Crystal ZapataDon’t Be Afraid of Yourself II (2014)

I am in love with this image. Seriously, I know mid-career artists who aren’t as conceptually cohesive, direct and unequivocal.

And Zapata isn’t about holding the hands of anyone who misses the ostensible point:

I’ve never had such a hard time trying to make art. Lately, I’ve been
trying to figure out what it is that I actually care about. As it turns
out, I am a woman. I can go on for a while about all of the things that
anger me about our social construct, but all I will say is fuck the
media and fuck history for telling me that I have to be a pretty,
flawless, sexual being, when my own sexuality is taboo.

This image should not shock you. I see photos of sexualized women
hundreds of times per day, so why is THIS considered inappropriate?
Question your surroundings.

Awesome and profoundly relatable.

Source unknown – Title Unknown (201X)

I have objections to this–namely, the camera’s proximity to the action implicates it as a participant/not strictly an observer. The image would’ve been improved dramatically by moving backward say two feet. (Further, you know, DoF could’ve been a little more thoughtfully implemented and a series of unfortunate Photoshop decisions might’ve been avoided.)

Still, the image is super hot and not just because of the graphic penetration. (Also, it bears mention that I am super supportive of this as a depiction of safe sex that doesn’t come off as perfunctory, forced or trite.) I think it appeals to me because there’s enough context to suggest that this is a public environment. But something I’m realizing more and more about myself is depictions of sex that are salaciously focused on reproductive organs just do not do it for me. I want to see an effort to communicate physically the unsayable intensity of passion. Her the kiss is what sells the image and it in no small part reminds me of another equally arousing (though non-pornographic) photograph by Lina Scheynius.