Thursday, November 17, 2005

Interview Update

Ok, so I actually had more time than I thought, so I've included some more thoughts on the questions Bailey asked me during the cell interview.

1. On Nekkid With A Camera NOT being included on an international list of art blogs:
While I object to his reasoning behind why that didn’t include my blog (my work is smut and therefore not art), I don’t disagree with his decision to not include it; Nekkid with a Camera isn’t a great blog. At least, not right now. It’s too self-serving. I started it to show work I couldn’t show elsewhere, which, at that time, was everywhere. It lacks a focus and commitment that I think it vital to a really fantastic blog. I think in time, after I graduate in December, I might retool it, post more work, post some written work, and such. It has potential. But right now, its not so hot, no pun intended.

Going back to this man’s reasoning, there are a lot of people, I’m sure, who will immediately write off my work as “smut” not worthy of any artistic merit. I’m not saying that to defend myself, but to defend smut. I think people who have opinions about pornography do so in response to what the pictures symbolize or communicate, rather than the pictures themselves. When I started the project, I ignored all that. I just wanted to focus on the aesthetic, to see the pictures as pictures. If you cut away all the social elements, the stigmas, the money, the intent, and just see these pictures as photographs, what are you left with? It’s a model, usually a woman, posed, impeccably lit and made-up, and the “merit” of the photograph comes from capturing her figure. How is that any different from traditional fine art nude photography? Photographers who work for magazines like "Playboy" or "Hustler" are still photographers. Heck, Helmut Newton shot for "Playboy", and we see him as an artist.

2. On a gender bias towards myself and my work:
Of the criticism that I’ve heard, I don’t think there’s a gender bias because there hasn’t been enough. The only thing that stands out to me was a three word review by a blogger I don’t really care about, who said my work was “cropped, cramped, and graceless”. Whatever-consider the source. I’m not that bothered by it. But I don’t think that comment had anything to do with the fact that I’m female. For the comments that surely exist that I HAVEN’T heard, if they’re anything like what that photographer said, then obviously, there is. But I can only speculate.

I’ve received a lot of praise, which I’m incredibly flattered by, but even those comments don’t fixate on my sex. If anything, they mention how young I am--I’m only 21. That’s not to say that people can’t approach and read my work from a gendered or feminist perspective. One COULD think about the sexual hierarchies I “circumvent or undermine or attempt to dismantle”--I’m a woman “objectifying” men rather than the other way around, or I'm a female artist doing a job dominated by men capturing a subject associated with men. One COULD argue that because I’m a woman, I show sympathy towards my female models, and thus I’m not really exploiting them or their sexuality. One COULD argue that by being a female working with a subject that has a history of objectifying women, my work is a form of empowerment-disempowerment. None of this is new and exclusive to my work. These are things that have been said about nearly every female artist at some time or another. They’re tired arguments. I wasn’t going for any of that. I just wanted to focus on natural sex, raw or intimate. But I know I can’t escape those kinds of comments because I’m female. Think male artists who captured tradiaitonally “female” subjects experienced the same thing? Probably not.


Blogger Jay said...

I personaly like your work and dont view it as smut anything a photographer does is art if he or she sees it that way I dont have to money for fancy equipment of the abilty to print my own photos for fine art as they say but i take good pics that i consider my art. I've married and its hard for me to find models to work with. as someone starting out people would just consider me a pervert which I am but also an artist.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Samantha Wolov said...

don't worry, mapplethorpe didn't do his own developing or printing either. and yes, art is whatever you think art is--that's the beauty of it. but good for you for experiementing with this! don't worry about what other people think. just have fun (but try to avoid anything illegal or anything that would hurt someone else)

good luck!

11:07 PM  

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