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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Art or Porn?...A recent photo of mine in the critique section of a nude woman on the beach with clearly visable genitalia ...
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Old 04-11-2006, 21:17   #1 (permalink)
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Art or Porn?

A recent photo of mine in the critique section of a nude woman on the beach with clearly visable genitalia prompted a great deal of discussion about the artistic merit of the image.

Steve and crew came up with their guidelines for posting nude photos, which I believe are appropriate.

There are many definitions of pornography, and a judge in the US (i think) once said famously "I know pornography when I see it".

So, is there a line between porn and art, and if so, where is it?

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Old 04-11-2006, 21:37   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

Personally, I think if the genitalia area is made to be the focal point of the image then I would class this to be porn.

I wasn't particulally won over by your image in the critique section, but it was certainly not porn.
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Old 04-11-2006, 21:40   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

I agree with Ian on this, i didint like your image, but it was more to do with unnatural posing and the wrong light than the subject. As long as the focal point of the image is the body or "form/shape" and not specific to the genitals then in my opinion it is not porn.

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Old 05-11-2006, 16:39   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

I have to agree with the others here. Explicit is not necessarily porn, and your image is in no way porn. Ian has summed it up well.

Sorry to say I also don't like the photo in question, but for the same reasons as everyone else. Pose - lighting/shadows.

I like your other images better.
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:12   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

Pornography.
The explicit depiction or exhibition
of sexual activity in literature, films
or photography that is intended to
stimulate erotic, rather than aesthetic
or emotional feelings.
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Old 06-11-2006, 14:25   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

That's all very well, Gary, but one man's art is another man's porn.
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Old 06-11-2006, 15:00   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

so how would you define porn Angela? just out of interest to get another persons view point on it.

And hypothetically... if someone ( male or female) asked you to come along and take some artisitc nude shots of them........... would you do it and what kind of poses would you use?

Fi
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Old 06-11-2006, 15:11   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

In this day and age the picture IMHO was no way porn - just a naked model - nothing was evident to deem it such

This area of photography has always provoked stong views from all sides and will continue to do so.

As long as the photographer was trying to portray art then I think its OK - we only have to look at the greek statues of old to see that depiction of genitalia is part and parcel of the finished work - which we now class as masterpieces.

Just my opinion -

Fiona if someone male or female asked me to do the shots - I'd try to do something they would be pround of - showing as much or as little as they requested - after all they would be paying
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Old 06-11-2006, 15:17   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
so how would you define porn Angela? just out of interest to get another persons view point on it.

And hypothetically... if someone ( male or female) asked you to come along and take some artisitc nude shots of them........... would you do it and what kind of poses would you use?

Fi
I would define porn as others have above - poses that focus on the genitalia and/or have provocative poses. I'm not keen on seeing genitalia in photographs...it's not something I'm prudish about, it's just not something that particularly hits my buttons! I agree that, whatever other faults it might have had, Skipper's photo wasn't pornographic...although it could have been seen by some in that light.

And, hypothetically, I have no idea what poses I would use if someone asked me to do a nude shot......but it wouldn't include having genitalia on show!
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Old 06-11-2006, 16:01   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

okies......... does womens breast fall into the category of genetalia? and if not do folk think its ok to have these in a photo. And if so what is the difference between showing a women with her breasts in view and a classically posed full frontal?

sorry im just getting interested in peoples discussion

i have a book on nudes which has a real heavy introduction..... on reading it i found a couple of lines which stood out .........
" To become "art" the nude photo must make one forget the sexuality of the subject by diverting the eye towards another refereance"
by this i read it to mean the pose or the whole image in entirety rather than just the model.

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Old 06-11-2006, 16:20   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
okies......... does womens breast fall into the category of genetalia? and if not do folk think its ok to have these in a photo. And if so what is the difference between showing a women with her breasts in view and a classically posed full frontal?
Not in my opinion, no they don't fall into the category of genitalia.

Quote:
" To become "art" the nude photo must make one forget the sexuality of the subject by diverting the eye towards another reference" by this i read it to mean the pose or the whole image in entirety rather than just the model.
I think that'a very good definition
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Old 06-11-2006, 23:31   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

Just to avoid repeating what other people have said, I am going to present a slightly different viewpoint. I want to make it clear though that I do agree with what others have said and I did not find the picture to be porn.... though i did not like the picture myself.

I know my position might not be popular but hey, just an opinion so please allow me that. As I hold strong Christian beliefs, I tend to take a slightly different position on the definition of artistic nude and porn. I do believe the nude form can be artistically portrayed and am not offended by this when done well. However, as a Christian I guess I feel that there are parts of the human form that are not for others to see, that in my case are for my wife's eyes only and vice versa.

