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…