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Glamour & Fashion photographer from London, ON, Canada

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Last call for Lap Dances in Fredericton, NB

City of Fredericton Buys Strip Club, Shuts it Down

The following article describes how the Fredericton, NB city council voted to buy and then subsequently shut down and demolish the city's only strip club in an effort to "clean-up" the town. The city will over-pay for the property to the tune of $135,000 and put several people out of work while shutting down a legally operating business.  I found this article particularly interesting considering my last blog's very theme was power and corruption.  I guess the "morally superior" aren't restricted to imposing their puritan agenda on the world wide web.  Now you can vote them into your city councils and they'll decide for you, what you should or shouldn't be doing with your spare twoonies, and for the employees of the club, how you should or shouldn't make a living.  Looks like the residents of Fredericton better hold onto their money though.  If the council keeps making decisions like this one, there will be a hefty budget deficit and more unemployed people for the town to support.  I guess the consequence of the city council's need to purify it's electorate from the evils of things like nudity and sexually has come at a cost both socially and economically.

[link] 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Power, Corruption & Eric Cartman

In 1887, John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, sent a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in which he uttered the now famous quote "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  This is not to be confused with a speech given by William Pitt, the Elder, the Earl of Chatham, and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778 to the House of Lords in 1770 which stated "Unlimited Power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who posses it."  So why the history lesson you ask?  And what do these men, who both have ridiculously long names, have to do with Officer Eric Cartman from South Park?

Whether it's social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, portfolio management sites like Flickr or DeviantArt, or even just creating and managing a list of favs on sites like Youtube, most of us are involved in some way in these massive sub-communities on the world wide web.  And it's pretty obvious to most of us what advantages this easy access to an incredible amount of content that these online communities offer.  However, one of the problems that arise from the sheer size and amount of the content that is available, is that sites like Facebook or Flickr for example, do not have the means to evaluate and regulate every single photo, video, or blog that is uploaded.  The daunting task of trying to review every single piece of content added to the 750 million Facebook profiles for instance, would be close to impossible.  You'd need a large team of monkeys.  So sites like these have passed off a large portion of the responsibility of policing the communities content to the end user.  You and me.  So I ask the question... are YOU qualified to do this?

For anyone who hasn't had a chance to see the episode of South Park where Eric Cartman is deputized, the end result, although entertaining, is a mirror for what I believe is happening in many of our online communities, and unfortunately, are growing attitudes beyond the anonymity of the internet.  Cartman immediately begins abusing his power and authority.  He is clearly not qualified or trained to make the important decisions necessary to police a community.  His tactics are thuggish and he merely abuses everyone simply because he can.  Cartman falsely believes that because he has been granted this power, that his authority is immediately respected and not earned.

I've stated this many times and in many different forums.  My policy is "If you don't like it... don't look at it."  Seems simple enough.  We do this everyday without thinking about it.  For instance, if you are a little squeamish about some of the violent interactions between animals that are often shown on channels like Nature, or Discovery, then I would imagine that right before the Lion rips out the throat of a Thompson's Gazelle, you'd probably change the channel.  We make decisions about what movies to watch, what magazines to buy or what music to listen to based on our own personal tastes which are inevitably linked to our moral sensibilities.  I would hope that most people would not make the conscious decision to watch a horror movie, and then complain to the management afterwards because they saw blood in it.  That would just be asinine.  So what I don't understand is why when we see something we don't like on a site such as Facebook, why do we not just keep on truckin' as we would if watching TV?  I think our friends Lord Acton and William Pitt have the answer to that question.

