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Photographer
D. Brian Nelson
Posts: 5,477
Rapid City, South Dakota, US


When my #2 son was studying philosophy at Brown, we had an argument.  He'd taken a course on the history of feminist philosophy and was convinced that my objectification of women via photograpahy was devaluing women as a gender.   I argued that by eschewing traditional image as ownership or male sex fantasy images, that I was more or less doing portraiture, or photography of women as they are, or possibly as they should be.  (Should be?  According to whom?  Me, I guess.  How godlike of me... and how objectifying.)

Since that conversation I've thought more about it.  I do idealize the women in my photographs.  I intentionally make them look beautiful, whether or not beauty is the primary value any person, male or female, should have.  On the other hand, all I have to work with is light reflecting from surfaces, so maybe beauty is all that I can show, other virtues being just too hard.

And photography, particularly of women, does objectify in the sense that they are being substituted for other traditional subjects like "apple, fish, bowl, platter."  They are treated photographically as that still life would be - arranged, lit and recorded.

With the advice of a model I will be photographing soon, I've picked up a book on feminist sexuality with the intent of learning some vocabulary.  What I'm learning instead is some of the internal landscaping of women and how much more complex it has been forced to become because of the culture.  More complex than the internals of men, particularly sexually. 

Aside from my son, no one's accused me of objectifying women.  Except me.  I think about it all the time.  And that's a problem in that the culture is my culture too and everything I do or think is influenced by it.  Do I want to own the women in my photographs, either in some real sense or in that photograph as ownership sense?  Well, yes and no I guess.  Viewers of the photographs will make some judgements about my relationships with the models, of course.  And I'm not going to correct any beneficial misconceptions.  But I also want the photographs to be useful in learning about and making judgements about women in general and the models specifically. 

Thoughts?

-Don
Dec 24 05 03:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jack D Trute
Posts: 4,558
New York, New York, US


Well,  I do not think your photos objectify women but I think there are many here that do.

But if the females are fine with it then who is to say?

If I call a woman a girl or a Sioux native an Indian, and they have no issue with it then is it a problem?

Someone once got mad at my human's boyfriend for he called me a girl.   Would you get mad at my owner if she called me a girl?  How far do you take it?   But I am surprised on how few people even know the arguement from that side of the fence.

I think it would be great if people could at least try to understand where and why your son has made this arguement.
Dec 24 05 03:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BTHPhoto
Posts: 6,771
Fairbanks, Alaska, US


I had a conversation about this with a client just last night.  In her words, "Feminism be damned, I'm paying you to objectify me!" 

On one hand I do see women as beautiful objects.  They are pleasing to look at, and I try to capture that aspect in my photography.  However every woman also has a sense of humor, an individual attitude, a particular style in her seductiveness, a unique light in her eyes, - in short, a personality - and if I fail to capture a part of that as well then I've failed to produce the photograph I intended.

We're biological beings, driven to lust, and objectification of women is a basic fact of life that goes along with that.  However being objectified is not mutually exclusive of being valued for one's intelligence, skills, and humanity.  I will never deny that, among other things, my photography objectifies women.  However the argument that by doing so I'm devaluing the female gender just doesn't make sense to me.  A woman who says "you devalue my humanity by objectifying me" is basically saying "I'm incapable of simultaneously being both a beautiful woman and a valuable human."  I simply don't buy that.

As far as photographs being a way of owning women?  I don't think I buy that either.  At best, a photograph lets me own a memory, not a person or an object.  Who ever came up with that theory must have really been stretching for something to complain about.
Dec 24 05 03:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Starstruck Foto
Posts: 73
Chicago, Illinois, US


Ive heard the same arguement over the years and I don't buy it.If women are to be considered equal then their decisions thus consent to participate in such "objectification" must be given the same respect as a decision not to.You can't exploit the willing or those who are willing to compensate you for your creation. Is a the male model any less objectified when his body is photographed or sculpted or painted simply by virtue of his gender? If one believes that females are the weaken sex and must have special protection to prevent exploitation what does that say about our true belief in their equality? I've heard all kinds of crap about how the fashion industry exploits and objectifies women by outsiders looking in who fail to realize that the power brokers in the industry are not sexist males but women and gay men.Men dont buy fashion magazines as a rule,the market is made up of fellow women. It isnt objectification if the subject does'nt feel objectified.
Dec 24 05 03:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
mErocrush
Posts: 9,739
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


