“Up Town” New York City, 2015. Leica M240. 50mm Noctilux. f/0.95
Instagram is the New Playboy.
If you’re shooting girls (or guys) with little or no clothes on, you’re in the soft core porn business. On the other hand, if you shoot them with really good cameras and talk about photography, or supplement the photo with some really nice quote or discussion about life and relationships and also have pictures of New York City or nature in your feed, well then, no, you’re still in the soft core porn business. But if you’re a woman who shoots other women with little or no clothes on, nope, no pass, you’re still in the soft core porn business. And if you’re a website that offers links to hot young photographers who have people with little or no clothes on and warn people that despite its artistic genius it’s also NSFW, congrats you’re in the soft core porn business. Paid or not paid, crafted, black and white or with a beauty dish, it is what it is.
And that’s cool. I’m not making any judgment on the importance or non-importance of soft core porn, I’m just calling it what it is. I’m only one guy who’s not that into soft core, but plenty of guys are into it. Girls, too. There’s for sure an audience for soft core, but I’m not for the confusion of the tasks of a fine art photographer and that of a soft core porn maker, no matter how it’s made, or what it’s adorned with. Just because it’s a still, not a video - the principles of a sex and art are the same. No confusion.
We’ve had a venue for artistic images of people without clothes on for quite some time. It costs around $20/year and it also features some generalized writing about life, love and relationships. The new one costs nothing. Although Instagram/Facebook reap the rewards. Maybe this the great advancement of our age, the freemiumization of soft core porn. Which perhaps is a great thing as it may take the mystery out of it all. It’s just sex, after all. And sex sells.
Personally, the photo feeds I really respect are the ones of folks trying to find the beauty in every day life, less so the ones trying to make an everyday life out of beauty. If you shoot models, you’re in the disposable art business. The images fade with fashion. And you will constantly struggle to keep up. All the way to the end. If you aim for the art of the everyday, you will work and work and work. And when you hit it, you reach another echelon of achievement in creativity and, really, life… you are eternal.