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  1. #1
    Christopher Nisperos's Avatar
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    "Artistic Pornography"

    Recently I was in a comic book store here in Paris, frequented by adult collectores and fans (comic books are a cult item here and in Belgian ... excellent stuff).

    Near the 'adult comics' section, I happened across a display of photography books, including one entitled, "Porn Art". Curious by the juxtaposition of terms in the title, I thumbed through the book and —jokes aside— I was really impressed by the quality of photography, regardless of the subject matter.

    "Hmm", I thought, " 'artistic pornography' ". The question came to mind:
    are the terms necessarily mutually exclusive? I mean, as a fan of Hollywood glamour portrait lighting, I've always maintained that the last real bastion of that genre is (or used to be —now that digital means have replaced traditional) Playboy magazine .. all the elements were there: large format, fresnel spots, retouching on the film, etc.

    As well, my friend Ed Fox comes to mind. For years he has created some beautiful images in the genre of fetish photography (women's feet). When he first told me about it years ago, I laughed. Then I saw some of his astonishing images and it shut me up. Ed's Art Center background hasn't gone to waste.

    Basically, my mind is made up on the question. I have no problem with the issue. However, I'm particularly interested though in hearing from those who feel that pornography cannot in anycase be considered artistic (agreeing, in advance, that are varying degrees of pornography).

    Best,

    Christopher
    Last edited by Christopher Nisperos; 11-03-2006 at 07:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    A very interesting subject. America has been trying to define "what is porn" for years. Phtrases ranging from" I can't explain it, but I know it when I see it" and "sexual imagery with no artistic or social merit" have been batted about, as well as a zillion other viewpoints and positions. In Utah, where I live, a poll was taken on the subject, and a measurable portion of the populace here consider Michelangelo's statue of David to be pornographic.
    That is an an extreme and unfathomably ignorant position, of course, but it exists, nontheless.

    What it illustrates is that the term "pornography", is subjective, and really doesn't mean anything specific. Something that has artistic value and relevance, can't be pornographic, by my way of thinking. It could be sexually graphic, obviously not approprate for children, or those with immature concepts regarding the human body(see above) But not porn. Thats my subjective opinion.

  3. #3
    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    Hi Jason,

    Regardless of the immigrants coming to the United States for Religious reasons (particularly early on) they also brought their opinions regarding sex, sexual practices and beliefs, etc. with them. So unfortunately even today in the US we have some rather Puritanical views on what is pornographic. As a result the US tends to have a more restrictive view than most of the rest of the world, particularly Europe on this issue.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  4. #4
    dmr
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    Not to start a war of the sexes here, I would like to speak freely.

    I do think this is also a question of semantics, as there are many perceptions of what is pornography and what is not pornography.

    There is erotic art, and then there is porn.

    Erotic art captures the intimacy of certain human experiences.

    Porn (the way I define the term) does not.

    I have a feeling you are talking about serious and legitimate erotic art and not what I and many others call pornography.

    The material I would call pornography, and yes, I've seen it, I'm a big girl and I've been around the block by myself, is crude and patently offensive -- that which triggers part of the "Miller Test" that we studied in Media Law.

    Speaking very freely, much of what I would call pornography is incredibly crude and demeaning. It's obviously produced by men, for men, for the purpose of arousal, period. There is no intimate artistry in this type of production. I'm sure everybody knows exactly what type of material I am referring to. (It's obvious that the producers of some of what I have seen have no {f-bomb}ing clue, pun intended, as to what intimacy really is.)

    Oh well, enough ranting. I really think we're on the same page as far as being able to appreciate erotic art. I think the hang-up is in defining what porn is, and I would say that if it has true artistic merit, it is not porn.

  5. #5
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    Something that has artistic value and relevance, can't be pornographic, by my way of thinking.
    Agreed. All we have to do now is determine WHAT is meant by "Having artistic value and relevance."