I'm actually quite lucky in that I never have to worry about objectifying the women I work with.  The simple fact is, the women in my images are representing emotions, sensations and experiences I would wish for myself.  The women [and men] in my images are actually speaking for me rather than merely being seen by me.  Since I'm male, it might make one wonder why I don't use men to express myself in my photographs, but that's simple too:  Men won't do it.  Not very many men anyway.
Dec 24 05 03:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D. Brian Nelson
Posts: 5,477
Rapid City, South Dakota, US


Tim Hammond wrote:
As far as photographs being a way of owning women?  I don't think I buy that either.

I've been trying to remember the book that was from without dragging all my art criticism books out.  In truth early commissioned paintings were of objects owned by the rich patrons:  horses, buildings, wives. mistresses, etc.  One interesting illustration in that book was a painting of the patron surrounded by his other paintings, clearly indicating ownership of not only those objects, but the objects the paintings depicted.  The theory isn't that far-fetched.  Look at the key fobs that M-B owners carry around to make damned sure everyone know what they drive.

From that beginning and within our Western culture the idea of image as proof of ownership still exists.  If one were to try to test that, one could compare typical images of women with typical images of men to see if there are differences.  Subjectively, the feeling of a photograph indicating sexual ownership of a man is far more rare that a similar one of a woman and is almost always made by a gay man, in keeping with the male power ethic.

-Don

Dec 24 05 03:58 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
GPS Studio Services
Posts: 35,134
San Francisco, California, US


It is interesting because I am probably a feminist.  Back in the 70's, I went to the Ohio senate to lobby for the Equal Rights Amendment (which Ohio never ratified).

I traveled there on a bus with 55 women (I was the only man) and was interviewed by the local correspondent.  My famous line (which I got ribbed about for a long time) was:  "Now is the time for men to get down off their pedestal and give women an equal opportunity."  The interview was picked up by the network and I was the red herring of the week.

I have heard the line about objectifying women, and while I understand it, I don't completely agree with it.  Being equal, to me, doens't mean we have to be the same.  As an example, I have no problem with women looking at beefcake, after all they are women.

To admire another, to mean doesn't mean that we cannot be equal economically and in terms of rights.

Sexual harassment is wrong.  If it is unwanted, particularly in the workplace, it is inappropriate.  However, if a woman (or a man) chooses to model, fashion or suggestively, I see that as his/her right as well.

For me, I see it as a good thing that we have both men and women.  It makes things more interesting.
Dec 24 05 04:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Gundelach
Posts: 763
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany


Well during my psychology study I was facing the same question, but I came to a different "solution" (well, for me).

I actually cannot change what a woman is. A woman will be still a woman after the session. It's probably the intension for the photograph - or in other words my motives - what could qualify as objectify woman. These motives are my very own and so are everybody elses who watch my pictures. But this wouldn't objectify women in general. If so than every person would have been objectified ever taken a photograph of.

I can picture woman and I can make her look beautiful or ugly...or just the way she is. In my opinion woman are something beautiful - but that's because I cannot change myself neither. I am a man - and I love woman. So I made it my hobby to shoot with them and made them look pretty and sexy...

And to be honest - you always need two for a good picture...
Dec 24 05 04:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BTHPhoto
Posts: 6,771
Fairbanks, Alaska, US


D. Brian Nelson wrote:

I've been trying to remember the book that was from without dragging all my art criticism books out.  In truth early commissioned paintings were of objects owned by the rich patrons:  horses, buildings, wives. mistresses, etc.  One interesting illustration in that book was a painting of the patron surrounded by his other paintings, clearly indicating ownership of not only those objects, but the objects the paintings depicted.  The theory isn't that far-fetched.  Look at the key fobs that M-B owners carry around to make damned sure everyone know what they drive.

