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PORN vs ART

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Dec 09

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Why This Episode is Important

Guy With Camera – Stop trying to get girls to take their clothes off. What you are doing is bad for photography as a whole. Another poorly lit image of a girl with her butt out is not going to change to world.

What You Will Learn

  • 0:30 – Updates & Announcements
  • 0:50 – Your Phlearn idea made into an episode
  • 1:20 – Phlearn PRO Step-by-Step
  • 2:00 – Help Portrait This Weekend!
  • 3:30 – Phlearn releases NEW LOGO – Designed by Brian Fisher
  • 4:30 – Why we are talking about Pornography VS Photography
  • 5:00 – Stirring up the hornet’s nest
  • 5:40 – What is good taste? My definition
  • 6:30 – Why experience is important
  • 7:20 – REASON – Why is there a naked person?
  • 8:00 – Where do you draw the line?
  • 8:30 – Post great examples on Phlearn
  • 9:15 – My Overall guide to acceptable
  • 10:00 – Why this episode is important

Taste, Experience, and Reason

If an image isn’t created with all 3, saying it is art gets pretty tough. There are exceptions to everything, and my word is not law.

I have learned that without experience, even a well intentioned person can really mess something up. If I were to start taking apart my car with the intention of fixing it, I would probably be making a huge mistake.

Taste is a really tough one. It is hard to learn and even harder to teach. Some people have it, some don’t. When in doubt, ask me, I will tell you the truth.

Reason. Why are there boobs? Other than the fact that they are god’s gift to the world?

Just Remember

Where do YOU draw the line?

Let the Phamily know what you find acceptable, and what crosses into pornography. If you have examples of great photography containing nudes, post them here on Phlearn and we can debate over their validity. Don’t post PORN here. You really don’t want to be “That Guy”….

My Nude Photography

I have photographed nudes. I have even been nude in a photo. If there is anyone who would call my work pornography, they would have a VERY hard time defending that statement. I am not opposed to nudity in any way. I just think that pornography should be labeled as such.

  • http://www.thisisbrianfisher.com/ Brian Fisher

    thanks Daniel!

  • Anonymous

    yeah…what you said. My 13yo son assumed I would find all nudity disgusting and then said, “But I’m *here* so I guess that’s not true.” lol… I don’t want my kids to think that our bodies are gross. But to look at only the body, as though a person has no other value, is heartbreaking to me.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeniholland02 Jeni

    I kind of view birth photography with a sense of envy because I had two c-sections. The body is an amazing thing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindy.melendez Lindy Melendez

    I am so glad you covered this subject. I am disgusted my the amount of local “Photographers” giving those actually trying to me a respectful carrier out of this a bad wrap I went to a workshop in Tampa and never returns because of what I saw. GWC’s with pop up flashes acting like photogs just to be around,touch and get females nude.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kt1293 Erik Christian Spear
  • http://www.cap-photography.com Andrea Peipe

    I saw the Phlearn Pro tutorial on the newsletter and immediately wanted to buy it! So I did :D  
    It looks really really really great and I cannot wait to get some time to watch it! 

    To me, sometimes it really is in the eye of the viewer if a photo is considered pornography or photography. Often enough I have taken harmless shots where you could maybe see the curve of a breast and guys are like drooling over it! And I find that really sad and annoying because showing a bit of skin can sometimes add so much to a photo and should not be considered porno just because of that!

    Personally, I do not mind seeing nudes at all but they have to be tasteful (and that of course depends on your personal opinion!) But you are right, if you can see genitalia, that can be a bit… not artsy ;)  

    I was recently introduced to the work of Bettina Rheims (http://blogs.artinfo.com/museumviews/2010/10/15/in-conversation-with-bettina-rheims-part-ii/). Not sure if you know her but she has some amazing nudes out there! They are definitely art! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/CatherineRockhold Kate Rockhold

    “If you can see someone’s genitalia, it’s very very very hard to have it cross into the art line”
    Wow. I totally, 100% disagree.
    What about Nobuyoshi Araki? He dances on the line of porn vs. art, and he is by far one of the best artists of today. His work is often nude, and deals with bondage. If you read about why he does this to women’s bodies, it does not say it’s because of the sexual connotation of bondage, but rather because it is impossible to tie down a woman’s heart to you. HIs work deals with his personal struggles about the premature death of his wife.

    What about Francesca Woodman? She uses the female body in a distorted way, all of her photographs are nude, but they are by far not pornographic. She, like Araki, deals with death and the beauty of the “ugly” in the female body.

    Need I even mention Robert Mapplethorpe? An excellent photographer of “genitalia”, and I would not consider his work to be porn in the least.

    What about Sally Mann? She’s quite interesting, since she’s cause a lot of controversy photographing her children naked.

    Naked bodies, even of straight up crotch shots, should not be deemed inappropriate. The naked body is a  beautiful thing, and it should not be censored or labeled. Just because there’s work that deals with sex and naked bodies, does not mean it’s porn.

    I think when it comes down to it, what differentiates porn from art is purpose (similar to your “reason”). There are photographs that I consider to be art that are sexual, and a turn on for most people. But it’s still art. Because the photographs sole purpose isn’t to be porn. It isn’t cheap. It’s well thought out, and it’s beautiful. It’s art.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CatherineRockhold Kate Rockhold

    “If you can see someone’s genitalia, it’s very very very hard to have it cross into the art line”
    Wow. I totally, 100% disagree.
    What about Nobuyoshi Araki? He dances on the line of porn vs. art, and he is by far one of the best artists of today. His work is often nude, and deals with bondage. If you read about why he does this to women’s bodies, it does not say it’s because of the sexual connotation of bondage, but rather because it is impossible to tie down a woman’s heart to you. HIs work deals with his personal struggles about the premature death of his wife.

