There is much focus on photography of the erotic kind this month with Molly’s February Photofest. I see lovely pictures all over my timeline on twitter and on my blog feed. I am sorry not to be taking part as I have enjoyed the photography that we have done. I am currently at a hiatus with it, and that disappoints me a little as, for a while it, was something that I enjoyed. That is not to say that we will not take any more erotic photos, and indeed I have wondered if I pull back on my interpretation of erotic, if that will allow me to participate, but that is me trying to bend the rules to suit myself, and it is not really something that should be done.
I have always loved erotic photography, however, what one person considers erotic may not be viewed in the same way by others, and this is where I have come unstuck. The age-old debate of art versus porn is one which lives on, and affects not just photography, but other media such as writing as well. It is the fear of how some of my ‘art’ would be viewed which is the key reason that I have had to rethink the content I am sharing. It is not the fear of being judged myself, I am happy to take on the argument on a personal level, but professionally it would mean our livelihood was at stake so it is not a risk that is sensible to take any longer.
While some of the pictures we have taken could be considered as erotic, others would probably fall into the nude photography and the pornographic categories, certainly if viewed out of context, which they might be. Because it is a personal thing, of course, we would defend our view, but the images speak for themselves and so would the interpretation of those who happened upon them. I suppose if it was not subjective, and there were clear guidelines, it would make things easier, but probably even to pose for something erotic would be deemed inappropriate and unacceptable. To be cropped away until the merest trace of our story remains, ends up feeling pointless and a weak substitute for where we want to be.
What is a pity is that what can’t be seen in the images is the positive impact that it has had on me. It is something that we have not only come to enjoy with each other, but also something which has been personally healing for me. As I said earlier, I have always enjoyed looking at erotic images and used to wish I was able to be someone who could be photographed in that way. For a short time, I felt that I was doing just that, and the positive feedback that I got inspired me to go further and further with it. I will admit that not all the images were great and not all were erotic, but I felt good about them all and that was a significant step for me.
The creative process has also been something that I have enjoyed and learnt a lot from. Editing is not something I had ever done before, but it did show me how I could turn something which I didn’t much care for in its raw form, into something which I liked the look of. Changing light and colour, cropping and adding a filter to a picture has let me become someone who’s image I am happier to see, and that has been a huge thing. Taking pictures outdoors has also allowed me to push boundaries and has made me more comfortable with my own body in a lot of ways.
I feel more than a little sad to think of the images sitting in the folder, never to see the light of day, but perhaps that is how it has to be for now. Hopefully we will continue to take pictures of, and for, each other and will find some way of celebrating what that means to us, even if it is not in a public way. I know that HL is really missing it as it fulfilled part of his exhibitionist side. I did point out that I wasn’t sure if it counted if I was the one being exhibited, but none-the-less, it met a need which will no doubt find an out through another means. So while this may not be the forum, having had a short shot of the erotic, it is something we would like to continue in some form.
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