From that beginning and within our Western culture the idea of image as proof of ownership still exists.  If one were to try to test that, one could compare typical images of women with typical images of men to see if there are differences.  Subjectively, the feeling of a photograph indicating sexual ownership of a man is far more rare that a similar one of a woman and is almost always made by a gay man, in keeping with the male power ethic.

-Don

Having an image made of something you do own is, to me, not the same as feeling you own something/one because you made an image of it.  I just don't see the logic.  If you come up with some references, though, I'd be interested in reading more about the idea.

Dec 24 05 04:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D. Brian Nelson
Posts: 5,477
Rapid City, South Dakota, US


Tim Hammond wrote:
Having an image made of something you do own is, to me, not the same as feeling you own something/one because you made an image of it.  I just don't see the logic.  If you come up with some references, though, I'd be interested in reading more about the idea.

John Berger - Ways of Seeing.  Wrote about it, disagreeing as you do, here:

http://fotog.net/writing/w12.htm

But in the six years since I wrote that, I'm starting to think he had some things right.

-Don

Dec 24 05 04:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marvin Dockery
Posts: 2,243
Alcoa, Tennessee, US


D. Brian Nelson wrote:
John Berger - Ways of Seeing.  Wrote about it, disagreeing as you do, here:

http://fotog.net/writing/w12.htm

But in the six years since I wrote that, I'm starting to think he had some things right.

-Don

Some men, and women, have problems with being thought of as sexual objects.

But face it we all are sexual objects, and if they have a problem with it, then it's their problem, and not mine.

We were created this way, and if we were not, the human race would die out.

Dec 24 05 04:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D. Brian Nelson
Posts: 5,477
Rapid City, South Dakota, US


Marvin Dockery wrote:
...we all are sexual objects, and if you have a problem with it, then it's your problem, and not mine.

I  love being a sexual object.  But I am not defined by being one.  I'm a man, I don't have to be only judged that way.  The problem is that women are often only judged that way.

Did you skim the original post?

-Don

Dec 24 05 04:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marvin Dockery
Posts: 2,243
Alcoa, Tennessee, US


D. Brian Nelson wrote:
I  love being a sexual object.  But I am not defined by being one.  I'm a man, I don't have to be only judged that way.  The problem is that women are often only judged that way.

Did you skim the original post?

-Don

Don, I read all of your post.

I dated a woman for several years that thought women were only viewed as sexual objects. She has her masters in the "History of American women" and was once a board member of CORE. She was a larger woman, and stayed upset because only tall thin models were showed in the fashion magazines.

After about seven years I split.  I guess I have a short fuse on the subject.

I have two daughters, and one step daughter, that I am on great terms with. I often show my nude images to my daughters, and they and the women that really know me, know that I am just photographing the sexual side of a woman.  If I were photographing men, and I have photographed a lot of men, I would be doing the images the same way.

Dec 24 05 05:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Aswad Issa
Posts: 298
Brooklyn, Indiana, US


D. Brian Nelson wrote:
When my #2 son was studying philosophy at Brown, we had an argument.  He'd taken a course on the history of feminist philosophy and was convinced that my objectification of women via photograpahy was devaluing women as a gender.   I argued that by eschewing traditional image as ownership or male sex fantasy images, that I was more or less doing portraiture, or photography of women as they are, or possibly as they should be.  (Should be?  According to whom?  Me, I guess.  How godlike of me... and how objectifying.)

Since that conversation I've thought more about it.  I do idealize the women in my photographs.  I intentionally make them look beautiful, whether or not beauty is the primary value any person, male or female, should have.  On the other hand, all I have to work with is light reflecting from surfaces, so maybe beauty is all that I can show, other virtues being just too hard.

And photography, particularly of women, does objectify in the sense that they are being substituted for other traditional subjects like "apple, fish, bowl, platter."  They are treated photographically as that still life would be - arranged, lit and recorded.

With the advice of a model I will be photographing soon, I've picked up a book on feminist sexuality with the intent of learning some vocabulary.  What I'm learning instead is some of the internal landscaping of women and how much more complex it has been forced to become because of the culture.  More complex than the internals of men, particularly sexually. 

