In Maria Jose Garcia Piaggio’s “Through the Window,” she appropriates found images as part of her investigation about cybersex. A project in two parts, the images of men capture them watching though free portals; the women’s photos are taken from live shows where the viewer has to pay to participate.
“I want to be able to show these scenarios that we all know are there but we keep hidden, deconstructing it from the virtual context and taking it to other scenarios to show these two groups to the viewer.”
There’s no mention in the project description of consent, so it’s unclear whether these voyeurs and provocateurs are willing participants in this project. Likewise, there are no descriptive texts or photographer/videographer credits available. Since these are found images, Piaggio serves less as an artist and more as a curator of these experiences. The images she’s chosen are interesting in their variety: the men’s and women’s faces are both alternately fully exposed and hidden. Rooms are revealed in the background, or left darkened and unspecific. Some subjects smile into the camera, others seem unaware that they’re being photographed.
It’s a broad subject and a provocative one, and Piaggio’s notes indicate that this is just the start of the project. She says, “I reflect about the body, the pose and the clichés.” In continuing to compile these images, Piaggio has the opportunity to push past the expected and reveal more about the proclivities of the watchers and the watched.
Visual artist Kalen Hollomon, recently titled the “cut out king of New York”, is blurring the lines between the social conformity and taboo with his mixed media artworks. His collages feature mundane city life moments, high fashion editorials and old advertisements blended with clippings from vintage pornography scenes.
“I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface – with relativity, perception, sexuality and pop culture. My images are reality manipulation, manipulating other people’s identities. The idea of and ability to alter the value or meaning of an image or object by adding or subtracting elements is really exciting to me – adding or taking away elements from something until it becomes the sexiest it can be at that moment.”
Holomon is christened to be the child of the iPhone generation. Snapped with a smartphone camera, his creative collages started gaining exposure thanks to the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter. However, the same attention has forced the artist to censor some of his works. Hollomon says he “had accounts shut down and posts removed for as little as butt cheeks”.
Beyond the absurdity and wit, Hollomon’s work also represents the new trend of privacy-lacking public photography. His instant iPhone images from New York’s streets and subways rarely deal with any permissions for public use. That unawareness is exactly what turns such works into powerful socio-documentary messages. (via Dazed)
English photographer Jonny Sutton creates subtle but powerfully symbolic photography that alludes to various themes including the quotidian, sexual experiences, and memory.
Athough Sutton is interested in depicting scenes that are familiar to past personal recollections, the haziness and [sometimes] cinematic feel of his compositions make the viewer feel disjointed and distant to what they may otherwise feel very familiar with. Sutton’s recent series, Remains and Pornography, explore the memory of sexual experience through objects and familiar scenes that may trigger flashbacks to ones own past regarding sexual involvements.
Remains focuses on sex and the relationship it has with our surroundings. His photographs record the aftermath of a night of passion. By photographing what is left behind, the artist creates an interesting narrative that again brings the viewers to remember with hazy and distant thoughts.
His other series, Pornography, explores the themes of sexual documentation, pornographic films and violence, and the sexualization of children. In this case, Sutton uses a Barbie Doll and manipulates it in a way that presents the viewer with subtle, but obvious sexual positions. The artist’s prop here works as both the subject of his composition but also as a very important part of his concept and main messege. The dolls’ body, identifiable with the female form and a child’s innocence, is easily taken and manipulated to reenact sexual positions. This might be a reference to rape or a man’s power over a woman/child, however, its meaning is unclear and not explained by the artist himself. Nonetheless, it is certainly a logical conclusion to come to. Moreover, Sutton’s way of blurring the images leaves the spectator to witness a sequence of events that are blocked off and partially remembered [on behalf of whom is theoretically experiencing that manipulation,etc]. On the other hand, from an outsiders’ perspective, we acknowledge that the intrusiveness of the camera, or our gaze, in this case, is what makes the work the ultimate source of manipulation.
The artist Stephen Irwin’s work reinterprets the erotic; by scratching away and obscuring unnecessary content from found vintage porn imagery, he constructs a more emotionally climactic vision of love making. Like faded, far away memories of sexual encounters, his images only recall the most poetic and visceral sensations: the insertion of a finger, the flicking of a tongue, private moments of masturbation.
Unlike the work of someone like Von Brandis, Irwin’s images challenge the pornographic inclination to objectify the body, evoking moments of mutual bliss that transcend the material form. Irwin’s hands, limbs, and genitalia stand in for individuals, blurring their identities and ultimately pin-pointing a moment of worshipful self-actualization. The point of orgasm is elevated to spiritual heights when mouths cry out to the heavens. In a particularly sensual piece, the careful insertion of fingers into the vagina harkens back to illustrations of the doubting Thomas fingering the wounds of Christ.
These moments of ecstasy, however, are painfully brief; body parts emerge for an infinite blankness, vanishing just as soon as they appear. A deliberately messy black marker erases the figures, leaving only shadows in its wake; again, a shaded limb fades into whiteness, as if pushed down by a firm hand on the buttocks. The artist’s choice to use vintage images operates as yet another reminder of the temporality of climax.
These images are gloriously unstable and unreliable; for many, it’s impossible to tell if the original pornography was a sketch, painting, or photograph. Here, the lines between fantasy and recollection, between the corporeal and the spiritual, are miraculously indistinguishable. (via Juxtapoz)
After searching through the deepest corners of the internet pornography universe, the South African mixed media artist Von Brandis blanked out the carnal content in an attempt to reinterpret sexual imagery. The project, titled “Obscene Interiors” somehow heightens the voyeuristic thrust of the erotic images; behind a shield of white, sexual activities become more mysterious and forbidden, forcing the viewer to examine the images with more self-consciousness than the original porn might elicit.
The series also works to redefine the erotic. As blanked-out figures magically flatten and morph into a single two-dimensional being, signs of intercourse and movement disappear. In contrast to the white-out bodies, which often appear to be pasted onto the photographs, the space of the pornography sets do indeed become the “obscene” photographic content, inviting the eye to penetrate their depths. The pornographic subject becomes the interior itself: the cheesy bedding, the slightly parted curtain, a glistening clock radio, a stained rug.
The images, if slightly dehumanized by their alterations, maintain their intense sexual charge; the off-kilter frame suggests movement within the room, an amateur pornographer’s fast and anxious shots. Shadows billow from the white shapes, hinting at the breath, dimension and passions of the human form.
The series, with its censorship, paradoxically becomes more suggestive and uncomfortable. Forced to consider the erotic impulse and visual fetishization, the viewer cannot help but feel awkward about our engagement with the porn. In this way, this powerful piece touches on contemporary debates about the medium: is porn a healthy, natural human activity, or is it objectifying and morally ambiguous? What do you think? (via Lost at E Minor)
Brookyln based photographer Peter Schafer sent over a few images of a series he’s been working on. Schafer says:
Specifically, it’s a series of screen captures of partially downloaded bit torrent files of webcam porn videos – young women undressing and masturbating, basically. When the files are partially downloaded, impatiently viewed prior to the video file being complete, some strangely beautiful images appear. Capturing the image degradation of video compression and finding beauty in it is a lot like my photography in that you have to catch an image at just the right time, with often the best stuff being unintentional and flawed.
He’s captured some sublime expressions with these. It’s almost as though the girls are posing only for him. The increased pixelation on the images due to their partially downloaded state blurs and distorts the girls to the point where an entirely new context is revealed; one you might create on your own.