Photographer Nadav Kander's nudes have power to shock

Kander's superb nudes showcase the vulnerability and mystery of the human form

LAST UPDATED AT 08:50 ON Wed 16 Jan 2013

What you need to know
An exhibition of nudes, Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man, by the renowned documentary photographer Nadav Kander has opened at Flowers Gallery, London. Israeli-born, London-based Kander is best known for his portraits, including President Barack Obama for Time's 2012 Person of the Year issue. He also won the National Pictet award in 2009 for his work Yangtze – The Long River.

In this series Kander photographed naked bodies, coated in marble dust and shot in a darkened studio, to allude to classical statues and religious iconography. The exhibition runs until 9 February.

What the critics like
In these "stunning" photographic portraits, Kander's mostly red-headed, voluptuous models resist the prevailing body fascism, says Zoe Pilger  in The Independent. They are reverentially lit and have an "unnerving stone-like serenity".

Each body is meticulously positioned, as if by a modern dance director, says Sue Steward in the Evening Standard. One female model has snakey tendrils of red hair like Botticelli's Venus. "The beauty of these images is their unashamed normality in comparison with so many nude photographs".

This is photography as theatre, engaging the viewer from the very first glance, says Jamie Merrick on The Upcoming. It's "superbly
executed work, showcasing the vulnerability and mystery of the human form".

What they don't like
Critics have almost nothing negative to say about Kander's work. Jonathan Jones in The Guardian notes that nudity never loses its power to shock, and Nadav Kander's latest images are no exception. Kander's works are beguiling, says Jones, but by making his models imitate deathly statues, he creates "a necrophile allure". · 

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