Danilo Pasquali – from Bagno (2010)

As far as explicit images go, depictions of masturbation are among my favorites. On that level at least, I find this interesting.

And I’m not sure I want to go full-blown feminist killjoy screaming exploitation every time I run across something sexually provocative but something about this really sketches me out.

It’s partly the composition–was it really necessary to frame the water streaming over her genitals at the exact fucking center of the frame?!?!!

And partly that fact that this is meant to convey the notion of masturbation, it’s clearly staged. Fake–not a problem in itself  I suppose, despite my distaste for affectation.

What irks me is the feeling–despite the compositional flaws, this image is as superior to any of the others in the series as it is more blatantly sexual–that depicting masturbatory tableau was the aim of the shoot but that wasn’t conveyed to young woman.

More likely, during the shoot Mr. Pasquali asked the model to pose as if she was using the faucet to masturbate. She probably didn’t think much of it and may have not been displeased with the final results. To me there is something untoward and skin-crawlingly sleazy about that sort of disregard for personal integrity.

Beyond that it even has an effect on the image. The position of the body reads masturbating with a faucet head. Nothing else about it conveys any sort of derivation of pleasure–except on the part of the person holding the camera.

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