The difference between art and porn

There's a fine line one treads when people wearing anything less than the sort of clothing one might wear to a formal dinner are involved in art: Where does something cease to be art and start becoming un-artistic pornography?

It's very subjective. Clearly, you can have a girl wearing quite a lot of clothing yet still, through posing and camera angles and selection of wardrobe, make something that is just trashy and probably quite offensive if you saw your 12 year old daughter in. And clearly naked people feature in a number of pieces that are the pinnacle of artistry, all the way back to Venus Figurines.

I went to a car show one time because a model talked me into it. She said it was a great opportunity to network. And I brought my camera because it would provide a way to strike up conversations with people. And when I got the film back, I realized that it was just trashy and that I really didn't want to go back to that sort of show. Not my thing.

However, I feel that I proved a point to myself, by accident. Of these two pictures, I feel that the one with less clothing is less trashy:

Trashy pic


Another time I realized, after I took the picture, that I was exactly 180 degrees from a trashy shot:

Dona bending over

See, from this angle, nothing's really showing. From the reverse angle, there's no way to make it look classy.

If you ever wonder why Robert Mapplethorpe gets away with shoving a bullwhip up his rear in The Perfect Moment (something I'll always remember hearing about because I was a wee lil Wirehead in Cincinnati when the Cincinnati Arts Center was displaying it) but your attempts at matching him just net you a collection of restraining orders and a porn site, it's fairly simple. First, he's a good photographer in general. Second, shock in art is a meta-art itself. Third, a good chunk of the value in his work is that he was the first person to be that shocking. You remember the first man on the moon, but do you remember the third?

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