Club SeventeenTitle unknown feat. Tamara F (2013)

Ever since this post when I consume porn, I remind myself to pay attention to how the staging of a scene in relationship to the camera makes me feel about what I’m viewing.

Interestingly, scenes like this where the proceedings are cheated toward the camera to provide a clear and unobstructed view for the audience appeal to me more than scenes created by either a montage of various heterosexual erogenous signifiers or scenes that pretend to take a fly on the wall approach to capturing the scene–by staging the action for a stationary camera that only faces in one direction, moves on one axis and switches between reframings of close-ups and medium shots. (And POV shots are usually a huge turn off.)

I think there’s something about the sense that this scene has been blocked in a theatrical fashion contributes something to both the notion that both participants want to be seen in flagrante delicito. That self-consciousness makes me feel as if–as a spectator–my participation is expected if not the point of the undertaking.

(FYI, I do think this same idea can be applied negatively given the surfeit of tales where the consent of femme performers on porn sets is not protected or respected.)

Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

As much as there are performative heteronormative expectations when it comes to the FMM threesome, i.e. it’s perfectly upstanding, straight and good as long as penii don’t touch…

…it’s not something I’ve ever understood. But this makes me think about the mechanics of what porn instructs is the most common bodily configuration for two penis-havers engageing with a vagina-haver.

Like the owner of the lower cock is mostly passive. (If you’ve ever seen these scenes, it’s nearly impossible to get a workable rhythm going and the movement of the person in the middle is only really compatible with the person who is able to thrust and retract.

Second–while any sort of consensual sexual sensitivity is good in my book–there’s a way in which this configuration almost certainly amplifies the sensation of the person in the middle. Two of three orifices are full and there is skin to skin contact in both directions. That alone would be an emotional and intense feeling for me–even before you got down to whether it was pleasurable.

Then there’s also the way that in the heteronormative world there’s this proscription against penii touch. (For that reason I’m always interested in depictions of vaginal double penetration.)

But the rear wall of the vagina and the back wall of the anal cavity are not actually that thick, so there’s almost certainly a way that although penii aren’t touching they are engaged in conversation through a screen–like a supplicant confession to priest.

If any one of the the three orgasms, the body cavity they are inside would server as a resonating chamber of sorts.

And I think that’s why I end up looking at a lot of group sex porn–it’s not the fantasy of the explicit exchange that entices me, it’s the ease with which this sort of thing is depicted in pornography and the fact that that ease of trust and intimacy is nothing something I’ve ever known (or, unfortunately, am ever likely to know).

Nobuyoshi Araki Untitled (19XX)

After college, I moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I’m not talking McGuinness & Nassau, either. We’re talking practically under the Kosciusko Bridge.

It was a 15 minute walk to the Nassau G and either 13 or 18 (depending on traffic) to the Graham L.

By New York standards, my room was enormous. But I shared a wall with a Dave Grohl wannabe sax player who constantly practiced atonal three note arpeggios at odd hours.

I was only working part time and after commutation expenses, it was a struggle to make rent each month.

At the time, my significant other was in a similar place. We spent a lot of time walking–which really and truly is the best way to get to know this city. We’d hang out at hip bars sipping a beer between us. Anything that was free and appealed to our mutual creative predispositions was a draw. But if you’ve spent any time in this city, you know it’s not a place you want to be poor.

It took us two months to discover the New York Public Library. Not the one with the Lion’s guarding the stairs but the one that’s caddy corner and a block down. Over the next few months, we spent hours there pouring over their photography section.

We scanned work the likes of Steiglitz, Friedlander and Goldin.

Thing was–and I swear I’m circling back to the image above, hang in there–the selection lacked any sort of breadth and instead focused on an obsessive depth. The number of fucking Araki’s books exceeded a plethora to the exponent of plethora.

I remember three things about the work:

  1. An image like this except with an orange and black flower with petals more like a daisy and Araki himself squatting beside the suspended model.
  2. It was the only thing besides Goldin where sexuality figured in any denotative fashion in the photos,
  3. I preferred Goldin even though I found her work exploitative.

My opinion w/r/t Goldin has evolved rather dramatically; my thinking w/r/t Araki has, yes, shifted but it’s less pronounced and far more complicated to explain.

