Monday, August 27, 2007

Naughty and Perverse Photography

I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do -- that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse. -Diane Arbus

If Ms. Arbus had clairvoyant vision and could somehow have seen the future of photography--specifically, the advent of digital imaging and the far-reaching power of the internet--I wonder if she would have viewed her words as understatements?

Personally, I believe Ms. A was being flippant when she made those observations. But flippant or not, the sheer numbers of photographers and snapshot-shooters shooting "naughty" and "perverse" imagery is staggering. I guess that's what happens when you put cheap, no-brainer, image-capturing technology in the hands of the masses and afford them a high degree of anonymity in both the production and distribution of their images.

Interestingly, some of the major, retail, purveyors of digital, image-capturing, devices--you know, those guys who make a very good living selling that cheap, no-brainer technology to the naughty perverts--seem to be holding on to mores that would seem more appropriate to the era of Diane Arbus and her contemporaries.

Recently, I joined the online affiliate programs of two of the really big, photo-gear, retailers. Initially, they welcomed me with open arms: "Dude! Where ya been? About time you got with the program!" But then, sometime later, they decided to cancel my affiliations with them. Why? Something to do with nude images on my blog. Not porn images but nude images.

Okay, it's their party and they can invite whomever they want. But it still kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

IMHO, if the uber-talented Ms. Arbus were alive today and she authored a blog that included some nude images of beautiful, young, women, I'll bet these online retailers wouldn't have much of a problem enjoying an affiliation with her. After all, she's Diane Arbus, a celebrated photographer. If Diane Arbus wants to photograph and distribute images of naked chicks on the internet, well, she's Diane Arbus.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not comparing myself to Diane Arbus, not even close. But there's still something hypocritical about some companies' potential willingness to partner with celebrated photographers, almost regardless of the content of their images, yet refusing to do the same when it comes to uncelebrated photographers. Seems to me, if you're going to draw a line, a morality line, it should apply to everyone across the board.

Perhaps, with some companies, it does.

Perhaps, with others, it doesn't.

If a photographer of some esteem shoots images that some people might consider pornographic (whatever that is) and you're willing to hook up with them to make a few bucks, but you're not willing to do the same with other photographers because they don't have the same juice as the famous shooters, your a freakin' hypocrite, plain and simple. It seems fairly black-n-white to me. (But then, I'm a kid from the 60s.)

Okay. Maybe I'm being childish, idealistic, and naive. No, not "maybe," I *am* being childish, idealistic, and naive.

We all know that celebrities don't spend the same amount of jail time for the same offenses as us common-folk do. And famous photographers can shoot pretty much anything they want and it's art, pornography included. But if some schlep shoots the same kind of stuff, maybe even shoots it as well as the big-shot-shooter, it is what it is... it's porn.

Oh well. ¡No problemo! I'm just venting-- Screwing with the man, raging against the machine, and all that good shit. Who says free enterprise if free? Damn liars! Its always had strings and compromises and always will. Screw them. I'll buy my stuff from AMAZON.COM. They don't seem to have a problem with pretty girl shooters.

Otay, 'Panky. I'm done with this overdone rant. And yes, I do feel a bit better.

The two pretty girls at the top, seemingly about to get naughty and perverse, are Kayla and Alexa. Shot these pics a few months ago with my naughty and perverse Canon 5D while in a naughty and perverse mood. Had Diane Arbus been on the set with a camera that day, her no doubt superior and possibly naughty and perverse images of Kayla and Alexa might be framed and displayed inside the doors of some major retailers.

Then again, maybe not.


Joshua said...

I wish I could draw the sign language for bull sh*t right here. I'm having trouble with my ASCII art. ;)

This is where the superpower of "if I'm not welcomed here, then I don't need to be here" steps in.



Anonymous said...

"Recently, I joined the online affiliate programs of two of the really big, photo-gear, retailers."

Could you tell us who they are so we can avoid doing business with them?

jimmyd said...

Could you tell us who they are so we can avoid doing business with them?

thanks for the words of support. but i didn't write about it in an attempt to encourage readers to boycott them. I was just venting. Here's a hint: three of the biggest online retailers of photo gear--excluding amazon--have names whose with that begin with letters that match the first three letters of the alphabet. The two I referred to each have company names where the first letter matches two of the alphabet's first three letters...

LAL said...

I feel your pain. As a female photographer who makes the majority of her living shooting sexy and or naked images, I have had to deal with the same issues. Hey I gotta pay my bills somehow!

Makes me wanna punch faces.