Monday, July 17, 2017

The Voyeur's Temptation

There's a phenomenon that occurs when I see an attractive girl in public. I don't doubt that it's wired into my biology. I get excited, and I want to look at her more than is probably appropriate. I rarely take the chance to. Naturally, as a photographer, I have the impulse to take a picture (because, you know, it'll last longer). I rarely do, though, because there's this immense social stigma right now against taking pictures of strangers, even in public. My aim isn't to make anyone uncomfortable, and I don't want to get into any trouble, or give myself a bad reputation, either. But the desire to preserve that vision of beauty that appears so briefly before me is strong. And constantly resisting it only serves to leave me feeling antsy and unfulfilled, like there's something important in that big ol' world out there that I'm missing out on.

Maybe, as a voyeur, it's just the way my sexual impulse manifests itself, and therefore it's not fair to draw this comparison, but the fact that subtle eroticism might be involved isn't enough to warrant equating it with explicit sexual activity, and it's not as though I actually want to make every one of these girls my lover. I just want to admire them (and not even necessarily in an "explicit" manner). After all, first impressions being what they are, a lot of times the magic fades when you really have a chance to scrutinize something. It's that electric flash in the moment that propels you. Maybe taking a picture would dispel the illusion, but if so, I don't think that would be a bad thing. Because, knowing the truth, I'd feel less inclined to allow these biological impulses to dupe me into thinking I should be sad and depressed because there are all these beautiful creatures in the world, and none of them (or very few, depending on the circumstances and your perspective) are involved in my life.

Alternatively (as I have seen still images that are quite captivating even when the subject is not being viewed in person), I'd love to be able to create a catalog of all the pretty girls I've ever had the chance to come across - even just passing briefly on the street. To view and compare their bodies and fashions and further establish my detailed, aesthetic preferences. (Sadly, this very sort of thing is under heavy scrutiny on photo sharing websites by anti-voyeur watchdog groups concerned about people's public). And furthermore, as an artist, my ideal vision would be to have the opportunity to create some beautiful art (whether spontaneous, as in street photography, or more deliberate and posed) with some of these beautiful creatures, as an ode to the wonderful feelings of joy the mere sight of them evokes in me, and as a statement to the rest of the world about what I find beautiful.

And I want to do this without being viewed or considered as some kind of creepy stalker/pervert. But since I have a condition that impairs my social skills, and I live a reclusive lifestyle - by choice, because I am not altogether comfortable around most other people - and because I do not have the confidence or the charisma to (as my favorite photographer of pretty girls David Hamilton once advised) approach attractive strangers with the uncommon proposition of taking their picture, in a culture that seems - at least to me - increasingly suspicious of men's interest in women's bodies, I am left with little recourse to fulfill my dream. And I know they say that if you never ask, the answer is always no, but when it is en vogue to criticize people for the mere desire - asking constitutes sufficient evidence to be targeted for derision.

"Read my lips: we love your look."

That's one of the things I like about the convention atmosphere - to a significant extent, people expect to be stopped to have their picture taken, by other people who like the way they look. If we could just extend this attitude to the rest of life, I'd be ecstatic. But, of course, at a convention, this behavior is excused by the fact that those people have put work into the costumes they're wearing, and want to show them off. But isn't this true of people who get dressed up to go out? Or even people who work out to keep their bodies fit? I can see Michael Shannon in my head in the role of Kim Fowley, strolling up to a blonde bombshell and saying "I like your style." I think most girls would be flattered. But ask them if you can take a picture, and the eyebrows go up. "What would you need a picture for? What are you going to do with it?" (in a suggestive, criticizing voice). Tell me why we consider this so strange and suspicious. Are we that jaded? Is it because of the internet (where pictures "never disappear")? This is a discussion I want to have.

No comments:

Post a Comment