Aside from my son, no one's accused me of objectifying women.  Except me.  I think about it all the time.  And that's a problem in that the culture is my culture too and everything I do or think is influenced by it.  Do I want to own the women in my photographs, either in some real sense or in that photograph as ownership sense?  Well, yes and no I guess.  Viewers of the photographs will make some judgements about my relationships with the models, of course.  And I'm not going to correct any beneficial misconceptions.  But I also want the photographs to be useful in learning about and making judgements about women in general and the models specifically. 

Thoughts?

-Don

If you are creating images, you are objectifying... point blank. Making women look as you feel they should be in your mind (which is subjectivity) becomes objectification as soon as you make a representation of that, for lack of a better word, illusion. When you objectify something, you make it concrete or give reality to it. All art is objectification therefore, unless it remains in our minds. Your son had a good point.


Is your objectification devaluing women? That, in my honest opinion, is indeterminate. One's answer could be premised on their morals, values, experiences, politics, whatever. There's no clear cut answer. And while we're on the topic of objectivity & morals,  Ayn Rand wrote: "the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness." So it may be a question of whether or not your photography makes you happy.

Dec 24 05 05:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BTHPhoto
Posts: 6,771
Fairbanks, Alaska, US


D. Brian Nelson wrote:
John Berger - Ways of Seeing.  Wrote about it, disagreeing as you do, here:

http://fotog.net/writing/w12.htm

But in the six years since I wrote that, I'm starting to think he had some things right.

-Don

I can see the argument that, at one time in history, having an image of a woman may have signified that the owner of the image had some control over the woman.  However the majority of my work is boudoir photography, and it's almost always a surprise the woman's planning for her husband, not something he requested her to do.  I'm willing to admit there may be some twisted exceptions, but in general I don't see where, in modern society, even in the west, photographing a woman equates to owning or controlling her.

Dec 24 05 06:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
dpretty
Posts: 8,108
Ashland, Alabama, US


My father tried to tell me that simply by being the "subject" of my boyfriend's photography/camera, that I was making myself subject to him/his camera.

I think that's taking it a little too far.

Feminists and women and men all have to realize that it is a woman's blessing and curse that she is considered to be a beautiful object of desire. My father was just as guilty of objectifying me. He always wanted to take me to court with him or on his business trips because, he said, I was "an adornment."

It is up to the woman/model to assert or express her identity as a woman and not to be objectified if she doesn't want to be. The photographer is going to place the model in the context of his own fantasy, and that's why it's so important for a model to choose the right photographer. I have made the mistake of letting myself be objectified for the camera, and I try to avoid it at all costs. What I consider objectification is when I look at the picture and see nothing of interest.

Nonetheless, I think it is okay to objectify when art is the goal. In fact, it is impossible to do otherwise. What sucks is when you translate that into your daily life and treat people without respect. If your girlfriend complains that you drag her around like a rag doll, you might have a problem.
Dec 24 05 06:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
dpretty
Posts: 8,108
Ashland, Alabama, US


D. Brian Nelson wrote:
With the advice of a model I will be photographing soon, I've picked up a book on feminist sexuality with the intent of learning some vocabulary.  What I'm learning instead is some of the internal landscaping of women and how much more complex it has been forced to become because of the culture.  More complex than the internals of men, particularly sexually.

I just put up my essay on this subject at http://porno.dreampretty.com ... if you really are interested in learning more about the pornography debate and how women have played a part in this debate ... please take a look. I learned A LOT while researching that paper and am still learning how difficult and complex a woman's sexuality can be.

However, you don't need to read the whole thing to understand this point:

Many feminists believe that women must counterract violent pornography with their own types of erotica: “In educating ourselves and each others about pornography, we come to have a say about it and thus to gain a voice; in expressing ourselves through erotica of our own making, we can begin to change the contours of sexual speech,â€? (Carse 1995: 11).

Not all women believe that photography or even pornography is ultimately damaging to the feminist cause.

