The difference between myself, as an artist, and an ordinary pervert is that I am devoted to beauty, not sexual conquest. My interest in girls is not to possess them sexually - that is not my goal. I merely desire to have their permission to honor and admire their beauty; and in the best-case scenario, to be permitted to immortalize it in my photography.
Now, that's not to say that eroticism isn't a part of the beauty I admire. I wish it were as simple as separating my sexual interests from the aesthetic qualities I appreciate. Then I could just be a regular photographer taking pictures of beautiful people, without having to deal with the stigma of being labeled a "pervert".
And certainly, the experience of spotting a pretty girl on the street is qualitatively different from the experience of spotting a sexy girl on the street. But I'm too honest to pretend that there isn't some relationship between the two, and that the two never overlap.
Most people politely avoid sexual connotations in order to defend their reputation (because sex, in this society, is vilified). I'm not willing to do that, because I'm dedicated to exploring the world as it is, and that means not sweeping inconvenient truths under the rug.
But even accepting the potential sexual connotations of my work, the fact remains that there is a distinction between erotic beauty and sexual activity. One is a transient act that brings intense pleasure usually to no more than a few people at a time. The other is a romantic concept, the realm of dreams and desires, often inspired by a physical quality that is possible to preserve, through art.
Both of these have their virtues, and their drawbacks. But they should not be mistaken for one another, though they may be related. And my dedication is not to sexual activity (not that I am asexual, either), but to beauty, even as it approaches the erotic.
It is possible that, in my mind, I have eroticized aesthetic beauty to an unusual extent. But if part of my admiration of those qualities is erotic in nature, I don't feel comfortable denying that. Yet if, on the other hand, I were to tell someone that my interest in photographing models (especially nude) is artistic or spiritual, and not at all sexual in nature, they will be suspicious if they have any reason to suspect otherwise. They will not trust me unless I am 100% clean. And because I have so far embraced sexuality to the extent that I have, I am not only not 100% clean, but blatantly unclean, in the eyes of the chaste.
So my honesty is punished, where more deceptive men may be able to get away with it - men who, I emphasize, may have less noble goals than I do. After all, if they've deceived you about their sexual interest, they may also have deceived you about their devotion to art, and only be interested in exploiting and taking advantage of their models. This is cause for much distrust in the artistic community (see: GWC - Guy With Camera), toward those who express an unverifiable "artistic interest", as if this were a badge of honest intent, entitling the bearer to special privileges.
Well, as a token of my honesty, I'm telling you that I do have a sexual interest in the models I'd like to photograph. But my devotion to art is likewise sincere.