We've become a community of wimps and winers.   We believe that for some reason out of the almost 7 billion internet users world wide, our individual delicate sensibilities are not allowed to be trampled on for any reason....EVER.  We believe that 'our' morality is the only one, and the correct one.  So instead of clicking, Next, Block, Unfriend, etc, it's more satisfying to impose our own brand of Officer Eric Cartman justice and bully our internet 'Friends' into following the moral and aesthetic code that we deem acceptable.  This was hard lesson learned by a group on Facebook who's content was removed after complaints were filed because there were photos of women breast feeding on the page.  This begs the obvious question... what were these people doing on a page about breast feeding, if they are offended by the concept?  I think one of the worst aspects of this blatant censorship imposed by amateur, self-righteous, incompetent, thugs, is that it is done anonymously.  I think there would be a lot less 'judging' going on if the person had to stamp their name beside the fact that you reported someone's  photos for example.  Instead these acts are effortlessly carried out by cowards and goons.

For this reason, sites like Facebook, Flickr, etc. have become increasingly less appealing.  I don't want to be part of a community that encourages the cowardly and anonymous enforcement of censorship and moral judgments without any chance for an open debate and a clear cut guideline for what is acceptable and what is not.  And therein lies the problem... who is going to decide what is acceptable and what is not for the World Community?  It's an impossible task.  Unless of course you're one of the people who like to police the internet on sites like Facebook for content that you deem unacceptable... then the answer is easy.  Then the answer is whatever you say it is.  I can't even begin to imagine where that kind of mentality comes from.  Ah yes... Lord Acton, you are correct once again. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nice Photog's Finish Last

I spend a lot of time on DeviantArt.  Too much time in fact.  And today as I was perusing through the mounds of content I happen to stumble upon this journal entry.  Now, it should be said that I don't normally pay much attention to this kind of stuff.  It's usually the cute and sappy crap that people post in their facebook status and tell everyone else to "post this in yours if you feel the same way."  And no matter what the cause or how true the statement is, I usually don't participate.  It's my own little quiet act of defiance against the multitude of people who so sheepishly jump head first onto the band wagon.  However... I read this and realized how much it echoed my own personal experiences, not only as a 'guy', but for the purposes of the this blog as a photographer as well.  It reads:   

To Every Guy,

♥ To every guy that said, "Sex can wait"...
♥ To every guy that said, "You're beautiful"...
♥ To every guy that was never too busy to drive across town to see her...
♥ To every guy that gives her flowers and a card when she is sick or down...
♥ To every guy who has given her flowers just because that's how he rolls...
♥ To every guy that said he would die for her...
♥ To every guy that really would...
♥ To every guy that did what she wanted to die for...
♥ To every guy that cried in front of her...
♥ To every guy that she cried in front of...
♥ To every guy that holds hands with her.
♥ To every guy that kisses her with meaning..
♥ To every guy that hugs her when she's sad...
♥ To every guy that hugs her for no reason at all...
♥ To every guy who would give their jacket up for her...
♥ To every guy that calls to make sure she got home safe...
♥ To every guy that would sit and wait for her for hours just to see her for ten minutes...
♥ To every guy that would give his seat up...
♥ To every guy that just wants to cuddle...
♥ To every guy that reassured her that she was beautiful no matter what...
♥ To every guy who told his secrets to her...
♥ To every guy that showed how much he cared through every word and every breath...
♥ To every guy that thought maybe this could be the one...
♥ To every guy that believed in her dreams...
♥ To every guy that would have done anything so she could achieve them...
♥ To every guy that never laughed at her when she told him her dreams...
♥ To every guy that walked her to her car and opened the door...
♥ To every guy that gave his heart...
♥ To every guy who prays that she is happy even if he's not with her...
_____________________________________________________

Not many girls appreciate nice guys anymore. And because of this, there are not many left out there. I guarantee 90% of the men on your page will not repost this because they care more about their image.

- If you are a nice guy, repost this in your journal with the title: "Nice guys STILL finish last";

- If you are a girl that thinks every guy should treat a girl this way, repost this in your journal with the title: "To Every Guy".

Because that's how it should be.

*Here's a link to the original poster on DeviantArt.com [Link]*

I have probably done every single one of the things on that list and it's pretty safe to say that it hasn't really gotten me anywhere.  It also made me think about what other things I could add to it that were more 'photo' specific... hmmm?


♥ To every photographer who worked for free because he knew you couldn't afford to pay him...
♥ To every photographer who lent you his wardrobe/props because you didn't have any of your own...
♥ To every photographer who worked with a model that wasn't going to benefit him in any way, but did it just to be nice...
♥ To every photographer who kept some of his best work from public view because he knew that you didn't want nude photos on the internet...
♥ To every photographer who still kept those same photos from public view even after you stabbed him in the back for no reason...
♥ To every photographer who removed images from his portfolio when you asked him to, even though he didn't have to...
♥ To every photographer who took abuse from jealous, possessive, and controlling boyfriends or husbands, even though it was your decision to pose nude, not mine...


If I sat here for a couple hours, I'm sure I could think of some others.  Not going to bother.  Feel free to add some of your own.  I'd love to hear them.











Monday, April 25, 2011

You've Got Sand in Your Crotch

When I was 18, my best friend went on a trip to Florida with a girl that was his high school sweetheart at the time along with her family.  They packed 7 people into a early 90's Chevy model conversion van and headed down I-75 to Fort Myers Florida for they're annual trip. (*insert music for National Lampoon's Vacation starring Chevy Chase here*)  Before leaving, my best friend asked me if there was anything that I wanted him to bring me back seeing as I had never been there.  Truth be told, 20 years later, I've still never been to Florida.  I've never been South of Dayton Ohio for that matter.  Anyway, I'm sure my response to his question was something of a smart-assed answer in the form of "bring me back a hot girl in a biniki" or something to that effect.  Unfortunately, when they returned I did not get a hot girl in a bikini.  What I did get was an alligator paw back-scratcher and postcard.  As interesting as an amputated Alligator paw that was shellacked and jammed onto the end of a piece of bamboo might sound, it was actually the postcard which garnered most of my attention.  The title on the front of the post card was "Shake n Bake" and featured nothing more than 2 very round, very beautiful, female bums that were lightly dusted in an even coat of sand.  I'll admit that at the time I thought this was just plain awesome!  They're skin was tanned and slightly shiny and they had two of the most perfectly round asses I had ever seen.  And the tease of their sandy bums amounted to nothing less than photographic perfection to an 18 year old Canadian kid who had never been to sunny Florida.

Fast forward almost 20 years and it's amazing how little some things have changed.  If my best friend were on his way somewhere warm and asked if I wanted anything, my answer would invariably be the same.  However, if he was going to send me a postcard I must admit that a pair of perfectly round bottoms would be just fine, although, minus the sand please.  Maybe I'm just getting old and the carefree innocence of rolling around naked in the sand has lost it charm, but I can't help but think of the practical and inevitably 'gritty' side effect of doing so.  As a result, this idea is no longer as sexy as it once was.

As a photographer, I spend a fair amount of time looking at other peoples work both for the enjoyment of it and for inspiration.  As a glamour and fashion photographer the work that I like to create and see created by other people often has a certain sexiness to it and that sexiness usually comes in the form of a female model.  But as with many of photography's cliché concepts, the depiction of a model either nude or clothed rolling around in the sand is tired and worn out, and in my particular case has lost it's appeal.

I guess there is a significant amount of personal taste associated with whether you like these types of images, but aside from their obvious unoriginal theme, I can't help but hope that the models don't spend weeks trying to extract all the sand from their various nooks & cranny's.  I think it's that very idea that stops me from liking those types of photos.  If I were running along the beach one day and a very beautiful and naked, but sand encrusted woman stopped me and insisted that I 'take' her right then and there, I can't help but wonder if I would stop and brush all the sand off of her first. :P

Just a little insight into my wacky world on a Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Disrespectful

It goes without saying that the digital age has had a profound impact on almost every facet of our daily lives.  The world of photography has certainly benefited from the technology and ease with which images can now be captured, stored, displayed, and reproduced.  However, one of the negative aspects of this accessibility is the lack of proper respect for the art itself.  The nature and ease of digitally captured images has given the end user that ability to manipulate photographic works of art to suit their own needs or desires despite, and sometimes in spite of the artists/photographers original vision.

All of my works of photographic art are edited, cropped, and named in a specific and intentional manner of my choosing.  However, I have seen several disconcerting examples where people have changed the name of some of my works to something else, resized the photos to such an extent that it looks terrible, cropped my images without permission and usually to the detriment of the image itself, and in a few rare examples, convert a colour image to black & white or vice versa.   

Making these kinds of changes is incredibly disrespectful to the photographers that labour to produce the images.  Would you buy a painting from a local artist, then right in front of him/her take out a paint brush and slap on a few strokes of your own?  I should hope not.  My guess is that most people probably never considered any of this when they did their own little modifications.  But needless to say I take offence to this practice.  Not only is it disrespectful to me and to the art, but if these modified versions are displayed publicly, (and they often are via sites like Facebook) they are now a representation of my abilities as a photographer.  I have yet to see a single example where these changes have improved one of my photographs, on the contrary, in all cases they have done just the opposite.  So in addition to disrespecting the work, these "modified" versions of my photos are now a misrepresentation of me as an artist.
 
Unless someone comes out with a digital photo format that cannot be tampered with, this is something that photographers will have to contend with.  So I present my comments as a moment of clarity to the uneducated masses.

Maybe I should start shooting Daguerreotypes instead.  

Monday, January 31, 2011

Showcase - Ruslan Lobanov

I thought in addition to my ramblings, from time to time I would include a few works by photographers that I find inspiring.

First up is the Ukrainian photographer Ruslan Lobanov.  If there is a modern photographer who's style and vision I most admire right now it would be Ruslan.  It will not be an accident if you start to see some similar work coming from me in this year as he is a huge source of inspiration.  Here is a small sample of his work.
 








One of the many things I enjoy about Ruslan's work is the sense of authenticity that is present in his photographs with just the right amount of fantasy to entice the viewer.  It has a 'lifestyles of the rich and the famous' quality about it that gives us an apparent glimpse of world most of us will never know.  In Ruslan's photos it seems perfectly natural for his models to be nude or topless when walking the dog on a city street, riding their scooters or simply sitting on a park bench.  It suggests that these woman are so beautiful and fabulous that the normal rules don't apply.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Taste of Tomatoes

I hate tomatoes.  I've always hated them.  And I suspect that I always will.  As you get older, some foods you grow to like the taste of, but for me, tomatoes and I are destined to be enemies.  My best friend on the other hand loves them.  He'll bite into a ripe tomato as if it where an apple and thoroughly enjoys it.  And although I certainly do not share his affinity for tomatoes, somewhere back in the recesses of my brain it is possible for me to conceive the idea that other people enjoy the taste of them, even if I don't. 

I think its safe to say that similar experiences can be said for all of our senses.  Taste, touch, sound, & scent are easy senses to draw comparisons between each of our own likes and dislikes.  And to a greater degree, I believe it's easier  for all of us to relate to these shared experiences through the emotions they create.  Chocolate for instance, is an easy one to understand.  Most of us delight in a chocolate based treat from time to time and we can share this experience with each other through the understanding that the sensations and emotions that are produced from eating chocolate will be similar for you, as it is for me.  But what if someone didn't like the taste of chocolate?  Believe it or not, I once worked with a girl that didn't like the taste of chocolate and peanut butter together!  Gasp!  Can you imagine that?

