The Line between Art Nude and Pornographic Obscene, Where is it?

Green Snake, White Stripes, Bound Girl, BDSM, Colar, Red Head, Bow and Arrow, Cupid's Bow
Snake in Orchard - Click to see larger view

Sometimes it can be down right entertaining to see the vehemence with which a person will share exactly what the difference is between a fine classy nude and a base piece of obscenity.

Now what changes is the how this story plays out in different parts of the world, by culture, by sex of the person with the opinion, by religion,  education, political persuasion, and on and on and on.

What do you feel is the difference?  Love to hear your comments.

Me, I like to make sure my models are safe and have a certain maturity and understanding of what we are after.  I also prefer my messages are generally uplifting.

Though one person’s uplift is another person’s nightmare.

In art as in all things, one cannot make something which all people will find uplifting.  Being uplifted is largely a personal choice after all.

Some people will find something wrong with anything.

Some people find any kind of sensuality abhorrent.

Some people find almost any degree of sexuality acceptable.

Personally, I think something is art if it causes interest, particularly with an emotional impact.  Art often is accompanied by controversy.

This said, I do not think art is necessarily the ultimate end.

“The Scream” for instance while great art, is not something I care to make, nor something I wish to have hanging on my wall.   In fact, I find it kind of obscene.  Obscene in that it is disturbing.  But still it is art.

The napalm burned naked Vietnamese girl photo from the Vietnam era… those of us old enough to know it, remember it, is in my opinion art.  Though I would not seek to take a shot such as this of this girl.  I find this picture obscene, though while she is clearly nude, I do not find it pornographic…

If I had been there, I too might have taken this shot.  And, gotten the shot out.  If I was there, it would be a story in need of telling.  An obscene story.  I just would not seek to be in such a place taking such a shot, telling such a story.

In my art nudes, I choose to tell stories interesting to me at the time I am taking or editing the photos.  As I have told those stories, I may even move away from the stories I have told.  That is, as my tastes change, so may the stories I wish to tell.

Take for instance the girl who is the town floozy and then becomes a habited nun.  Her story changes.

Or the girl who was the town prude, and now is wearing revealing clothing, when she isn’t in Cain on the beach nude.  Her story too has changed.

Very few people have only one story their entire lives.  And even their stories are generally unique to themselves and their judgements.

What do you desire to create and view?

What credence are critics and censors due?


4 thoughts on “The Line between Art Nude and Pornographic Obscene, Where is it?”

  1. After one sees a photo if sponteneously exclaims “WOW” thats art & if the reaction is “Oh My God ! ! !” or “Oh FUCK” then its porn.
    In short it must appeal to aesthetic sense & not mere corrupt minds.

  2. Well, obscene is very much a subjective term (as the UK government wrestled with back when we had rather more aggressive censorship). But as you hint at, the violence that goes on in the world is far more obscene than photos and video of any consensual sexual activity.

    Anyway, I try not to stress too much over what’s art and what’s porn; most ‘art nudes’ do little for me, I find them terribly dull; and although I don’t think mainstream porn is a bad thing, I can generally take it or leave it. In this short interview, I think Ellen Stagg makes as good a distinction as any, where erotic art is a collaboration between the photographer and the model.

    Perhaps easier is this favourite quote from Gloria Leonard: ‘The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting’ 🙂

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