Monday, October 24, 2011

By the wonderful Jeff Wack.

I'd have put this in my portfolio already, but my membership expired again. Beautiful, though, isn't it? :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Artistic vs. Sexual Objectification vs. Human Experience (NSFW)

I've decided to address my perceptions of sex and objectification. Photographer's comment:
Its not all "objectification" or inherently negative. I appreciate flowers, landscapes, babies and much of creation in a deep sense. Albeit mostly carried to perverted/distorted degrees. Eroticism is in the eye of the beholder, not the beholden. 
I'm a radical feminist. But as I mentioned previously, I'm a sex-positive one. Sex shouldn't carry the double standards it does. Sex shouldn't be "biologically" acceptable for one end of the sex spectrum (males) and not the other. It shouldn't hold the stigma it does. It shouldn't garner more disrespect for women engaging in sexual expression than it would for men. However...

The way I want to perceived, as mentioned, is beyond my control. And yet, why shouldn't I, the beheld, object to how you're perceiving me if I find it incorrect? I'm not a publicly sexual creature. If I want to portray a feeling of "sexy," I will hunt down a bad-ass photographer and do so - which you'll have probably seen, if you're coming from my portfolio. If I'm walking down the street, minding my own business, and someone approaches me in a way I don't appreciate, chances are I'll respond negatively (or do my best to ignore them). If I didn't take part in this artistic process to please anyone in an erotic sense, I should damn well be able to say so. Whether it changes your opinion or not is another thing. But if it misrepresents my work on my own page - and on a list page, because I'm surrounded by the spreads legs of women that are deliberately intending to garner an erotic perception - I'd like to add my two cents. And I certainly don't appreciate being pretty much told, as I hear it constantly, to just sit back and be something to look at since I have no control anyway.

So, I do agree with most of this comment. Not all objectification is inherently negative. Not all sexual expression is inherently negative. I say this in regards to the fact that many times a month, I allow people to artistically objectify me in exchange for monetary compensation. It's odd how many times I flinch hearing "the nose," or "the ear" come from an instructor's mouth. It's my nose. And my ear. But I know the process artists must undergo to capture such images. And I doubt they're capturing the life of the model as much as they're capturing their own. Either way. I've always considered the difference between erotica and pornography to be the fact that subjects retain their personhood in the former, while lose it to play a more primal role in the latter. Erotica, in a sense, is  thus less objectifying than fine art. And no one seems to care to explain just why it's such a tradition to capture and embrace the nude form in the art community... the  appreciation is more often taught than acquired from a naturalist point of view. So come on. It had to have originated in eroticism, not just practical anatomy - look at who dominated the production of classical figure work.

While I shouldn't be so offended by the term "erotic" after my above discussion, I cringe in its use in describing my intended figurative work. I'm one who also finds beauty in the nude human form, and I'm able to compartmentalize whatever sexual response I might have. But I don't know if I'm just really good at it, or it just takes a lot to garner a physical/emotional response as far as my eros goes - because I rarely have a problem. Even before I was taught to appreciate the human figure (after graduating from Catholic school), nudity and nakedness didn't ever cause me to respond in such a way. If anything, it used to horrify me. (Another story for the books.)

To say anything highlighting the body, and not the person, is anything remotely... Hell, is it really erotic? It could be figurative, glamour, or pornographic. Sensual, one might say to my image in question. And sensual is something sensually engaging, as is sex. But groan to rhetoric. I'd much prefer to make sensual work than erotic. But you'd be surprised there are several photographers that change my opinion of that... and I may highlight them later.

I'd prefer instead to share some of my favorite artfully-shot pubic subjects on MM: