Monday, April 14, 2014

Hand Me A Towel, Please

Taking more advantage of the gorgeous light in this bathroom.

One of the things you have to balance, as a model, when you're posing, is the naturalness of the pose. I learned early on as a self-portrait artist that a person's natural stances are not necessarily always the most aesthetic and flattering. I find, for example, the arch of the foot to be aesthetically pleasing, but to really showcase it in a standing position, you have to raise the heel, and that's not so often a perfectly natural position (I presume that much the same argument can be made about high heeled shoes). The midsection, also, often looks much more flattering with the belly sucked in and the torso stretched out (arched back, etc.).

All that having been said, there is a danger of going too far, trying too hard, which may in fact result in an aesthetic image from a purely technical standpoint, but could produce the impression in the viewer that the model's position is forced and unnatural. Now, this may be more or less of a problem depending on what kind of image you're trying to produce (and what kind of reaction you want). Whereas some figure artists may be concerned more with the shape of the body and the light falling on it, I've always been more of a portrait artist, in that I want to take pictures of people, and not just bodies.

Moreover, I've been thinking lately that my approach to erotic art is one that puts more emphasis on context than just what is exposed in the image. For example, a person stepping out of the shower, a person cooking breakfast in the nude, a person masturbating in front of a computer; the situation is as important as the figure in the image, and I think that that triggers a more psychological involvement and arousal in the viewer than simply an exposed body on display. So when it comes time for me to grab my camera, I like to think not just about "where is the light and what does the figure look like", but also, "what place am I shooting and what kind of potentially erotic situations could occur there?"

Oh, excuse me. I thought I just heard a knock at the door...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Let Desire Point The Way

No April Fools pranks here. Just the erotic art you've come to expect.

And I did up the first image in rainbow colors, just for fun.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Initiation

Lighting is spotty in this apartment. It looks gorgeous in front of the windows, but then you have these dark corners. I put a large mirror against the wall to reflect the light and shine it into one of those corners (where the bed is strategically placed). I didn't think there'd be enough light to get a decent picture, but look how it turned out. Surprisingly bright, and very clean and white.

I was in a picture-taking mood, and started wondering about a thing that's been on my mind. Namely, how does one go about shooting a subject that is blatantly and explicitly pornographic, in a way that makes it "artistic", and maybe even beautiful? I'm not sure if I succeeded this time around, but I am very happy with the result either way.

Basically, I came to the conclusion that it would depend primarily on the light used (hence my acrobatics with mirrors). This light may be a little too harsh, and not dynamic enough for a truly "artistic" portrait - it even looks kinda flash-y, though a bit prettier than your typical head-on flash.

But where an amateur pornographer would only be concerned with exposing the subject and getting the audience's blood pumping, I, as an artist - in addition to those goals - am concerned with posing my model in an aesthetically pleasing way that is as flattering as possible.

Success or failure is ultimately going to be a matter of subjective opinion. Obviously, there are some who would curl their nose at the most artistic depiction of human sexuality, and others who think the raw act is the very definition of beauty itself. Me? I'm content to produce an image that I think covers both goals of being aesthetic and erotic. That's what separates me from the non-erotic artists and the non-artistic pornographers.

And I'm not concerned, either way, with whether my art is suggestive or whether it is explicit. There are merits to both approaches, and I see no reason why an artist should limit himself to one or the other. "Going all the way", so to speak, does not prohibit one from continuing to appreciate subtlety. It's not quite like tasting the apple and being expelled from the garden. I see it as more of a revolving door.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Visual Lesson

So I'm still in the process of posting some of my images on deviantART, and gathering fans. I'll be honest, there's a lot to dislike about deviantART, and a significant subset of the community is one of them. But there are also good people on there, and they're less restrictive on the posting of erotic (although not "pornographic") art than a lot of sites that won't even allow the posting of nudes. But it's inevitable that I will find myself frequently frustrated by the rules they do have in place. I'm not gonna go all into that here, but I did want to show an example of some of my underlying thoughts on the issues involved.