Our senses create emotions and feelings as we react to the world around us.  Whether it is the music we hear, the food we eat, the odours we smell or the way in which we interact with each other through touch.  But what about sight?  The problem with sight, as I see it (no pun intended), is that it is impossible to see the world though someone else's eyes.  The feelings and emotions that are produced from visual stimulus is directly related to our individual life experiences.  Although it should probably be said that no two people will experience any emotions created by our senses exactly the same way, we at least have some common ground to draw from when relating to each other.  In large part, our similar shared experiences based on sensory input can be attributed the common biology we all share.  But we do not share our life experiences.  You have not seen what I have seen over the course of a lifetime and therefor, it is impossible to share that experience with me.

These life experiences will ultimately have an impact on the 'tastes' we develop.  Whether it's taste in music, literature or art.  Tastes in clothes, cars, or furniture.  Even the tastes we develop for certain types of people, physical appearances or personalities.  The interesting observation here is that it is completely and totally useless for people to argue about taste, but yet we do it all the time.  It happens quite frequently in the art world and in particular with media that are created for visual stimulus such as paintings, sculpture or photography.  Our feelings and emotions that are created by our sensory inputs are as subjective as the art itself.  I have no more right to tell you how to 'feel' about a particular piece of art than I do to tell you that you should or shouldn't like the taste of tomatoes.  How ridiculous and asinine would it be for me to tell you that if you like the smell of vanilla, then you're horrible person, that there is obviously something morally wrong with you and that liking the smell of vanilla is just plain wrong.  Yet people do this very thing on photographs and art pieces without thinking twice.  If it is absurd for me to condemn you based on your preference for certain tastes, smells, or sounds, then why is it not equally absurd for me to condemn you for your preference for certain visual stimuli like photographs or paintings?

I'm trying really hard not to wage into the whole art vs. porn debate, but this is ultimately what has sparked my ramblings today.  Peoples opinions about what is art, and what is porn are based on how they feel about the images they see.  It is the very same thing as how peoples opinions vary on what is better Coke or Pepsi.  It's all based on your own personal taste.  And in this particular case, those tastes are inevitably linked to ethics and morality.  If you don't like what you see, stop looking at it and move on.  Telling me that I should feel a certain way about the art that I choose to view and create is as useless and telling me that I should like the taste of tomatoes.  And you wouldn't do that.... would you?


     

Friday, January 14, 2011

*Live Nude Girls*

A question I am often asked is what it is like to photograph nude women.  People want to know about the awkwardness or if there is some sort of sexual tension.  Is there leering?  Is there touching?  Do I ever get 'aroused' during a shoot?  Has anything embarrassing ever happened?  Is it weird doing a nude photo shoot with people that I know?  Has an orgy ever spontaneously erupted?  I can understand the interest and curiosity.  We all want to know what goes on "behind the scenes."  So I thought I would take a moment and talk about my experiences.  But a word of warning.  Don't bust out the Vaseline and tissues just yet, because it's not what you may think.

Photo shoots, whether clothed or nude, contain many variables.  There's lighting and light modifiers, camera equipment, props, wardrobe, make-up, hair, the location and the models themselves are all part of what makes up a shoot.  Some are more complicated than others.  For instance, if you are shooting in a public place, you would have to be aware of what is going on around you, cars, other pedestrians etc.  If it is a nude shoot in a public place, you have to be on the look out for the police!  Things like the weather can change constantly and may effect how your shoot goes.  If you are shooting on a sunny day but there are a few clouds, the moments where the sun is blocked by the clouds will give you a completely different look.  Things like hair and wardrobe need to be constantly assessed.  Does the model have a tag sticking out of her underwear?  Did the wind just mess up the models hair and now she has a 'fly-away' that is stuck to her cheek?  And light.  Light is one of the single biggest aspects of what makes or breaks a shoot, and good photographers are constantly assessing it.  Some of these things are easier and more controllable in a studio environment or on a closed set somewhere, but the attention to detail should not be overlooked.

At this point you are probably saying.. "I thought this was an article about photographing nude people?"  My reason for explaining all of that is to try and illustrate the number of variables that photographers often face during the coarse of a shoot.  And that barely scratched the surface.  The reality is, there are too many other things going on during a professional photo shoot to stop and leer at the nude models.  My goal is to produce the best possible photos that I can and in order to do that, I need to give my full attention to all aspects of the shoot itself.  Having said that, it also means that during the coarse of a shoot, I am more likely to be thinking about light and shadows than I am to be thinking about the models tits and ass, which also means the chances for me to become aroused or create any sexual tension is slim to none.

The rapport I develope with the models is also a huge factor in the 'mood' that exists during a shoot.  Models are people, and like everyone else, they have their own individual personalities that will dictate how you interact with them.  Let me just say that again.  MODELS ARE PEOPLE!  The photographer is usually the one that sets the tone for the shoot and if you maintain a comfortable and professional environment then the experience should be an enjoyable one for both the photographer and the model, which ultimately should produce a better end result.  Many of the models I have worked with and photographed nude are people I have known prior to photographing them and I can't honestly say that it has ever been an awkward experience.  I make a conscious effort to try and create an environment that doesn't make it awkward for people.  I'm not going to give a tutorial on what you should or shouldn't say or how to behave during a shoot, but for me, maintaining a comfortable and safe environment is important to not only create good photographs, but to uphold my reputation.  So things like touching a model are rare and only happen if it is mutually agreed upon.

As for spontaneous orgies... well I can't honestly say that has happened to me.  I'm sure if you're Nigel Barker, you've probably had a few models throw themselves at you.  The photo shoots I have been involved in are comfortable, fun, and sometimes sexy, but not often sexual.  If you want to gawk at some live nude girls and maybe feel a little 'randy', you might as well just go to the strippers.  Nude photo shoots are hard work and take a lot of concentration.  Don't get me wrong, I consider myself lucky to be able to do what I do.  But it's not the sexually charged, boner filled, drool-fest that some people imagine it to be.  Which is probably just as well because I don't think my camera is waterproof and I don't like wearing steel underwear.               

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nerds or Pornographers

If you visit one of my online portfolio sites such as ModelMayhem or DeviantArt you will often find a small disclaimer in my bio indicating that I am not interested in working with male models.  The reason for this is simple and rather obvious.  They don't interest me.  During a recent discussion about this very fact with a hair stylist and fellow colleague, it was suggested that having a few male models in my portfolio would "round it out" and possibly make it more appealing to prospective female models and clients.  The idea being that women who viewed my portfolio, and saw that I photographed more than just other women in various states of undress, would be less likely to see me a pornographer and feel more comfortable working with me without the associated connotation.  I have to admit that this notion has stuck with me for a couple of days and I feel there might be some validity to the claim of my colleague.  

Nerds or pornographers.  Two labels that could seemingly sum up all the people involved in the practice of taking photographs.  The latter of the two usually being reserved for male photographers in particular.  There is often no redeeming social value given to someone who owns a camera and takes photographs.  I find my self constantly defending or legitimizing what I do in a preemptive strike against the impending moral judgment that often accompanies my introduction as a 'Glamour Photographer.'  I personally don't see a lot more social value in someone who gets paid millions of dollars to chase a rubber puck around a sheet of ice for 60 minutes.  But I bet Sidney Crosby has never had to defend his choice to be a professional hockey player or legitimize what he does.

The struggle to maintain some semblance of artistic legitimacy has not come without cause.  Within the industry and art form, there are lots of unfortunate examples of people who undertake the process of photography with no other purpose than to expand their own personal porn collections.  These people are known as GWC's (which stands for 'Guy With Camera').  This is someone who's sole purpose for owning and using a camera is to convince their models to disrobe, and in the ultimate scenario, use the intimate nature of the interaction as a precursor to sex.  Basically, these guys are douchebags.  It's the poor man's version of buying a sports car with the hopes that it will get you laid.  But a DSLR is a lot cheaper than buying a Ferrari.  The unfortunate part is the damage that people like this do to the legitimacy of the art form and the photographers involved in it.

