Molhada & Quente – Untitled (2014)
I’ve mentioned my fascination with depictions of ejaculation several times. Mostly it’s the synesthesia wherein watching ejaculation results in a sympathetic resonance. Even without that freezing the essentially random trajectories and their illustrative fluid dynamics is just fucking endlessly intriguing to me. (Further, I think due to the customary highfalutin pretense of fine art photography wanting to explore questions of pornography without being pornographic has caused ejaculation to be a woefully under explored photographic motif.)
I have mixed feelings about the above image. On the con side of things:
- the close-up framing diminishes contextual clues as to locations and circumstances
- in tandem with the shallow, low contrast tonal range there is an even further disjunction from interpretable visual cues–rendering the image little more than blow job on a beach.
- if proximity to the subject comprises a spectrum of voyeur to participant, the camera is–in this case–without question: participant.
By the same token, most of the cons also contribute–at least tacitly–to a knee-jerk efficacy. For example:
- Although the close-up is a poor creative decision, it does bestow depth and dimensionality to the stream of semen.
- the tonal range is distinctly reminiscent of some early twentieth century photographer whose name–despite four cups of coffee–I cannot currently retrieve.
- the caption accompanying and the Molhada & Quente’s mission statement–which I have not reproduced here–it would seem the proximity of the camera to the action was intended more as POV documentation first for the couple and second for mass consumption.
It is entirely understandable why this was shot the way it was–arguably even justifiable. And I’ll never suggest it’s not an interesting image, though I would argue against suggestions it is good. My point is merely the potential for it to be good or even great is built-in. Should the camera have been backed two feet away from the proceedings, it would’ve been indubitably clear that this is public sex.
And I admit I am a context whore but in this case I thing more context also equals a more transgressive document–a result of which I will always be vociferously supportive.