    What a slippery slope... What about the Etruscan murals, the murals on the Tantric Temples in India ... and the images on some of the Ancient Greek coins (ca. 500 BCE)?

    I remember a conversation between the Artist, Norman Lindsay, and the Minister, played by Hugh Grant, in the movie "Sirens":

    Minister: "we really would like to have you remove your paintings (from an Art Show in Australia). We feel they are terribly inappropriate."

    Lindsay: "Inappropriate? In what way?"

    M. "We feel that they would incite the people to mayhem and rape."

    L. "Did you see my work?"

    M. "Yes, and ..."

    L. "Migawd!! Who did you rape?"
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  6. #6
    jstraw's Avatar
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    NOT SAFE FOR WORK

    http://www.molly-web.com/

    Art or pornography or both? Food for thought.

  7. #7
    juan's Avatar
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    I've found that lots of folks equate nudity with pornography.
    juan

  8. #8
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I had a real live experience with someone's failure to distinguish between the two, right here on APUG. I posted an image of a solo male nude, with dramatic lighting, no signs of arousal anywhere in sight, and no sexual activity solo or otherwise transpiring in the image. Someone seeing it determined for themselves that "sodomy" was transpiring in this photo. It takes a rather fertile imagination to get from one flaccid penis to an act of penetration. But somehow this individual did.

  9. #9
    Bromo33333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    ... and a measurable portion of the populace here consider Michelangelo's statue of David to be pornographic.
    I was raised in Missouri in the Midwest ("Flyover region" for the coastal dwellers who haven't bothered with basic geography... :rolleyes: ) - and the place is very conservative:o . For that area, I think the following definition hits about 80-90% of the people living there:

    Pornography: Anything involving partial or full exposure of primary or the main part of secondary sexual organs under any context, or anything involving sexual acts (i.e. involving primary or secondary sexual organs, or WOULD involve them if you could make it out in the picture, statue or film) of any kind (such as a love scene in a movie, though passionate kissing alone won't qualify since I think lips would be tertiary in this case). Also any sexuality of any kind depicted between non heterosexuals.

    Caveat: This is NOT an intellectual definition meant to be argued over between Coastal types and "Flyover" types - it is meant to fence off an area of human activity and label it, pat each other on the back, and get on with life. It won't (and doesn't) stand up to a lot of scrutiny, and as politicians in the Midwest don't want to be seen as mideval, will end up when pressed blustering out the typical "I know it when I see it" answers - even though I doubt they really believe Michelangelo's David is not porn.

    I think that ought to do it.

    Even people who are from "Flyover" (even me) who think they are and try to be enlightened, will at least feel (inwardly) mild discomfort when exposed to that sort of thing, even if it is meant to be artistic or "erotic" or whatever. It has been internalized - and is not an intellectual process. I suppose this is appropriate, since sexuality itself is not an intellectual process (how's THAT for rationalization! )

    Since many other types won't have been raised with the above definition, and many have - I can see how there may be "debate" about it ....

    [Now if this doesn't kill the thread ... I don't know what will! ]
    B & D
    Rochester, NY
    ========================
    Quiquid Latine dictum sit altum viditur

  10. #10
    Bromo33333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    I had a real live experience with someone's failure to distinguish between the two, right here on APUG. I posted an image of a solo male nude, with dramatic lighting, no signs of arousal anywhere in sight, and no sexual activity solo or otherwise transpiring in the image. Someone seeing it determined for themselves that "sodomy" was transpiring in this photo. It takes a rather fertile imagination to get from one flaccid penis to an act of penetration. But somehow this individual did.
    I you see my definition of "Porn" as I grew up with in Missouri - the depiction of a primary sexual organ might have done it. Not sure where sodomy came in - but perhaps the definition needs to expand to any depiction of males in any sexual way might be considered homoerotic...?
    B & D
    Rochester, NY
    ========================
    Quiquid Latine dictum sit altum viditur

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