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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Naked Pictures- The difference between Art Nudes and Pornography

Most Americans people see a picture of a naked body and automatically think its pornography.

It shows how narrow minded they are.

There is a clear difference between an art nude and pornography.

The goal of An Art nude tells a story or to make an artistic statement using the human body.

A photographer will use lighting, backgrounds and a model to make a statement about the human body in its natural state.

An artist will draw or paint the body with a focus on lines, color composition and form.

A sculptor who carves nude forms out of clay or stone will focus on getting an accurate representation of the lines of the human form in three dimensions.

In each of these mediums the artist focuses on showing the lines made by the body in its natural state.

The ultimate goal of most art nudes is to ensure that all the lines being drawn by the human form draw the viewer’s attention to the face of piece. The expression made in that face is the primary focal point of the piece. This is where the story is told.

Other artists will use the lines of nude models so the lines of their bodies appear like shapes. A few will use models to imitate classic pieces of art. The statement is the most important thing in these pieces.

And a handful will use live nude models to make a statement in a performance piece.

Sometimes Photographers use things such as lighting and props to make their statement or commentary.

Others use the outdoors to make a statement about the body in nature. And even more use movement to make a statement about the body in motion.

Usually there is nothing sexual about an art nude. To de-emphasize sexuality many artists will photograph in Black and White. Some painters will tone down the realism.

Sometimes a photographer will use color for a photograph, but will light in such a way that the primary focus of the photograph is the model. Again, the goal is to draw the focus of the lines of the body to the face of the model.

In extremely rare cases an artist will make a statement about sex using the nude form. Most artists prefer to avoid overtly sexual statements out of fear of having their work compared to pornography.

In between the lines of art nude and pornography are Celebrity nudes. This is where a popular or semi-popular celebrity will pose nude to generate press. Examples of this are the Demy Moore Vanity Fair cover in the 1990’s or celebrities who pose nude for Playboy Magazine.

Celebrity nudes serve two purposes: To promote whatever project a celebrity is in at the time, and to generate get people talking about a celebrity.

In most cases celebrities do nudes in the hopes of reviving a stalled career. Many of the celebrities who pose nude for Playboy Magazine usually do so to get people talking and to get press for themselves. In the entertainment industry no publicity is bad publicity, and anything that gets people talking can be used to leverage a deal for a feature film or television show that can help in the process of reviving a fading celebrities’ stalled career.

Some celebrities will do a nude for a political statement. They’ll shed their clothes this to promote a political organization like PETA.

Most nudes done by celebrities vary. Some are more on the artistic side; others are a bit more on the glamorous side playing on softer themes of sexuality. It depends on the vision the editor, the photographer and the art director agree on.

Pornography’s primary goal is to sexually titillate and sexually arouse the viewer. The primary goal of pornographic photo is to tell the story of sex. The lines of the body are not being drawn to the face of a model in pornography. The goal of pornography is to draw the eyes to the sexual organs such as a woman’s breasts or her vagina.

Male pornography focuses the viewer’s eyes primarily on the erect penis and the scrotum.

Some more hardcore pornographers will take pictures of a model’s anus in addition to pictures of their aroused genitals.

In many cases pornographic photographs segment parts of the body further objectifying a woman or a man. Instead of seeing a complete person, the photographs will focus on just breasts, vaginas, penises, scrotums and anuses. This is why many see pornography as disconnecting the person from the humanity of the sexual experience. Rarely is there ever a focus on drawing the viewer to the face in pornographic media. The goal of pornography is to disconnect the viewer from the people involved in the sexual act.

The theme of most pornographic photos is about selling sexual fantasies to the viewer. The goal of most pornography is to titillate the viewer and arouse them sexually. Models will use lingerie, as a prop in pornography or act out male fantasies such as the schoolgirl, the woman in prison, or the nurse. Again, the body will be posed in such a way to draw the most attention to the model’s genitals.

The clear difference between an art nude and pornography is that an art nude’s goal is using the lines of the natural human body to the face of the model to make a connection with the viewer and pornography is about disconnecting the viewer from the model to focus on their sexual organs. Art nudes focus on the whole body and draw the viewer to the face humanizing the subject of the medium and the statement they’re making with their body. Pornography is about focusing the viewer’s eyes directly to the sexual organs and dehumanizing the subject of the medium as an object for sexual pleasure.

Many Americans wind up confused because Madison Avenue and Hollywood blur the lines between art and pornography every day. In selling everything from soap to comic books, they exploit the American fear and shame of human sexuality to get their attention in promoting consumer products. This is why sex sells more in America than any other country. Almost all American media presents sex in association with nudity.

Many confused Americans see a nude body or partially nude body in a photograph and automatically associate it with sex. Most American advertisers think they are doing something risqué by buying something promoted in ads as sexy. Most who buy these products think by buying these products promoted as sexy and desirable will make them sexy and desirable.

The Average American is so uneducated about their own body that they constantly correlate nudity with sexuality. And that’s why most can’t tell the difference between an art nude and pornography like our European, African and Asian neighbors who can differentiate between the two.

Nudity in and of itself is not sexual. When looking at a nude always consider the context of the content. There’s a clear line between art and pornography.  

1 comment:

  1. Shawn, this has to be one of the best and most helpful blogs you've ever done -- or ever will do. You write here with a clarity that is missing in other blogs and articles I've read on this subject.

    Thanks to you, now anyone who fouls up the difference between pornography and nude art is simply being stupid or deliberagtely obtuse. No more excuses.

    I was taken to museums like the New York Met at an early age and my grandfather subscribed to National Georgraphic mag, so I was almost never a stranger to nudes. I giggled though. But I am profoundly grateful for this appreciation of the human body, a masterpiece that could only be fashionned by a master artist--God.

    We do have to lean on you to do something with your excellent blogs. They're so badly needed for the education of us all. And our youth cry out for the nurturing education that this kind of blog will bring.

    So, how about it Shawn? When do the blog books began to come out? By 2013? Great! I'll buy, and so will plenty of others.