@deluckas13untitled (2017)

Do something for me: use your hand to block the two finger tips you can barely see in the upper left corner. See how this renders the picture almost cartoonish in it’s exaggeration.

Remove your hand. See how that creates a tension where the cartoonish is constrained by a sense of equal and opposite resisting pressure.

I think there’s a valuable lesson here not only about the dynamics of dramatic composition but also about creative expression. Playing to your strengths fails to have the same effect once you remove them from their inter-penetrative connection with your limitations, shortcomings and weaknesses.

Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

I think the point of what’s being depicted here is arguably better presented given the following reframing:

You lose the distraction of the handles on the bathroom cabinets, power outlets and although I do love the angle of the top of her foot perched on top of the counter, the angle of it and the way it aligns with that brighter area from the window behind her (and the way that lines up in the original with the side of the window) is super distracting.

You are losing the view of her bum but for me what appeals to me is what happening with her face. I’d have likely framed it so that the inner thigh of her left leg dictated the left frame edge. But you’d have needed either a slight shift in the camera position or a different lens to pull that off. (I could’ve just cropped it but I did make an effort to preserver the original aspect ratio.)

Honestly, I’m much more intrigued by what her arm is doing in the mirror than I am by actually seeing-not-seeing what she’s doing with her fingers. (That sudden gasp/jaw drop at the loop point is tres adorbs.)

defiantly-yourssSome friendly fingers 🐶 (2017)

The above is a Fuji Instax Mini Monochrome instant photograph.

I’ve always been a fan of instant film–the unpredictable peccadilloes of the process contribute an unmediated in-the-momentness to them. It’s partly the singularity of the original–yes, you can scan them or snap a picture of them with your phone (but that one be the same; essentially, there’s only one true original.

Whether it was intended or not, this has always facilitated a special relationship between instant photography and DIY porn making.

(Honestly, if there was a browser plugin that filtered out mainstream pornography and only allowed DIY work through, I’d be thrilled. Diminish the profit motive and it seems like this girl’s enjoyment of things increases, but also ostensibly there’s less premeditation on what will sell the most units, earn the most clicks and it’s focused on what the producer likes and perhaps also what the target audience–whether a person or a small community–enjoys just seems to me to come across as not only more immersive but more authentic.)

Yet, of all things this also got me thinking about the received wisdom that art and pornography are mutually exclusive. (There’s a stellar piece, Museums, Urban Detritus and Pornography, written by Paul B. Preciado (formerly Beatrix), which has been seminal influence on this blog.)

It’s been a bit of shit week for me and I was wracking my brain for something to say about this. (A common misconception is that I just find something I like and then spew convincing BS about it and call it a post. I won’t deny that that happens on the off occasion. But for the most part, the stuff I post is posted because I have something to say about it.)

With this I knew I wanted to post it–that it belonged here–however, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say about it.

Then it occurred to be that while this is an explicit image, it’s not especially graphic. Genital penetration by multiple fingers is clearly implied but not graphically illustrated. And that’s kind of the strength of the photo: the basics are clear but the specifics are amorphous.

This encourages the viewer to fill in the blanks–and I use that in spite of the clumsy pun.

I started to wonder how many fingers are inserted. You can’t tell but it specifically says fingers plural. For some reason I thought of the tradition of depicting Christ in oil paintings–with his thumb extended and index and middle finger raised in a sign of blessing. (Bonus points for the art history nerds out there: apparently this was because this finger placement is like a gang sign that reads IC XC–the first and last letters of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ in ancient Greek.)

It being a sign of blessing is definitely in keeping with the above image. And that got me thinking about how ecumenical tradition tends to take extant symbols and appropriates them for religious use. Xtianity is all but a carbon copy of the ancient Mithras cult, for example.

The Xtian cross symbol originates from what is termed a Roman or Latin cross and became–after the apostle Peter demanded to be crucified upside down to prove his piety and that he was not anything like Christ–the Petrine Cross. Thus a symbol of imperial violence is appropriated by early Xtians, then appropriated again by the Catholic Church (in it’s upside down variant) before being flipped right side up again only to be re-appropriated as a bit of anti-Xtian imagery nowadays.

I realize this isn’t the most un-specious of arguments but I think it works given the way the majority of wisdom traditions have de-emphasized individual experience of the divine with a sort of ersatz groupthink instead. The fact that drugs and sexuality can–given the right environment–be a stepping stone to self-transcendent experience. The powers that be are very much invested in using religion to wall off that option from the majority of people.

Lastly, I’ve had this notion for a while that landscape oriented imagery tends to be secular in nature whereas vertical oriented stuff tends to be more liturgical–I think this digression is actually very much in the spirit of the original Instax.

Taylor RadeliaUntitled (2010)

This crossed my dash attributed to William Eggleston.

On the one hand I can understand why someone would think that. It’s an image of a piece with Eggleston’s oeuvre–fixated upon seeing the beauty of colors despite the often numbing interference of the mundane.

It’s almost like this photo by Radelia is–from the standpoint of photography math: this + this.

There are still notable differences anyone who has spent any sort of time with Eggleston’s work really ought to have caught: namely, Eggleston doesn’t really use a strobe all that often and although virtually all of his work trades in sublimated sexuality, the above is a little too direct in it’s perverse punning to be a lost Eggleston.

Radelia’s image is fascinating though because it’s a rare work that both stands on its own to feet but also holds up well when compared with the work from which it clearly draws inspiration. That’s not a small thing at all.

Source unknown – Title unknown feat. Anina Silk and Joy (2010)

I’m not 100% on the attribution here but I’m pretty sure the year and performers are correct. (If anyone knows where they real clip originates, I’d be interested in seeing it actually.)

Ass play isn’t really my thing. It can absolutely shorten the length of time it takes me to climax and it changes my awareness of what muscles do what when I’m orgasming. Neither of those things really add anything to the experience for me.

If my partner is into it, I’m willing to experiment just so long as my partners mouth as well as my mouth don’t go anywhere near an anus or anything that’s been inserted into an anus. (I know everyone on Tumblr swears about how wonderful analingus is to give and receive, but yeah… no thank you.)

Thus, it’s a little odd that I’m including this in some ways–considering it’s ostensibly a warm up for anal fisting. The reason I like it is two-fold.

First, it reminds me of being five. I had a friend in my neighborhood named Dirk (not his real name but his real name was also disturbingly phallic in hindsight).

Dirk liked to play a game called ‘butt work’. One person would pull down their pants and lay face down on the ground the other person would pull the cheeks of the butt apart and look at, blow on, tickle or insert a finger into the other’s rectum.

I liked the shameless curiosity of it. The experimentation involved.

It was also turn based. I’d lay there hidden from view of the adult world by bushes while someone probed my body. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing but I knew there’d be a chance for me to be equally curious about their body if I was patient.

It’s that sort of I won’t ask you to let me do anything to you that you also wouldn’t ask me to do to you mentality that appeals to me.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Although I would also like to make porn at some point, I’m currently interested in pushing my personal photographic work in a more erotic direction. But I am patently uncomfortable with asking anyone to do something unless there’s some sort of mutuality to it. I have zero interest in pursuing anything exploitative.

I’ve not made much progress on figuring it out. But I did want to point to the mutuality that radiates from this image and to point to that feeling as something I’d like to learn how to encourage and foster in my own work.