This all brings me back to the original suggestion that a more well-rounded portfolio is an indication of a "safer" and more respectable photographer.  Although on the surface, that is probably true, I personally find it somewhat offensive and ridiculous.  With every new model or client that I meet, I find myself going through the dance of explaining, convincing, reassuring that I am not one of the above mentioned people.  The assumption is often being made that because I have made a choice to work with female models exclusively, that I must be a pervert.  Even a master like Helmut Newton gave up at one point and started calling himself a pornographer because he was sick of having to defend his work and some of the labels that were associated with it.

It would be interesting to get the female perspective on this, especially from women who don't know me or haven't worked with me professionally.  To me it's a classic case of judging a book by it's cover.  My portfolio is my book.  What does that tell you about me?                  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why do we care?

For my first blog of 2011, I was trying to think of good topic to start the year off.  I came across an interesting article by a Toronto photographer, Andrew Mann, that discusses the age old debate of trying to define the difference between art and pornography.  Although I thoroughly enjoying reading Andrew's comments, this so called "hot topic" in the art community is becoming old and tired in my opinion.  My initial reaction to the article was for me to weigh in with my own two cents of worthless opinion, but after pausing for a moment I couldn't help thinking that it is really another example, of a number of different issues, that we seem to care about, when I think the real question we should be asking is why?  Why do we care?  What difference is it really going to make if once and for all we can define the difference between erotic art and porn?  The obvious futile nature of the debate really makes me wonder why we do spend so much time and energy on the topic.  The subjectivity of art will ALWAYS prevent this question from being answered definitively.  Standards about what is acceptable vary from country to country, state to state, city to city and even within parts of a specific community, not to mention, that these changes in standards also occur over time.  What I consider art, you may consider porn.  What was considered porn in the 1920's would be tame by todays standards.

It all brings me back to my initial question... why do we care?  Why, as a community, do we spend so much time worrying about what everyone else is doing or thinking?  Why do we spend all this time and energy trying to impose our own personal, political or religious views on our neighbours and then vilifying and policing those that do not share our opinions?  We like to pat ourselves on the back and pretend like we live in a society that embraces change and diversity.  But the reality is, we don't seem to have a lot of tolerance for people who are different from ourselves in some way.  A quick glance at one of the various online art portfolio sites like DeviantArt.com for instance, is an interesting place to see the anonymity of the internet at work, allowing people from around the world to pass judgment and condemn those who do not share their own particular view.  I see images on sites like this all the time that "I" would consider questionable, and certainly do not see them as "art."  But I also realize that I have made a conscious choice to visit that site and view those web pages, which ultimately means I have to accept responsibility for being there whether I like what I see or not.  On a few rare occasions I have had people tell me that what I do isn't art.  Fair enough.  I respect your right to have an opinion, but what amazes me about this type of interaction is that the person leaving me these messages is under the misconception that I care about what they think.  Which inevitably leads me back to asking why do they care? 

I've tried to take an "if I don't like it.. don't look at it" approach to viewing other peoples work.  As opposed to looking at it, getting angry and then telling them that they are wrong for creating such images and are horrible human beings for doing so, which seems to be the sentiment of many of the moral authority types that feel the need to leave their opinions.  It's like a vegetarian going to a restaurant that they know serves meat, and then getting angry when the person next to them orders a steak.  Mmmm... steak.

My point is, I think we all spend a little too much time worrying what other people are doing or thinking.  Christians spend too much time worrying about who isn't a Christian.  Conservatives spend too much time worrying about who isn't right wing.  Homophobes spend too much time worrying about who is gay.  Art Nude Photographers spend too much time worrying about Glamour Nude Photographers who think their work is considered fine art.  Who cares?  The answer is, we do.  So the real question is, why?

I leave it to you to decide.