Therefore I do not personally feel that photos showing the genitalia are artistic and i do find them distasteful, bordering on offensive. The breasts are a different area all together as they were not even deemed to be part of the body that should be covered up even in Biblical times, they have been deemed sexual not because of their form but because of the way they are portrayed in some magazines etc. Physiologically, the genitalia are procreative whereas the breasts are nurturing. So for me, the female form that mainly involves naked breasts and delicate shots of the rear are ok but specifically shots of the genitalia, whether or not they form the main subject of the photo, are not appropriate.

As I said, this is my own personal view and I do not criticise or judge others on the basis of what they feel is acceptable however they differ from my own. Put simply, I will not allow another man to look at my wife's naked form. She is a beautiful woman, the most precious gift I have ever received and every day I am so thankful that she is mine. I do not personally feel I want to share the parts of her I hold most intimate with anyone else.

There you go. I am probably going to upset someone with such a strong view but I am not imposing it on anyone else. Just what I think :o)

Cheers,
Rob
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Old 07-11-2006, 00:04   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

Doubt you would offend anyone with your views Rob, just as i dont think differing opinions would offend you.
It is interesting to get things from completely different view points, so as with all the rest , your opinions are not upsetting, but enlightening.
i am sure we all have our own mind set but are open minded enough to realise that although we may not necessarly agree with each other we do respect each others rights to hold their opinions.

I am on the completely opposite side of the fence as you, as i do not believe in God at all and would never call myself a christian....... however that does not have that much if any bearing on my opinion of porn or artistic nudity. nor do i think its necessarily because of your beliefs that you feel that way..... it may be something as simple as common decency!

And does it really matter? Photography as i see it is not to please others........ but ultimately if you are pleased with your image no matter WHAT the subject is then you have achieved what you set out to achieve in photography....and that is to attain the best result in your eyes that you can in any given situation....................
ok ok ok its late... im waffling....and i dont really know if I made much sense at all ............... but it did in my brain!
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:16   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
okies......... does womens breast fall into the category of genetalia? and if not do folk think its ok to have these in a photo. And if so what is the difference between showing a women with her breasts in view and a classically posed full frontal?
sorry im just getting interested in peoples discussion
Judging from the Oxford English Dictionary breasts are not considered as genitalia
genital
• adjective referring to the human or animal reproductive organs.
• noun (genitals) a person or animal’s external reproductive organs.
ORIGIN Latin genitalis, from gignere ‘beget’.

A classically posed full frontal would include genitalia in the shot.

I think the question is more aimed at when does a photograph change from being artistic to being pornography? Either can be offensive (depending on many things) but only one is allowed to be shown at Pixalo.
Quote:
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i have a book on nudes which has a real heavy introduction..... on reading it i found a couple of lines which stood out .........
" To become "art" the nude photo must make one forget the sexuality of the subject by diverting the eye towards another refereance"
by this i read it to mean the pose or the whole image in entirety rather than just the model.
Fiona
I find that quite interesting but I disagree, let me try to give you an example using a different subject…

When I look at a scenic shot I take in the whole ‘view’ and as such if there is a barn in the distance or a tree in the foreground I look at that and consider in the full context of the shot. They might be focal points in their own right but only work as part of the whole picture.

The same can be said when I view nudes, sure I look at the form, lighting and other technical aspects but if the shot includes genitalia or breasts I always their presence to the rest of the shot as a whole, you can have a artistic nude that draws your eyes towards the body or a specific area of the body without it becoming anything other than ‘art’ providing the emphasis, pose and technical aspects are balanced correctly.
Equally I believe that some non nude ‘artistic’ shots that portray children in certain ways are much more offensive and wrong. I have not viewed any here but I have witnessed lots of controversy over images of young children being photographed in ‘provocative poses’ eating fruit in a sensual manor.

Although technically there was nothing wrong with the shot, it was what it implied, and to me that’s another point in this discussion. What was the intended implication of the photographer and has (s)he achieved it, not what actually is visible in the end shot?

Quote:
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Snip…As I hold strong Christian beliefs, I tend to take a slightly different position on the definition of artistic nude and porn….as a Christian I guess I feel that there are parts of the human form that are not for others to see, that in my case are for my wife's eyes only and vice versa.
I have edited your text in the quotes Rob, not to change your meaning (I have tried to keep that full) but to make it more concise for quoting. Hope that’s ok?

I am not questioning your beliefs or moral ground at all but I would like to understand it more clearly. You obviously you hold your wife and your own privacy as being very sacred and important to you, and it may just be the way your worded your reply (or indeed my misinterpretation of it) but how does that stance relate to nude pictures of other people (who you may or may not know)? I fully understand that you wouldn’t take and share pictures of your wife or yourself but as a photographer (with some skill at a broad range of subjects) I was wondering have you every photographed nudes, do you feel that it is ok to do so as long as the photos are not shown and if no to both of these, how does viewing other peoples nude photos (for critique etc) rest on your beliefs?

