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I started making portraits of my close friends and family as a departure from the countless amounts of landscapes I was making of Northern Virginia at the time.

After roughly a year of making portraits in 35mm I discovered the works of Sally Mann, Emmet Gowin and Jock Sturges. At the same time I abandoned the 35mm camera as a tool and adopted the 8×10″ view camera.

I discovered after making a few nude portraits of friends that they seemed more comfortable nude then they were while clothed. Around then is when I started giving all of my subjects the option of being nude if they chose to be. More often then not, they choose to be nude.

Unlike so many nude photographs that get shown, my photographs are not about being nude. My photographs are about the people in the photograph. Without clothing, there is nothing for them to hide behind. There is nothing for them to be classified by. They are who they are. And that is beautiful.

Michael Barolet is a Northern Virginia and New York City based artist.