See: on a purely formal level his work is on-point. His compositions are impeccably executed and his work is hugely influential: would Wolfgang Tillmans be a name anyone knew if Araki hadn’t shot highly styles hair and eyes? Probably not. (Also, the shit he shoots that subtly skewers skewers fake sets in high profile fashion shoots–looking at you, Tim Walker–are about as good as polemical provocations get.)

I can’t even really argue that Araki should pursue more aggressive edits. If he’s published it, it’s almost certainly publication worthy. My primary continued objection to his work (beyond the aggressive heteronormativity of it) has to do–synchronously enough–with an idea I encountered more or less concurrent with my first encounter with the work: William Ian Miller’s The Anatomy of Disgust. In it he attempts to analyze why humans experience feelings of disgust.

One of his points is that profusion is–almost counter-intuitively–a potential locus for disgust. I don’t completely recall the rational underlying this assertion but it absolutely serves in application to my queasiness regarding Araki: there’s too much that’s too good.

The thing that’s especially galling is the fact that almost seems to be the point of the exercise. And I’m no less sure how I feel about that now than I did eight years ago.

Misattributed source; proper attribution sought (The furthest I can trace it is TinEye’s entry–dated January 11, 2011 on a now defunct Tumblr.)

Sometime before the October Revolution, filmmaker Lem Kuleshov made a short film. The film consisted of the same shot of Ivan Mousjoukine wearing a blank look interspersed with footage of a bowl of soup, a child in a coffin and a woman splayed on a couch.

Despite there being no difference in the footage of Mousjoukine, the audience was extremely impressed with the depth of his craft–feeling that he was hungry when he saw the soup, grief stricken upon seeing the dead child and highly desirous of the reclining woman.

Today, film studies peeps refer to this projection of the audiences feelings in response to an image onto an actor/surrogate as the Kuleshov Effect.

(I argue this interpretation stops short: that which precedes informs with regard to the nature of the seeing, what follows contextualizes what has preceded.)

In other words: my experiences/prejudices not only color but dictate to a great extent what I see.

For example: one person may read the above as a trite riff on fashion photography voyeurism, giving the finger to prevailing tendencies for female-bodied folk to be openly arranged and displayed.

Someone else could claim it has D/s overtones.

Still another might be triggered due to similarities between the depiction and memories of past abuse.

What I see ties into the emerging trend of referring to physical intimacy as ‘sharing’ your body. To the extent that this phrase functions as sharing something neither party can own, I find it conceptually fulfilling. When it comes across as this is my toy and I am only letting you use out of my heart’s boundless kindness, I begin to have problems.

To me, this toes the line from the side I endorse.

What do you see?

nymphoninjas:

nymphoninjas:

“And it will be more like a song, and less like its math

If you pull on my hair and bite me like that.” (Bright Eyes)

I used to submit my self shots, but now I have few reasons for submitting some I took of my partner.. first of all, there aren’t that many male submissions here usually and I don’t like this difference. this is quite generic view only. most personal is that I enjoy watching my partner playing with himself and it really turns me on. this time I took some pictures of the action..

It was a great Saturday afternoon and we had sex straight after this little shoot and few times later. different places, different intensity but all these were a real pleasure.

Absolutely gorgeous photo, I like everything about it from his sweet purple pants to her knees in the corner. Glad to hear you two are showing off for each other and documenting it, watching your partner get themselves off is pretty much the best way to learn about what they like and how to get them off. Sounds like you two had an amazing day, I’m quite jealous. I hope you two come back to share with us again, thanks again great job A+. 

This and Knitphilia’s Rape isn’t sexy, but being a survivor is are far-and-a-fucking-way my favorite Nympho Ninjas’ Submission Sunday contributions. (An aside: while I am guardedly supportive of the community surrounding NN it does–as an Asian-American–bother me the way ‘ninja’ is so casually appropriated.)

I don’t think this is an objectively good image. Further, pairing it with Conor Oberst’s self-important ravings borders on intolerable.  But, for all its flaws, it has something many more technically adept work lack: truthfulness–the frayed rag rug, messy hair, kick ass pants, beautiful light on the back of his right hand and knees jutting into the frame.

