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zharth
zharth
Artist | Professional | Photography
United States
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Helpful links for nude and erotic photographers

"Good art grabs your attention. Great art holds onto it."
"A competent critic doesn't merely react but responds to a piece of art."
"Erotica is the art of sex, without sex."

I am an open-minded and liberated individual with an intriguing mix of masculine and feminine characteristics. I am a practicing nudist and a sex-positive artist, with an interest in blues and rock guitar. I worship youth and femininity, and delight in taking pictures of myself when other models aren't forthcoming.

As a socially-conscious artist, I seek to confront and examine issues related to nudity, gender, and sexuality via the medium of self-portrait photography. I start by challenging the preconceived notions that nudity is private, gender is rigid, and sex is ugly, and see where that leads me.

There is much beauty and intrigue in the process of becoming, that whispers of the mystery of creation itself. It is neither strange nor uncommon for one to become transfixed by it.

A camera is a tool that can be used to either document, or present. A document is merely a record, and is only as interesting as the thing it is documenting. A presentation is a piece of art, that can make even dull things interesting to look at. But the best photographs are presentations that document something interesting.

I dedicate myself to holding erotic works up to the standards of fine art. However, I don't believe there is any utility in disparaging the chaff for the sake of the wheat. Even erotic artists have to start somewhere. And outstanding art, by definition, can only exist as an exception to the common pool of average works. Without constant reference to the banal, we'd lose our appreciation for the sublime. You see, bad art has a purpose - it makes good art even better!

:thumb130049311:
Request: We Need Humanism by World-Hero21 Da Stamp - Human Rights 01 by tppgraphics Equality Is For Everyone by chibi-angel Straight But Not Narrow Stamp by StirFryKitty
Boys and girls: They can like what they like by RoliStamps Transgender Stamp by sunbirds otherkin stamp by scrungo Social Anxiety Disorder Stamp by EryStamps
Controversial opinions by black-cat16-stamps Open your Mind Stamp by quazo Question Authority Stamp by BuckNut stamp by Yacio
I Love Being Naked stamp by issybera NOT porn.. by inadvertence Beauty and Nudity by Its-An-Inferno

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I Support Naked Art by RandomReduXRatedR

Know and enforce the rules by TheKingofTheBeavers Porn is Art by AtheosEmanon

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Sex Positive Stamp by two-smokes

FUCK censorship by ZlayaHozyayka Art Should Not Be Censored by Tsaalyo Deviation In Storage? by What-the-Gaff
pervert stamp. by ryupon Sex is Not the Enemy Stamp by Spikytastic Ermagawd Another Stamp Like This by endler Girls Stamp by JFG107-Stamps
I Love Volleyball Stamp by MadMeeperPhotos I Want to Believe by manticor Long Hair Pride Stamp by Violet-Rose-Petal Naturism stamp by The-Fairywitch

My Stamps:
Gender Transcender by zharth Burning Man (Crackling Fire Version) by zharth Sexual Deviant by zharth I brake for hotties by zharth
If it doesn't turn you on, then just turn it off. by zharth Sex-positive by zharth Card-Carrying Nudist by zharth Bad Reality, Good Fantasy by zharth
Lolita by zharth Objectify Me. I like it. by zharth Censorship is a prison for the mind by zharth Sex Defender by zharth
I've turned into someone else by zharth Conscientious Non-Voter by zharth Clothing Optional Beyond This Point by zharth Action vs. Attraction by zharth
Good Sister, Bad Sister by zharth The God Hypothesis by zharth Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season by zharth Porn First, Guns Second by zharth
Interests
You can't be a photographer of nudes without encountering the debate between what constitutes fine art, and what constitutes pornography. In fact, many artists who are not photographers of nudes encounter this debate, too (much to their chagrin, I am sure). But something has always bothered me about the terms of this discussion. Most people try to put art and porn at opposite ends of a spectrum, but I think they're conflating two separate axes, which is cause for much confusion and misunderstanding. We shouldn't be looking at it as a spectrum on a single axis, but rather as a two-dimensional field defined by two axes. What these two axes are will become apparent when we examine what we really mean by these two terms, "art" and "pornography".

A False Dichotomy by zharth

Arguably, art is the more nebulous of the two. What defines art? Personal interpretations vary, but I think that, generally speaking, a good way to "judge" a piece of art that is not overly subjective, is to examine its technical aspects. Art is a craft. It involves knowledge, and skill (whether learned or inherited). In terms of photography, there are rules of composition. Tools to master. Experience to earn. An artistic photograph stands out because it is beautiful, striking, and/or uncommonly good.

