Anastasia Chernyavsky – Untitled (20XX)
This image is fucking wonderful.
It’s also asynchronous with the rest of Chernyavsky’s work–which is muddled and features editing driven more by parental affection and a desire to bolster comparisons with Sally Mann any less by any demonstrably incisive curation.
However, I’m not as interested in commenting on all that. Instead, I’d like to address something else.
When it crossed my dash, this image was presented with the following attribution:
Please do NOT reblog on sex/porn-blogs, only art photography blogs please.
Forgive me if I stumble here… but, while I feel both ill-equipped to articulate my objections, such no sex/porn blog caveats REALLY perturb the goddamn fucking shit out of me.
Although ideologically I take issue with copyright laws, it’s not that part of it that bothers me. Generally folks who are assholes about copyright laws tend to belong in the same category as bands who are assholes about file sharing, i.e. they fucking suck shit through a goddamn tube. But sure, if you don’t want your work posted anywhere without explicit written permission, that is absolutely the progenitor’s prerogative.
The part of it relating to either the tendency for stereotypical porn blogs to strip attribution/captions; or, worse: for entitled shitheads to project their creepy fantasies onto the images, is a reasonable motive for adding such a caveat. And by reasonable I mean I can’t really dispute it without sounding all #NotAllPorn/SexBlogs.
What irks me is this caveat is seeming tacked on as an afterthought meant to fill in gaps resulting from lazy and/or shoddy conceptualization.
First, there’s the question of what constitutes porn. In mid-1890’s Vienna, Klimt’s paintings were deemed pornographic. Same with Sally Mann and literally hundreds of other artists through history.
Similar to the exponential rate of technological advancement, the waiting period between art being deemed a pornographic outlier and it’s subsequent acceptance as art is shortening.
Which begs the question what the fuck is pornography even? The most insightful and compelling handling of the subject I’ve ever seen is Beatrix Preciado’s Museums, Urban Detritus and Pornography. (Note: for the purposes of this blog, I generally use the term ‘pornography’ in relationship to prurient and/or obscene materials without any sort of judgment with regards to merit and ‘porn’ in regards to prurient and/or obscene materials the creation of which is driven primarily by the profit motive.)
There are entirely too many Tumblr image makers who produce work motivated primarily by a profit motive–be it monetary or reputational–who although their work is porn dictate that the work not be reblogged to porn/sex blogs. (I’ve little but two big middle fingers and an emphatic fuck you to such wankers.)
Ultimately, my biggest objects is the simple fact that although it is never entirely possible to create an image that participates in the definition of the context within which it is viewed by an audience, all good and meritorious–by virtue of being good and meritorious, shapes enough of the context w/r/t how it is viewed/read that it will never suffer by juxtaposition with lesser/baser work.
So yeah, while I respect matters of consent more than just about anything, I’m calling bullshit. High art vs. low art snobbery is
just as bad, if not worse than fucking puritanical prudishness–because art folks really oughta know better.
Lastly, the attachment of the caveat to the above image particularly ruffles my feathers because I see zero indication that the author of the work felt a burning desire to clarify that her work isn’t porn. Hell, it’s not even pornographic.
Thus, someone along the way felt the need to impose their own moral imperative on the work. And that pisses me off because this work not only doesn’t need such bullshit projections, it has no room for them.