This is the first time in my life I have actually wished a depiction of male-bodied desire was of me–I almost globally identify with female-bodied depictions of desire. Here, I think it’s due to a mistaken notion that if I looked like this there’d might be a slightly better than impossible odds someone would find me attractive.

Source Unknown (Initial poster Scott Loves Cock, maybe?)

My reading of this runs pretty much like this: these two fellows are hanging out and one says: would you mind licking my balls while I masturbate.

I’m not going to lie: a world where desire was addressed in a similar fashion as admitting you’re hungry and inquiring if someone else is also. (By extension, the other person could not be hungry and it wouldn’t be a big deal that one party was and the other wasn’t.)

As fabulous as it all sounds–it’s a pipe dream for hundreds of reasons I can’t possibly get into here.

Here’s the knotty rub (pun maybe a little intended): part of the reason I see this image in the way I do is that I tend to perceive ‘gay’ porn as a cut above porn targeting straight men.

‘Gay’ pornography constitutes a fraction of my lifetime smut consumption, in truth. Whereas, I am familiar with the conventions of ‘straight’ porn: bronzed and muscle-bound male-bodied performer encounters buxom female-bodied performer in a perfectly mundane situation that might happen to anyone, things rapidly and unrealistically escalate and so begins ticking off check boxes on the list of things porn through nothing more than rote force of blind habit has convinced us ‘straight’ folks get off on seeing.

Not to even get into the issues surrounding privilege, objectification, exclusion, etc. & etc.

But as I am largely unfamiliar and therefore oblivious to comparable tropes in ‘gay’ porn, my impression is that ‘gay’ porn is more enjoyable for those who perform in it that is ‘straight’ porn.

It’s a well-intentioned enough view. However, at best it’s essentialist, at worst slut-shaming by proxy–the assumption being that because of the pervasive sexism in the porn, there is no way a woman can derive pleasure from her participation. (I am going to work on this, going forward.)

Finally, my reading presumes from a place of fundamental unknowing that there are no comparable politics of oppression acting in ‘gay’ porn. Just because I am unfamiliar with them doesn’t mean they do not exist. (I’m sure they do, in fact; history shows that as soon as something is commodified, means of exploiting the commodification for material gain come out of the fucking wood work.

Exclusive Teen PornTeen Threesome featuring Peach + Kyara (2012)

I would really rather skip the citations here because ExclusiveTeen Porn’s features a downright creepy website.

I am more surprised by how unsavory it is than I really should be considering my first reaction to this was SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!

But between the third and fourth syllable of ‘patriarchy’ I’ve registered the red outlining the lower crest of Peach’s right ear, pink flush speading through her checks. And Jesus Christ, her expression–eye closed, lips pressed hard against enamel. trying to focus on sensation, to concentrate to not lose the rhythm, holding out against surrender but want to fall hopelessly hard, now and forever.

My thoughts shift back to how bankrupt this is of artfulness or subtlety. Don’t get me wrong the more graphic the depictions of sex, the happier I am. But I just don’t see how this is anything other than an effort to cater to the basest aspects of what society whispers behind its hands is the stuff firing masculine sexuality. This fellow has two young women who are presented as focused on his sexual pleasure. (Admittedly, the rest of the series does pay lip service to an interest in the women’s pleasure.)

There’s momentary fluttery where I realize that Peach’s labia are just crowning the swollen corona of her lover’s erection and you can see his glans peaking out. That has to feel exquisite.

This isn’t art. Not even close. It’s not supposed to be. Ultimately though it’s like only being able to eat candy when you want something healthy and substantive.

I guess I just don’t understand how with a seemingly legit location with reasonable lighting and people who are willing to be photographed doing virtually anything, why more of a thought isn’t given to presentation.

Put another way: given all the same ingredients, I fundamentally believe it is possible to make art. The fact that no one ever tries is something I take a little bit like a kick in the teeth.

Not to mention it is some insufferable #skinnyframebullshit.

Two final notes:

  1. there is another version of this image floating around Tumblr. It looks terrible. Why do people insist on doing this?
  2. this image has been cropped a quarter of an inch or so on the bottom to remove a watermark.