Dec 24 05 06:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dossett Photography
Posts: 110
Lovejoy, Georgia, US


I WISH I was a sexual object   sad
Dec 24 05 07:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sanders McNew
Posts: 1,284
Boca Raton, Florida, US


This is a subject dear to me.  One of the reasons I find glamour and lingerie photography troubling is the way it reduces its subjects to pieces in the photographer's fantasy. 

I consider my own work portraiture.  I want to capture something of the person in front of me that is genuine to that person as a person.  I try hard not to reduce my subjects to objects.  (Not that I always succeed.)  That impulse expresses itself in all sorts of ways, some pretty mundane.  For example, with one notable exception -- a portrait of Elyse, which I've just posted to my MM photo page by way of illustration -- I will not decapitate a body.  Faces are everything to me.  (Except, that once, with Elyse, who has put her torso to expressive work.) 

I am the child of a mother, the father of a daughter, and the partner of a model.  I do not want to create images that diminish them.

Sanders McNew
www.mcnew.net
Dec 24 05 07:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ryan L Holbrook
Posts: 631
Raleigh, North Carolina, US


I hate to break it to people but when ever you make anyone the subject of an art generally that person is being objectified.  And if you see a guy bitchen about.... Wait, ill stop...
Dec 24 05 07:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ADG Photography
Posts: 543
Calhoun, Georgia, US


Dossett Photography wrote:
I WISH I was a sexual object   sad

Me too!!  LOL

Dec 24 05 08:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Glen Berry
Posts: 2,781
Huntington, West Virginia, US


Doesn't this depend highly on the nature and the purpose of the photography?

For example, take a look at my portfolio. Are the women portrayed in my photos objects, or are they something more?

What about the men in my photos? Are they objects or something more? (There are 3 different men in my portfolio, including the "Come Talk To Me" image.)

Lastly, are the objects depicted in my photos mere objects, or are they somehow more than mere objects? (Think about that a bit. I'm serious.)

I'm really curious what people have to say.


thanks,
Glen
Dec 24 05 08:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
mErocrush
Posts: 9,739
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


Sanders McNew wrote:
This is a subject dear to me.  One of the reasons I find glamour and lingerie photography troubling is the way it reduces its subjects to pieces in the photographer's fantasy. 

I consider my own work portraiture.  I want to capture something of the person in front of me that is genuine to that person as a person.  I try hard not to reduce my subjects to objects.  (Not that I always succeed.)  That impulse expresses itself in all sorts of ways, some pretty mundane.  For example, with one notable exception -- a portrait of Elyse, which I've just posted to my MM photo page by way of illustration -- I will not decapitate a body.  Faces are everything to me.  (Except, that once, with Elyse, who has put her torso to expressive work.) 

I am the child of a mother, the father of a daughter, and the partner of a model.  I do not want to create images that diminish them.

Sanders McNew
www.mcnew.net

I'm not sure I understand the idea of "diminishing" someone merely by seeing them in a sexual/erotic context.  Last time I checked, sexuality was a pretty powerful source of energy that is central to all our lives [whether we like it or not].  As long as one can be honest and upfront about what one sees and why it attracts/inspires, I can't see how anyone can be "diminished" or "objectified."  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I find the fashion side of photography, with it's habit of making women into little more than ambulatory mannequins is fare less humane than a model and photographer co-conspiring to reveal a story that might otherwise go invisible.  I find the prediliction of some "fine art nude" photographers to make the body into an ossified vessel, no more nor less important than a tree or a rock to be equally disturbing.  The part of erotic art/fetish/porn/whatever that fascinates [me personally] is the creation of images that acknowledge our existence as the point where sensation and emotion meet

Dec 24 05 08:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hugh Jorgen
Posts: 2,850
Ashland, Oregon, US


Melvin Moten Jr wrote:

I'm not sure I understand the idea of "diminishing" someone merely by seeing them in a sexual/erotic context.  Last time I checked, sexuality was a pretty powerful source of energy that is central to all our lives [whether we like it or not].  As long as one can be honest and upfront about what one sees and why it attracts/inspires, I can't see how anyone can be "diminished" or "objectified."  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I find the fashion side of photography, with it's habit of making women into little more than ambulatory mannequins is fare less humane than a model and photographer co-conspiring to reveal a story that might otherwise go invisible.  I find the prediliction of some "fine art nude" photographers to make the body into an ossified vessel, no more nor less important than a tree or a rock to be equally disturbing.  The part of erotic art/fetish/porn/whatever that fascinates [me personally] is the creation of images that acknowledge our existence as the point where sensation and emotion meet

I like to shoot The Hot look-Erotic look, Whatever you want to call it..