Quote:
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Therefore I do not personally feel that photos showing the genitalia are artistic and i do find them distasteful, bordering on offensive. The breasts are a different area all together as they were not even deemed to be part of the body that should be covered up even in Biblical times, they have been deemed sexual not because of their form but because of the way they are portrayed in some magazines etc. Physiologically, the genitalia are procreative whereas the breasts are nurturing. So for me, the female form that mainly involves naked breasts and delicate shots of the rear are ok but specifically shots of the genitalia, whether or not they form the main subject of the photo, are not appropriate.
I personally believe the genitalia to be as natural as the breasts (or any other part of the body). As long as they are not being photographed to portray sexual or provocative intent then I really don’t see a problem. I wouldn’t take and display a nude photo of my partner (although I love her very much) but if I where to photograph a model and I have the correct permissions I would have no problems showing those for feedback.

All our bodies are different shapes and sizes, that’s the wonder of it, getting something new, something creative and something exciting (in a non sexual way) is the challenge. Different shapes, forms and indeed texture all add to the photographer’s creative tools and I believe they should be embraced and used to their full potential.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Barron View Post
As I said, this is my own personal view and I do not criticise or judge others on the basis of what they feel is acceptable however they differ from my own. Put simply, I will not allow another man to look at my wife's naked form. She is a beautiful woman, the most precious gift I have ever received and every day I am so thankful that she is mine. I do not personally feel I want to share the parts of her I hold most intimate with anyone else.

There you go. I am probably going to upset someone with such a strong view but I am not imposing it on anyone else. Just what I think :o)

Cheers,
Rob
I agree with you 100% Rob as far as family is concerned. I have outlined my stance but also understand, and like yourself, wouldn’t judge, others that use their wife and family as consenting models in their nude shots.

As far as upsetting anyone with your comments, it is just not going to happen here We are a mature site with a mature membership who tolerate and debate in a professional and curtious manor. We may or may not agree with others opinions but we have to understand and respect their rights to hold them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
I am on the completely opposite side of the fence as you, as i do not believe in God at all and would never call myself a christian....... however that does not have that much if any bearing on my opinion of porn or artistic nudity. nor do i think its necessarily because of your beliefs that you feel that way..... it may be something as simple as common decency!
And that’s another question as well, what is common decency and at what point and under what circumstances can the imaginary line be altered or crossed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
And does it really matter? Photography as i see it is not to please others........ but ultimately if you are pleased with your image no matter WHAT the subject is then you have achieved what you set out to achieve in photography....and that is to attain the best result in your eyes that you can in any given situation....................
ok ok ok its late... im waffling....and i dont really know if I made much sense at all ............... but it did in my brain!
Your little waffle is actually bang on the money! Photography (in general) is all about getting pleasing results for yourself or your client. Others don’t matter if that’s all you are working for but sites like Pixalo would not exist if people didn’t enjoy sharing and receiving feedback on their work as well.

I am sorry for the long reply but I have watched this thread over the last few days and wanted to jump in on several occasions, however I wanted it to develop first and have held off posting until now
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Old 07-11-2006, 15:29   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Art or Porn?

That's a superb reply Steve and no, I didn't mind you edit-quoting me as you didn't change my points at all.

You asked where I stand on taking other nudes and so forth and I again stress I am answering for me alone here. I would never dare to insult Skip or others because they work differently to me. They are mature adults with a great deal of integrity and their position is absolutely as valid as my own.

In terms of taking photos privately, absolutely no problem at all. Would I take a photo of my wife that is entirely between the two of us and not for anyone else's eyes? Yes, I'd have no problem with that at all as it is only me seeing my wife or vice versa. Would i take photos of someone else nude, assuming they were willing and consenting models? No I personally wouldn't but again don't have a problem with others if that is what they want to do. I have to say this IS partly shaped by my beliefs and not only as a matter of common decency as in the Christian faith, the Bible teaches that I should not 'uncover another woman'. Frankly, I am a normal red-blooded male and am just as affected by erotica and so forth as any other person and so my personal belief is that I should see only my wife as one who stirs me passionately, nobody else. So yes, it is down to my beliefs but I have never thought of this as a restriction, in fact I consider this position to be more liberating for me.

Do I apprciate the nude form? Absolutely, why wouldn't I? I believe God made us and when He looked at what he had made, He said 'That is very good!' The human body is a beautiful work of art and I am not referring to whether it is aesthetically 'perfect' as the media try to portray. ALL people are beautiful.... but sorry, none are as beautiful as my wife :o) Ok, so I am a teeny weensy bit biased <g>

I absolutely one hundred percent agree with you about the taking of suggestive portraits of children. That is an absolute no no and I would roundly condemn openly anyone taking pictures of little girls eating bananas posed in a suggestive way even though the child herself probably didn't have a clue what the photographer was trying to take when he told her to lick the banana! However innocent the child was, that kind of shot is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Children are precious and their innocence is something we as adults should do everything we can to protect.

This is a very interesting thread and it is excellent reading the viewpoints of different people on this subject. It's fantastic that we have a forum that allows us to discuss this issue as adults without being judged or judging others. Long may Pixalo reign supreme of its kind :o)

Cheers,
Rob
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