    What about Francesca Woodman? She uses the female body in a distorted way, all of her photographs are nude, but they are by far not pornographic. She, like Araki, deals with death and the beauty of the “ugly” in the female body.

    Need I even mention Robert Mapplethorp? An excellent photographer of “genitalia”, and I would not consider his work to be porn in the least.

    What about Sally Mann? She’s quite interesting, since she’s cause a lot of controversy photographing her children naked.

    Naked bodies, even of straight up crotch shots, should not be deemed inappropriate or porn. The naked body is a  beautiful thing, and it should not be censored or labeled.

    I think when it comes down to it, what differentiates porn from art is purpose (similar to your “reason”). There are photographs that I consider to be art that are sexual, and a turn on for most people. But it’s still art. Because the photographs sole purpose isn’t to be porn. It isn’t cheap. It’s well thought out, and it’s beautiful. It’s art.

  • Anonymous

    I actually shoot probably more nudes than clothed images; ironically, I would say that my clothed images tend to be snapshottie and my nudes art.

    For me, the goal of human photography is digging to the core of a person, and with that comes the revelation of a coveted self.  The vulnerable, strong, fragile, dangerous..  Art should evoke a reaction, push boundaries.  It should be extraordinary.  Some photographers are great at finding the spark of life in mundane things we’ve stopped seeing, others at challenging our assumptions about what we should see or think about, or acknowledge within ourselves.  For me, often nudity is simply the most honest statement…like all of the barriers and posturing have been cleared away.

    I also truly think that a great way for a photographer to grow is to shoot nudes… You learn much more quickly about lighting, angle of camera, focus, pose, etc, with a subject matter that really is just not altogether forgiving.  ….But to your point about 500 hours of experience….perhaps the difference is that this early learning is not for sharing, any more than a painter’s first childish sketches should be called art.

    It is worth noting that I shoot mainly self portraiture, and do not often share nudes I’ve taken of other people; I think it’s easy to treat myself with respect as the subject when I have a concept to portray; but I agree that there is a plague of amateur “photographers” who use their cameras to exploit would-be models…and they may not even really understand that they are doing that.

    Often the line comes in the choices in the lighting and the colour, and these do come with time, and experience.  A
    black and white focused on shadow and light is more easily able to
    portray the human form without seeming exploitative; colour can be too
    close to real, and the same image processed a different way can seem to
    hand you a person’s body on a platter.  Likewise, the choice to include
    genitals or faces.  I wouldn’t say that including genitals inherently
    crosses the line, but in an image with both genitals and face, you’re
    humanizing and sexualizing at the same time, in this way that makes it
    more likely to evoke a fantasy.

  • http://twitter.com/Deutscher Chris Deutscher
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=815997924 Mike Fendt

    Love your post buddy and i also love the image as well, But I would not call your image Porn, its art baby. 

    I think the difference between porn and art is Art you can admire the body and look deeply into the image and get the feeling of Beauty were a pornographic photo is created purely to get hard and wanting to do naughty thing to the person in the image.( sorry for the crudeness.) 
    Great stuff I would love to see more of your work. 
    Regards 
    Mike. 
     

  • Safeashouses

    “Guy With Camera – Stop trying to get girls to take their clothes off” do you tell that to all the painters out there too? are you really “above” shooting nudes or are yours just well done, you know… no butts sticking out. The Art v porn thing is really boring and your glib post has not raised the bar. Please retying your argument. Taste has nothing to do with porn. I’m starting to thing that you’re making this up as you go along. 10,000 hours? Really? Did you read that somewhere? Really… Where?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1001443864 Raven Red-Photography

    http://ravenredphoto.tumblr.com/
    I photograph nudes…. you can find more on my tumblr. I would like to think they are art.

  • http://www.SafariStudioAdventures.com/ Barnia Scruggs

    I just joined the Phamily and am now just catching up on past episodes, so I apologize for the late response to this discussion. I appreciate Phlearn taking up this discussion.
    Years ago one of the first photography jobs was for a glamour/boudoir studio and I got that job due to my portfolio of hand drawn figure sketches (all clothed) and not because of my camera/photography experience. I quickly found the sleezy photographers that you mentioned, Aaron. There were photographers who would make wagers on how fast they could get the client naked. Of course, I was surprised at the client, also, by how far they seemed to be willing to go. Those photographers never stayed for long.
    I was always inspired by artwork; Steve Hanks watercolors for detail and color, Patrick Nagel’s illustrations for simplicity of line and form, Maxfield Parrish for his painted figures in natural settings and Gian Lorenzo Bernini for classical ultra-realism in his sculpture. Yet, each to some may (and do) have erotic overtones or undertones to their work.

    Hanks’ works almost always includes a nude or semi-nude female, some showing genitalia. Nagel’s works were displayed in Playboy, though some are innocent, many are erotic. Parrish’s “Daybreak” is a favorite of mine, a painting of two young girls, one clothed, the other fully naked, apparently playing among the gardens and columns of a temple in the early dawn. Is it the mindset one has upon viewing such works that makes the work questionable?

    The erotic factor is especially evident with Bernini’s “The Ecstasy of St. Teresa”. The work portrays a smiling angel/satyr plunging or removing an arrow/dart from St. Teresa who seems to be moaning in delight, seemingly weak from the experience. But, St.Teresa is fully clothed in this sculpture. Many have mentioned the “arousal” factor in this discussion, could this sculpture, even though fully clothed, be considered pornographic?

    I have to agree that the sexual arousal tone of images would make them questionably pornographic. But, maybe clothing (or absence of such) is not the issue.

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