I will continue cause its what i like...

If I wasnt here None of this would Exist!!

So Im gonna shoot what I want..

I guess untill the point till None of this Exists..

Existence Only Lasts as Long As you Do.....

Then its Gone!!

Sex=Existence

(:----------

Hj

Dec 24 05 08:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sanders McNew
Posts: 1,284
Boca Raton, Florida, US


Melvin Moten Jr wrote:

I'm not sure I understand the idea of "diminishing" someone merely by seeing them in a sexual/erotic context.  Last time I checked, sexuality was a pretty powerful source of energy that is central to all our lives [whether we like it or not].  As long as one can be honest and upfront about what one sees and why it attracts/inspires, I can't see how anyone can be "diminished" or "objectified."  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I find the fashion side of photography, with it's habit of making women into little more than ambulatory mannequins is fare less humane than a model and photographer co-conspiring to reveal a story that might otherwise go invisible.  I find the prediliction of some "fine art nude" photographers to make the body into an ossified vessel, no more nor less important than a tree or a rock to be equally disturbing.  The part of erotic art/fetish/porn/whatever that fascinates [me personally] is the creation of images that acknowledge our existence as the point where sensation and emotion meet

Melvin, I knew I would get myself into trouble with that post.  Let me start by saying that I agree with nearly everything you've just said.  I don't think we're disagreeing.

I think there is a big difference between objectifying a person on the one side, and capturing expressions of their sexuality on the other.  I don't like to make people props.  I know that is what all commercial shooters do every day, whether their client is Saks, or Leo Burnett, or Calvin Klein, or Playboy.  They are shooting to sell a product.  Such is the world we live in.  But I don't want to put my camera to that use.  And because this isn't my day job, I have the luxury of turning my back on it.

The assumption you do make, and that I disagree with, is the connection between sexuality and objectification.  I did not make that connection in my post, nor would I.  I agree with you, that sex is hardwired into us as individuals and woven through the culture.  And I admire those (like yourself) who try to walk the tightrope and find a way of capturing honest expressions of sexuality without falling into the gaping maws of triteness, obscenity, or foolishness.

Sanders

Dec 24 05 08:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Valkyrur
Posts: 1,187
Nelsonville, New York, US


Objectification resides within the INTENT of the image!!!
In your case, my 'perception' is that you use women as
a vehicle to express sexual fantasies,therefore they are
there as 'objects' per say. In that case who they are or
what they mean as an individual does NOT matter at all.
I think you do portray "sexual fantasies" beautifully in
your work.

Now, take Richard Avedon portraits or nudes:
His INTENT is to show the INDIVIDUAL, who they
are, what they express ... In that case his subjects
are not objectified as they are the sole intent of the
photograph.
*That is the direction I try to focus most of my nude work
although with too many failed attempts and unintended
objectification of subjects/models.

Having said that, there's NO rights or wrongs in this
matter .. of course.
Dec 26 05 12:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Mayanlee
Posts: 3,549
New City, New York, US


Welcome to the politically correct liberal I'm ok you're ok education.

Despite what we'd like to do in toeing the line of the feminist ideal, there's still a proponent of women that do not mind being exalted. I won't speak for all women, but I can safely say (however, without empiracal data, you'll just have to take my word for it) that the women who do mind the female of the species being portrayed in image appear to be the ones with the most ... well... for lack of a better term... "hang ups" (can't do this, can't do that).

