If you were following us back in December, you may remember a post we did about Gracie Hagen‘s project, “Illusions of the Body.” This proved our most popular post to date, and was even flagged and banned by Facebook as inappropriate, something I covered in a separate post. Since the December post, Hagen has finished putting a book together of full color images of the project, including 17 never before released images. The book is available for pre-order on sale for $50 (regularly $60) to be shipped on May 1st, and each advance purchase will be numbered and signed by Hagen. What better way to show your support of work like Hagen’s, work that shouldn’t be censored by social media just because it features nude bodies, than to own your very own collection of these powerful images? Hagen was able to answer a few questions about the ban and her work via email.
Brooklyn-based photographer Marco Scozzaro creates Mirror Neurons, a straight- forwards series of photographs that capture the bodies of men and women wearing nude tights. You might be thinking that this project is kind of pointless, but in actuality it isn’t. Scozzaro’s clever ways of conceptualizing his pieces challenge the viewer to think outside the box and ultimately reach various conclusions at once.
Scozzaro began his project by photographing a series of nudes in front of a neutral background and had the models wear a pair of skin color tights as a metaphor for conformism. As the project developed (and gave it a name), Scozzaro started thinking about the motives behind his artistic choices.
Mirrors Neurons a family of neural cells considered to be the neurological base of imitation. I used this scientific element as a starting point to reflect on how different people follow the same way of thinking. It’s a projection on personal feelings such as solitude, detachment, shyness and the urge to connect with others.—Marco Scozzaro
Like in most of his projects, Scozzaro’s subtle but powerful and beautiful images allow for different layers of interpretation. In this specific case, we can take the nude tights as a symbol that simultaneously represents ideas of oppression and vulnerability. His interesting way of transferring concepts into these carefully arranged portraits extends its topic to a broader range of issues including identity, gender, and relationships. (via Feature Shoot)
Last week, we published our most viral post to date: Nude Bodies Transform From Flattering To Unflattering With Slight Shift In Pose (NSFW). After gaining momentum on Facebook and accruing a considerable amount of traffic, we were notified that the post violated Facebook’s Community Standards. The (incredibly vague) policy states,
“Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”
Should this apply to nudes that are part of an artistic endeavor, or “content of personal importance,” such as Gracie Hagen’s photographs (featured above)? Why has Facebook never flagged any other post of ours, others of which also feature a comparable amount of nudity (featured below)?
It’s safe to assume that our post was targeted because it received viral Facebook exposure, inviting the scrutiny of many Facebook users who may or may not recognize nudity’s artistic value – any Facebook user can flag a post as inappropriate and subject that post to the review of Facebook’s moderators. Who are Facebook’s moderators? They are (unsurprisingly) employees who are outsourced to 3rd world countries, where they typically receive around $1/hour for the work of wading through what is sure to be the dirtiest and unsettling parts of the internet. Once a moderator receives a flagged post, they can confirm it’s a violation, dismiss it, or escalate it. (Escalation is reserved for posts that could be illegal or are remarkably insidious). Moderators are to follow a detailed guidebook, first uncovered by Gawker, which specifically states, “Art nudity ok” with regard to nudity on Facebook. (Though experience suggests Facebook may only consider illustrations and sculptures of nudes okay.)
Julia Fullerton-Batten’s models seem naked in their nudity, and this is not just a clever play on words. John Berger, in his book Ways of Seeing, explains the difference: “Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”
Here, in Fullerton-Batten’s Unadorned series, each model is indeed nude, as Berger suggests, posed on display, manipulated by the photographer to convey an idea, however . . . because he or she wears a certain type of nudity in the vein of old world masters from the 15th – 17th centuries . . . and because they are arranged in contemporary settings by female hands . . . and because their bodies are curvy and soft, as opposed to thin and hard . . . what results is also a fascinating feeling of nakedness: a complex historical/sociological revelation of us as a species in relation to gender, weight, and image.
Megan Van Groll paints women– mediating on the fine line between nakedness and nudity, or how these two concepts relate to freedom or identity. Likewise, from bathing in cocoa puffs to sensually brawling at a donut shop, her food motif is an interesting one, often working in tandem with the female form– provoking thoughts of fetish from the outside, but also, a much more personal and complicated binging ceremony.
Of her own craft, Groll states, “My narrative portraits of women are, at their core, a painted attempt to understand and portray how modern women create identity and meaning from the world around them. I am interested in exploring the way we perform our projected ideal personas, for ourselves and for others.”
Spencer Tunick designs and installs nude human bodies into landscapes and photographs or films them. The blending of the color and texture of human skin with industrial or natural landscapes is stark and effective; the bodies themselves become their own landscape. Tunick has traveled the world staging photographs and videos of these large nude installations, and uses anywhere from a handful of voluntary participants to tens of thousands of them. The end result is a beautiful combination of art forms, including design, sculpture, performance, photography, and video. According to his website, Tunick has been arrested 5 times since 1992 while performing in New York City, and has gone to court to defend his First Amendment rights, which he won, but was still denied a permit from the city to practice his art. As a result, he creates his work abroad and has not performed in New York City in over 10 years.