Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

Unlike most of the porn I post–which tend to be images with a certain audacity I appreciate, honest immediacy I crave or a libidinous savoir faire that resonates strongly with my own weird desires–I think this image ticks all the right boxes but also suggests something about the nature of the question of pornography vs art.

This image is constructed to convey context. I love that with the exception of the woman in the pink blouse’s left flip-flopped foot, both women are presented in their bodily entirety within the frame.

It’s not just my own personal preference here. Pornography–and especially pornographic moving images–there is this tendency of embodying the laziest and worst short cuts offered up by cinema. Establishing shots that suggest the scene is in a famous city that then later cuts to environs built up in sterile soundstage; or, worse, the excessive use of close-up inserts (a tact which only works when kept to a bare minimum since each instance is intended to cause the viewer to take special notice of the object or action depicted, porn tends to gravitate towards something on the order of 65% inserts–pun intended, sorrynotsorry.)

From the standpoint of form, it’s sloppy technique. But, since the advent of DVD players–if not before–a viewer has been able to zoom in on a portion of the frame at will. With the telescoping of increasingly absurd resolutions, there’s really no reason to have a scene play out in extreme close-up. With moderate thought given to composition and blocking, a wide shot could be filmed in such a way that it could subsequently be parsed by the viewer to focus on what interests them.

Back to the question of pornography vs art. I think a better dichotomy might be questioning whether the image is a document or a product. Let’s use the above as an example to show how such an analysis might go.

This is clearly someone’s back yard. And that invites questions of public vs private–in this case a private space that verges on public. The down tilt of the camera emphasizes this. It’s not quite high enough to be the view of a neighbor looking over their fence–but it’s still not entirely possible to shake that feeling that the camera is a stand-in for a voyeur. (In and of itself, the camera functioning as a voyeur does not exclude the the image from being a document. However, in this case, the fact that the woman in the pink top has carefully pulled her hair over her right shoulder so as not to block the camera’s field of view.

Given the absence of body hair, my gut is that this is intended as less a document than a product. Yet, I’m not completely willing to disqualify it from being a document. The use of color is mad on-point. The spectrum of reds–hair, lips, respective skin tone, bricks; greens–bushes, grass, cucumber; the pastel magenta shirt and the aquamarine cushion. There’s also that super-saturated, contrast-y color you get when it’s overcast.

Also, the composition doesn’t quite work–the brushed nickle lighting pylon and the windows and bricks, skew the balance so that frame right is almost twice as heavy as frame left. Still, it’s a solid idea with better than average execution.

Given the opportunity this is exactly the sort of scene I’d like to use as inspiration for a fine art image.

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