Now what do we mean when we say "pornography"? At its core, the word 'pornography' refers to materials of a sexual nature. Depictions of human sexuality may be artistic or not. Fine art may depict sexual themes or not. But while fine art has traditionally been reserved to high society, pornography has been relegated to the common masses. Because it is popular. And if art is not your goal, it is very easy to produce.

As a result, correlation has been misconstrued as causation. Because most fine art does not depict sexuality, and most pornography is not artistic, they have been typecast this way, and placed at opposite ends of a spectrum: thus, art cannot depict sex, and depictions of sex cannot be artistic. But any artist of erotic themes knows this is a devious lie.

There are actually two axes at work here, and not just one - between art and porn. One of these axes is artistic quality, and the other is sexual explicitness. You can have artistic works that are sexually explicit, just as you can have "garbage" that is not sexual in nature.


It seems to me that whether a critic is campaigning against the artistic value of the work, or its sexually explicit nature, these two axes often become conflated, making it hard to construct a defense. When the critic really despises the audacity of the artist to depict sexual themes, he falls back on the criticism that it is pornography, and thus not art. But the question of whether or not it is art is immaterial. Really, his complaint is nothing to do with art, and everything to do with porn.

This lends an air of legitimacy to the criticism of erotic works that other types of works are not exposed to. You can complain about the un-artistic quality of somebody's non-sexually explicit work, but there is no real fear of it being censored because it is not "artistic enough". There is, however, just such a threat - no matter how artistic the work in question is - if it's accused of being "too sexy".


As an artist, I think we should concern ourselves more with the artistic quality of the work (not necessarily censoring unskilled works, but encouraging the artists to strive to improve their craft), and not the nature of the themes displayed, even if they are sexual. And if we still have to censor sexually explicit art (probably for legal reasons), I'd like people to stop conflating sexual explicitness with a lack of artistic quality, marginalizing a whole subgenre (and its purveyors) of artistic, erotic works.

If you see something sexually explicit (or implicit) that offends you, don't complain that it's "not art". That should not be a foregone conclusion; and anyway, whether it's art or not should be a non sequitur on a site like this (and if we're on a site where it matters whether it's art or not, then you should complain about nonsexual works that are insufficiently artistic in equal measure). And if what you're truly concerned about is the quality of the art (e.g., you don't mind skilled erotic art, but are offended by the proverbial "dick pic"), then the word "pornography" should not even enter your vocabulary.


What I often see is that "artistic nudes" that are nonsexual in nature are considered art, but if there is, say, an erection involved, it suddenly "becomes" pornography. Not because it's any less skilled a work than the other nudes, but because it contains material of a sexual nature. And at the same time you have more prudish artists railing against the nonsexual artistic nudes because they consider them to be pornographic! And all of this gets jumbled together into a cacophony of complaints about porn infiltrating an art site (even though it's a site that explicitly refrains from judging works on their artistic merit, while also explicitly restricting works of a pornographic nature).

Is it too much for me to ask for us all to get on board with some common language? We don't all have to agree about what is good or bad, nor what should be accepted on this site or not. "Art" and "porn" are both nebulous concepts, and the lines that we draw are necessarily going to be subjective. But can we say what we mean and mean what we say, and closely examine our own reasons for being uncomfortable with something we see, and strive to exhibit maturity in the face of diverse viewpoints, as is necessary if we are to behave like adults in what is ostensibly a free society? Or are my standards for Homo sapiens simply too high?

So, in conclusion, "art" and "porn" are not really opposite ends of a spectrum; they lie on a field separated by two independent axes: artistic quality, and sexual explicitness. Let me leave you with a visual demonstration:

The Orthogonality of Art and Porn by zharth

Journal History

Comments


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:icon5ime0n:
5ime0n Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2017
Wonderful galleries; there is an otherworldly grace about your poses that is often beautifully complemented by the intensity of the gaze.

I admire your strength of character, and am eager to see what you choose to share next.

Good for you, keep up the fantastic work.
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017  Professional Photographer
Thank you! Your support and enthusiasm is much appreciated. :D
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2017  Professional Photographer
LadyLambdadelta, why comment on my profile if you're just going to block me so I can't respond?
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:iconladylambdadelta:
LadyLambdadelta Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2017
What a pervert.
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:icondeskriuwer:
Deskriuwer Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
Why?
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:iconladylambdadelta:
LadyLambdadelta Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018
They're a nudist.
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:icondeskriuwer:
Deskriuwer Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
Do you think nudism is immoral? And why do you think so? 
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(1 Reply)
:iconmalcsik:
Malcsik Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2017
Your gallery brilliant!
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:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2017  Professional Photographer
Thank you very much!
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:icondustyrhodesahead:
DustyRhodesAhead Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017
Beautiful images.  Thanks for what you do.
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