I was looking through some of my old photos, picking out ones I want to post on dA, and I came to this one set that I've always really liked. It's a very tasteful and artistic set, with some beautiful lighting emphasizing the pale glow of my skin, while I strike some erotic and/or statuesque poses in the kitchen. Some of them I'll be able to post. Others I will not, because, in them, my penis is in a state of partial or full arousal. I get why the full arousal pics won't be allowed on deviantART, but with the semi-arousal pics, it kind of emphasizes how much of a shame it is, that I can't post this beautiful, artistic image, which isn't even very in-your-face sexual, all because of a technicality based on human anatomy. What really strikes me as ironic is that there's this other picture in the set, which I feel is a lot more in-your-face sexual, and yet it violates none of dA's rules. Take a look:

Beautiful Art

Suggestive Erotica

Maybe I'm just strange. Maybe I have warped perceptions. It's entirely possible. But even though the first image involves the male organ in a state of mid-arousal, it doesn't quite scream "sex" to me as much as the second image, which despite not showing any of the physiological changes that accompany sexual arousal, nevertheless involves a pose that is very suggestive of receptive intercourse. Now, I'm not saying I would call either one "pornography", necessarily, and it's not as though the first image doesn't suggest sex to me at all. Maybe it's because I view the tumescence of the male organ as more of a physiological change, a demonstration of anatomy, moreso than sexual intercourse.

It seems kind of strange to me, if the view of a penis by itself is not restricted, that its allowance should depend on its physiological state. I know people associate erections with sexual intercourse, and there is probably no more obvious sign of sexual arousal in the human male or female - and they're not wrong to do so. But isn't there more to it than that? Maybe it's because I'm a highly sensual person, and that I can become aroused very easily, not always due to blatantly sexual triggers? If I should be enjoying myself, in the nude, and taking pleasure from the tactile sensations of the world around me, and if I should happen to become erect as a result, why should that be assumed to be a change of state from "pure and non-sexual" to "raging pervert, lock up your daughters"?

I guess I do just have different standards. And I fear the prevailing mentality is the result of stereotypical male behavior, which poisons the well for us more gentle, sensual creatures.

Here's another irony, that I've been wanting an opportunity to point out, that relates to dA's rules on what is and is not permitted. It wouldn't be practical (and isn't really in the mission statement) for the staff at dA to enact a quality control gateway restricting the uploading of images on their website. So, even though the members often complain of poor quality images ruining the site's image as an "artiste website" (I say that with derision in my voice, aimed not at true artists, but at those pretentious lot who are concerned more with image than substance - many of which are, ironically, poor quality artists themselves - go figure), the fact is that bad art is welcome on the site as much as good art.

Which just makes it all the more frustrating when members argue about the allowance or restriction of porn on the site via the argument that it couldn't possibly be artistic. 1) an image doesn't have to be "artistic" (i.e., good, or tasteful) to be allowed on deviantART, and 2) pornography is restricted due mainly to laws about minors (the participation of which the site allows) being exposed to it, and not due to questions of taste or decorum. I'd love to have the opportunity to prove to all these naive whiners that pornography CAN be beautiful and artistic, and even, in my opinion, tasteful (although I wonder how other people define the word "tasteful", because to me, it's not what you can see that determines a piece's tastefulness, but rather in how it's presented - it seems that a lot of people can't imagine the possibility that a depiction of human sexuality could be anything but tasteless; poor souls). But I can't post my beautiful pornography to show them. However - and here's where the irony comes in - I can post some pretty smutty stuff, as long as it doesn't cross the lines defined in the rules that describe pornography. For example:


I haven't actually tried it, as I'm not actually all that fond of this image, personally (although it does have a certain basal thrust), but from my reading of the rules, this image would be permitted on deviantART (and I have seen others very much like it, especially depicting women). I don't think it's very tasteful. It's crude, and it's crass, and it's got pretty much one thing on its mind. But then again, as far as dA's rules go, that was never the issue. But I can post this image, meanwhile I have much more beautiful ones that will not be allowed. It just makes me sad, is all. I am, therefore, restricted to posting all of my tasteful NON-pornographic images, in the hopes that I can at least prove that NON-explicit erotica can be tasteful. (But then, a lot of people already know that, so what am I really proving?). Ah well, it is what it is.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lousy Smarch Weather

Happy March, laidback blog followers. Here's a picture for you:

This has been the most wintry winter I've seen in many years (even 2010's Winter Storm Powerhouse confined itself to just a week or so), with consistent and relentless snowfall ever since the turn of the new year. It's March now, and there is still a thick layer of snow on the ground as I write this. I don't know about you, but as beautiful as the snow is, I'm ready for some warmer temperatures already.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sexism? Sexisn't

Following on the theme of my last post, I just wanted to say that...sexism isn't men taking pictures of naked women for magazine covers. That's just sexuality. Sexism is criticizing a man for carrying a hot pink purse (for example) due to a belief that it is somehow demeaning for a man to "lower himself" to expressing an interest in anything typically associated with women.

Get your priorities straight, people.

Oh, and actually, criticizing men for taking pictures of naked women for magazine covers is sexism - sexism against men, which is no more justified than sexism against women. This isn't supposed to be a men vs. women thing. Whatever happened to equality?

Monday, February 24, 2014

This is what I'm talking about

The current trend is to disparage the male pattern of sexual behavior as demeaning and objectifying of women, which is an extension of the feminist mindset. I'd hate to be labeled as a misogynist for my views, because the truth is, I have oodles of respect for women. But I'm also sexually attracted to them, and whatever portion of the feminist movement is righteous (and a significant portion of it is, don't get me wrong), this whole subset of it that aims to demonize men for thinking women are sexually appealing is misguided and destructive.

My thinking on this matter is further clarified by my recent reading of the female half of the Kinsey Report, particularly on the statistical differences in sexual attitudes between men and women. Although the existence of exceptions and deviations from the average are important to note, the great diversity of attitudes present in women (more so than compared with men) also contributes to the problem of the sexes wherein men are pretty much of an understanding with one another when it comes to sex, while women are lost in a sea of confusion, not just as to how men feel about sex, but as to how other women feel about sex, too.

My conclusion, at any rate, is that an awful lot of this politically correct hullabaloo about men degrading and objectifying women is merely a symptom of a fundamental misunderstanding about the way men feel about sex, and the differences in the ways that men and women feel about sex. For example, this article bemoans the fact that in a GQ shoot (which, in all fairness, is a magazine that caters to men's interests), several men were photographed in suave business suits, whereas the one woman included (who happened to be pop singer Lana Del Rey) was photographed naked (though obviously not exposing anything of significance) in a number of alluring poses.

Is this evidence of the patriarchal subjugation of women as submissive sex slaves as compared to the power and sophistication that men wield? A resounding no! It's simply a matter of men being sexually attracted to beautiful women, and having a strong instinctual desire to see them naked, and in poses that may suggest to them the promise of sexual intercourse. It's not as if women's magazines don't similarly stereotype shirtless muscle-bound men - but if it happens less often than the gender-swapped alternative, it's only because men are more (openly, at least) interested in sex than women (and more responsive to visually suggestive depictions of it, too), and - not to ignore the homosexual population, but since the majority of the population is mostly heterosexual, that is, most of the time, going to result in more (and more noticeable) sexualized depictions of women than men in the collective cultural media. It's not some gender-based power play, it's just basic human sexual nature! You fail Sex Ed 101, people. Go back to the first grade.

Social evil? Or just beautiful art?
Beware the (wo)man who looks for evil under every stone.