Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ART vs. PORN

"The difference between art and porn is lighting."
-Robert Mapplethorpe

FNC Platinum: The Feast photo: flesh and color


I believe that art is subjective. People react to creative expression in different ways, be it paintings, sculpture, photos, writing, or music. What is considered offensive by some may be hailed by others. I will not go as far as to say that either side is correct in this arguement, but I will hold firm on my belief that no one should have the right to decide what I, or someone else can view, read or hear. I deplore racism, misogyny and homophobia, yet I listen to Hip Hop artists like Eminem whose lyrics are often a platform for all but racism. It may seem contradictory, but I embrace his creative genius and am constantly awed by the skill in which he wields his pen and spits his verses. In my eyes, he is a poet, and arguably a genius, so I applaud his talent rather than fixate on the words. Add to that the fact that I do not think he is serious about the things he says, but uses his gift to create humorous situations out of ugly ideas. To me, that is art, which I believe is supposed to stir emotions, provoke thought, create a dialog, inspire or disgust, bring fantasy to life, or force us to confront the harsh realities that actually exist in this world. It is to be appreciated, valued and enjoyed. It is to be mocked, protested against and defamed. It is like a page out of a diary, come to life, from the mind of it's creator, that evokes a particular moment in time. And it is for this reason that so much of it leads to controversy.


Curve photo: Jay Plogman Photography


Robert Mapplethorpe was at the center of a huge controversy over his notorious collection of photos that led to the pulling of funding for the Endowment for the Arts. Those shots would eventually find a home in a collection entitled PICTURES. Some of the photos that were deemed that most offensive depicted underground S&M rituals, including one man pissing into the mouth of another, and close-up images of men getting fisted. There is even a self portrait of Mr. Mapplethorpe with the bottom of a leather whip inserted into his own anus.


Are these images hard to look at? Sometimes. Are they offensive? Not to me, but I could understand why some people would view them as such.
Prior to this, he was behind another scandal regarding one of his most famous photos, "Man In Polyester Suit", which depicted a large, uncut, penis hanging out of the fly on a cheap brown polyester suit. There are some who argue that what people really found offensive was the size, and that the organ belonged to a black man. His work was labeled pornographic and promptly dismissed by those of a certain sensibility.

But what truely defines pornography? At what point does erotic art cross over the line into pornographic territory?


Model: jj adams photo: Adam Livermore

Joey as Stephan Sinestro in "THE WILLING" photo: Y?NOT CREATIONS

It is no secret that we live in a somewhat hypocritical society. As a nation, porn is often demonized vocally and loudly, yet sales of the genre generate more revenue than the Hollywood film industry and the music industry combined. If our attitudes towards porn are so negative, who is buying all the stuff?

How many right wing conservatives have been caught up in scandals involving the very things that they are fighting against? How do those people who use the church and it's teachings as the moral code against porn react over the mind boggling number of sexual abuse cases involving Catholic priests? And how can you put the visuals in a gangbang video into the same category with something as incredible as the statue of David?

Models: Diego Moran & Latysha Lucas photo: rSEANd PHOTOGRAPHY

Breaking Free Model: Salvatore M photo: Charles Archer Photography

photo: rSEANd PHOTOGRAPHY


In addition to the hypocrisy, there is the matter of double standards. We need only look at movies or magazine covers to understand that there is in big difference between seeing women's breasts and being confronted with the male penis. I am always amazed at how men react when it comes to a penis other than their own. Unless it is in a humorous context, like Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, men literally squirm in their theater chairs. Many of my straight male friends will turn their head if I am editing photos and one of them happens to be a nude shot that shows the dangly bits. It's as if they are scared it will leap off the computer screen and proceed to throttle them. I always found this reaction to be disingenuous considering they have no problem enjoying a pornographic DVD. No matter what excuse they come up with, there is no way around the fact that the action in those videos are all centered around the phallus. The girl may be the star on the box, but the dick is the star of the show.

Model: NarcissisticHate photo: rSEANd PHOTOGRAPHY

Model: tatoo23 photo: Mike Lidbetter

The truth is that there is no definitive answer to the art versus porn debate, because of our individual perceptions. But this does not hamper my curiousity, so I have decided to explore this avenue on a regular basis, both visually and by asking various people what they believe.

So now it's your turn...
Is it art?

Model: Vic Rocco photo: Edendale Studios, LLC

Or is it porn?

Model: JaySin photo: DSI


© 2009 Sean Dibble
Do not repost without permission

To view more work by tatoo23

www.modelmayhem.com/tattoo23

To view more work by Vic Rocco

www.modelmayhem.com/vicrocco

To view more work by Edendale Studios, LLC

www.modelmayhem.com/Edendale

To view more work by flesh and color

www.fleshandcolor.com

www.modelmayhem.com/fleshandcolor

To view more work by Jay Plogman

www.modelmayhem.com/jplogman

To view more work by Charles Archer

www.modelmayhem.com/charlesarcher

To view more work by Y?NOT CREATIONS

http://modelcoast.com/?op=member&id=77809

To view more work by JaySin

http://modelcoast.com/?op=member&id=78219

To view more work by jj adams

http://modelcoast.com/?op=member&id=78583

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