him nudes in the middle of the day," she tells Creative Boom. "I had a few photos I liked, and I thought I might try to illustrate one. When I liked what came out, I wanted to illustrate various bodies and asked my friends for their nudes."
It was a request they were happy to oblige. Cookie was soon sent more photos, and it is these real images that her illustrations are built on. "I asked friends and also girls and women I didn't know to send me their nude selfies," she adds. "It was important to me that it was a photo they liked of themselves and that they felt beautiful."
As well as being a way to keep passion alive during a long-distance relationship, Cookie argues that her illustrations are a contemporary and novel iteration of nude paintings. "The main difference is that the model took the picture herself. I feel this is a very empowering moment for the woman and puts her in control.
"The series raises questions of who the photo was taken for, or if the woman took it for herself just to celebrate her beauty."
Cookie adds that her favourite parts of the series are the locations where the pictures are set. These include poster-clad bedrooms, sinks in bathroom toilets and the classic shower mirror surrounded by soap and plants. According to the artist, these all help to tell the whole story about the women themselves.
"It adds another layer to the intimacy between the woman and the viewer or receiver of the photo," she explains. "My favourite pieces are the ones with more distinct locations."
The series took a year to complete, and Cookie teases that there are more details to come about a possible release or exhibition. Send Nudes isn't over and done with yet, though. In fact, Cookie needs help with the biggest challenge facing the project: submissions from women.
"If you are reading this and would like to participate in the project, please feel free to contact me," she tells Creative Boom readers. And you can do exactly that by emailing her via her [website] or reaching out to her on Instagram.