Seven Billion

I’ve never called myself an artist. I’m a photographer. I believe that we start as painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, and general producers of stuff – the term ‘Artist’ is granted us by others; we, the creators, don’t get to decide.

Twenty-five years ago there was a distinct difference between what the general public viewed as art and what we viewed as pornography. A quarter of a century ago, naked woman in plush coffee table books and on the walls of galleries we classed as Art, naked women in top shelf magazines and on page three of The Sun newspaper was porn. Then along came the internet and the two blended and leached into each other like cheap vodka mixing with freshly squeezed orange juice. Suddenly, established and respected portrait photographers such as Jock Sturges, Sally Mann and Ren Hang found themselves having to justify their way out of police interview rooms and accusations of indecency.
When did humans become so ashamed and disgusted of their own naked bodies? But worse, when did people grow so uncomfortable and judgemental about the other 6,000,000,999 naked bodies on the planet? Why is showing a male nipple acceptable on Facebook and Instagram, but even the faintest glimpse of a female areola sends social media users scrambling to the ‘report’ tab?

These instant prints I made as test/warm-up during a shoot a couple of weeks ago. The two ladies, who’d asked me to photograph them together, love these photographs, photographs that make two women feel confident, beautiful and empowered – where’s the negativity in that? I’m sure that if I’d used paint or clay, instead of film, to reproduce the likeness of two females together, things would be different – but as I said, I’m a photographer – that’s all I get to decide…

25 comments

  1. Amy C

    What an amazing piece of writing! – ‘like cheap vodka mixing with freshly squeezed orange juice’ – genius! Love the photos too, the ladies look stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lucy Barraclough

    ‘like cheap vodka mixing with freshly squeezed orange juice’ – your use of words is as exquisite as your talent with a camera 🙂 I’d love you to make me feel beautiful and empowered – next time you’re in Boston, holla’ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephen

    Great shots Phil, so these are just the warm up photos. Love to see what you produce when yo are not warming up 🙂 In total agreement with you about the loonies on social media.

    Like

  4. Larna

    As always, stunning shots. You are one of my favourite photographers, but I also love your writing. I can’t decide what I like more but than you for sharing. X

    Like

  5. Alan Cain

    It’s amazing really – I remember you at school and you could hardly write your own name, lot alone a worthwhile sentence… now look at you, producing some of the best stuff I’ve read! Seriously though, Phil, this is really impressive work – both the writing and the photography. Get a book done fella!

    Like

  6. Aaron K

    I can’t really add anything to what’s already been said – fantastic work. How many people need to tell you to write a book before you actually do it? 🙂

    Like

  7. Kristian Wattle

    Your work is so incredibly diverse, Phil, but every shot seems to be intertwined with the other. Your talent for photography is unbelievable!

    Like

  8. Pingback: Isle of Man Art News – 10 April 2017 | Manx Art Directory

  9. Pingback: The Case of Art against Porn // BUMF Says « BUMF.media

  10. Great quote, I may quote you on that one. By the way, this is art in the highest form. Art communicates and what you intended to say in these images is what I see… Passion, love, and tenderness, the ingredients of a great relationship.

    Like

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