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Pornagraphic Art vs Artistic Porn

John Kantor , Aug 22, 2002; 11:47 p.m.

Nerve (www.nerve.com) has another photo layout of pseudo-artistic porn a la Terry Richardson.

I find it ironic that true porn is often so much better done technically. Take a look at www.bluenudes.com for instance for something relatively tame - but even the hardcore sites wouldn't publish something like Nerve's layout.


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Tom Meyer , Aug 23, 2002; 12:08 a.m.

I haven't seen the article you're referencing, but I've noticed a lot of art school contamination of the commercial aesthetic. Much of the portraiture in Interview and Spin etc. is so bad technically, all I can do is hope it's on purpose. The new post-postmodern anti-art photography. Like we just caught up to where music was 20 years ago. The visual equivalent of the Sex Pistols but commercially and narcissitically motivated. Which means it's lost any legitimacy as art, unlike John and Sid... t

Carl Smith , Aug 23, 2002; 01:15 a.m.

I agree. Really there's a lot of crap out there. I think, in addition to the reasons mentioned, the reason you see a lot of poorly done nude art is because since it's not porn, more people are ok with doing it. And so more people experiment with it. I know that if I were shooting nudes, nobody would see them unless I thought they were technically good enough for myself. I have the feeling that people thing the photo will be accepted simply because it tackles something people are still uncomfortable about and that is the naked body. But if it sucks technically, then it sucks. There's little that can save it from that.

peter nelson , Aug 23, 2002; 07:47 a.m.

Is there a question in there somewhere?

Anyway, what's your definition of "porn"? I went to the site you mentioned - Bluenudes - but it's a pay site so I couldn't tell anything about it, except that it doesn't seem to be what I would call "porn" - it looks like just nudes.

Nerve publishes all kinds of stuff, some good, some bad, lots of nudes and a bit of porn. My definition of "pornography" (which literally means "the writings of prostitutes") is depictions of the sexual act. Nudity, per se, is not pornography, and images that are merely designed to be sexually arousing I would call "erotica".

The broad answer to your question is: Sturgeon's Law.

Andrew McLeod , Aug 23, 2002; 10:35 a.m.

Erotica? Porn? Do you clear your browser's cache and history when you're done or not!?

Well. They she did mention a certain lack of perfection in the blurb, or the recapitulated artist's statement. But yeah, me, I would definately light better (and shoot different, and get slapped for shooting girls in their undies...). But this looks like the kind of Art where the statement really comes in handy ;-). Looks like they just shot w/ a single ringlight. The most interesting thing there was the close crop of the ashtray on the stomach on the front page

As for bluenudes, eh. Everything but my wife has been boring lately. I used to get more excited by www.domai.com, but last time I really said Yow! was looking at kevin hundsnucher's or james mogul's stuff on photo.net

Tom Meyer , Aug 23, 2002; 03:02 p.m.

I don't care what "pornography" was literally was derived from... It's not about sex. It's about control, just like rape. Actors in porn images are doin' it for you the viewer, whether by force or for pay (the writings of prostitutes? maybe there's prostitution on both sides of the camera).

There is plenty of erotic imagery and writing that is more accessible from alternate points of view. In this sort of work, people are doin' it because they like it, and would be acting that way whether anyone was watching or not. Hence there are no awkward poses (that aren't functional in some way), fewer props, less playing to the camera, and faces are concealed. It's not about specific individuals, but rather about an experience. The bodies become symbols and archetypes, the actions become fantasies and metaphors. This allows the viewer to become a participant rather than an audience. Erotic, yeah... t

Andrew McLeod , Aug 23, 2002; 04:48 p.m.

Oo. Good point tom.

John Kantor , Aug 23, 2002; 10:58 p.m.

So voyeurism is the only true erotica?

Glenn Travis , Aug 24, 2002; 07:04 a.m.

Given the current state of western culture and it's oh so popular media blitz, I have to ask, did all of you just fall off a turnip truck?

Andrew McLeod , Aug 24, 2002; 10:01 a.m.


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