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Tub Time With Tate

From Issue 01, here is our Q+A with Louisiana native & photographer Tate Tullier

Q: What inspired you to start the Tub Time With Tate project?

A: “I grew up in a bathtub basically. Mom used to have a hot bath ready and waiting for me when I would wake up in the mornings before school. I just love the sanctuary that a tub is to me—you can just lay there, think about things, dream, ponder on life, feel things, not feel things and many other various things. Six or so years ago, I took a selfie of myself in the bathtub and jokingly hashtagged: #tubtimewithtate. Somehow that stuck, and people started expressing interest in wanting to hop in a tub for me.”

Q: What does the photo project mean to you?

A: “It means a lot to me. I understand it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay with me. For me, it’s been a way to put a focus on my fine art dreams. I work professionally as a photographer doing weddings, families, seniors and pretty much what I call “money jobs”. I have enjoyed doing them for years and working with my wonderful clients to get them captured memories, but I’ve always gravitated towards imagery involving nudes—and once my Tub Time With Tate started getting more official, I found myself appreciating the art form of photography once again like I did when I first started out as a young teen. It has definitely evolved into something bigger than I ever thought it’d be over the last five years of shooting it—but it makes me so happy that I have a specific audience who enjoys the fine art I create via the TTWT series.”

Q: What do you look for in your subjects?

A: “I’m always looking for subjects who genuinely enjoy the work I create. I do not have a specific set of criteria other than you must be naked and open to being possibly vulnerable. You are being part of a creation that the world will eventually see. That itself can be scary to one who isn’t in front of the camera much, much less naked. 

A: "At the beginning, I started out allowing people to leave underwear on—but after a year or so, it just wasn’t “authentic” enough because the subject wasn’t really 100 percent opening themselves to me and my vision. That is definitely on me though, I should have been strong enough to say, if you’re not comfortable in being naked and vulnerable, then it wasn’t an art process they should be part of. Those who left their underwear on are part of my journey, and how I saw the series evolve for the better. A major part of that is putting their trust in me and what I’ve created.”

Q: In what ways do you think this series can help shed a light on sexuality and self-identity?

A: “First and foremost, I always hope the subject I shoot really enjoys the actual process of being in front of my camera, which I know can be daunting for those who aren’t used to doing that sort of thing. I aim to gather a more diverse array of gender, race and body type. I go back and forth about how to describe the series because it’s evolving so much day by day. 

I have definitely shot more men than women for the series, and a high percentage of them are gay with “the perfect body”. That is perfectly fine with me—but definitely not my goal—for it to become branded as just that. It’s a human study, and I welcome all types. I welcome all viewers to look at the Tub Time With Tate art series as something to appreciate the nude body as an art form. I often won’t turn down anyone who wants to join the series, it’s just a matter of making it happen with scheduling and timing. "

A: "Nudity in art is often a controversial subject, which I always thought was so odd. I think it’s such a beautiful way to add a layer to our country who puts more acceptance in violence over a nude body. Body positivity is one thing I’m working on my own self not having “that perfect body.” To challenge myself I’ve done a shoot for another artist in my underwear. I have plans to collaborate with a few more in NYC where we have a second place to live. I’m a big believer in supporting an artist, and if I expect people to support me—I need to make myself vulnerable to what they create, even it includes me in the nude. I want to be part of the change where nudity in America becomes something celebrated, not hidden or shamed.”

Thank you so much for your continuing involvement, love and support Tate!