I'm being intentionally harsh on women because I for one am tired of the hypocrisy we continually exercise as a gender. On one hand, we demand that we be treated equally, and on the other hand we want you guys to treat us like princesses.  Pick one; you can't have both, except for what you can garner in a one-on-one relationship through mutual respect. Even there, there will always be iniquities and a curious equilibrium that is under constant negotiation.  If women were treated with the same callous stereotyping that we currently have of men in advertising (ie. men always playing the clueless sports addicted single faceted moron), you'd have heard plenty about "diminishing". I mean... please....

For all the crap women have to go through (ie unequal pay, PMS, childbirth, supermom-ism), I'm all for a little exaltation without apology. I know I'm not "diminished" (and those who think I am, screw you) and I freaking deserve to be cut a break.
Dec 26 05 12:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
C s p i n e
Posts: 3,922
Portland, Oregon, US


A womans body is an object, it's her mind/personality etc is what makes her more. Sometimes in a photograph her mind/personality is simply not the point so it's not adressed. Only the ignorant would see a human body as nothing more than an object regardless of how it is photographed. What of photos expressing mind/personality but not sexuality? Is that desexualizing women? You can't show a woman as a whole in one photograph. I have a photo of one of my female friends that is fully clothed and she is smiling. This photo does not address th fact that she is a loyal friend and a trig whiz, is she being objectified?

[/rant]
Dec 26 05 02:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Valkyrur
Posts: 1,187
Nelsonville, New York, US


Cspine wrote:
You can't show a woman as a whole in one photograph.
[/rant]

... it's amazing what people can say here on MM!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec 26 05 03:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
mErocrush
Posts: 9,739
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


Mayanlee wrote:
Welcome to the politically correct liberal I'm ok you're ok education.

Despite what we'd like to do in toeing the line of the feminist ideal, there's still a proponent of women that do not mind being exalted. I won't speak for all women, but I can safely say (however, without empiracal data, you'll just have to take my word for it) that the women who do mind the female of the species being portrayed in image appear to be the ones with the most ... well... for lack of a better term... "hang ups" (can't do this, can't do that).

I'm being intentionally harsh on women because I for one am tired of the hypocrisy we continually exercise as a gender. On one hand, we demand that we be treated equally, and on the other hand we want you guys to treat us like princesses.  Pick one; you can't have both, except for what you can garner in a one-on-one relationship through mutual respect. Even there, there will always be iniquities and a curious equilibrium that is under constant negotiation.  If women were treated with the same callous stereotyping that we currently have of men in advertising (ie. men always playing the clueless sports addicted single faceted moron), you'd have heard plenty about "diminishing". I mean... please....

For all the crap women have to go through (ie unequal pay, PMS, childbirth, supermom-ism), I'm all for a little exaltation without apology. I know I'm not "diminished" (and those who think I am, screw you) and I freaking deserve to be cut a break.

My Hero[ine]!

Dec 26 05 03:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
mErocrush
Posts: 9,739
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


Cspine wrote:
A womans body is an object, it's her mind/personality etc is what makes her more. Sometimes in a photograph her mind/personality is simply not the point so it's not adressed. Only the ignorant would see a human body as nothing more than an object regardless of how it is photographed. What of photos expressing mind/personality but not sexuality? Is that desexualizing women? You can't show a woman as a whole in one photograph. I have a photo of one of my female friends that is fully clothed and she is smiling. This photo does not address th fact that she is a loyal friend and a trig whiz, is she being objectified?

[/rant]

I've yet to be convinced that being "objectified" is necessarily a bad thing.

Dec 26 05 03:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
theda
Posts: 21,711
New York, New York, US


Being objectified can be nice in small doses. 

I for one don't like to be treated like a princess as a bi-product of my sex.  I like to be spoiled becuase I suffer from youngest child syundrome and I'm just selfish. So there.
Dec 26 05 03:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
byReno
Posts: 1,033
Arlington Heights, Illinois, US


Mayanlee wrote:
I'm being intentionally harsh on women because I for one am tired of the hypocrisy we continually exercise as a gender. On one hand, we demand that we be treated equally, and on the other hand we want you guys to treat us like princesses.  Pick one; you can't have both, except for what you can garner in a one-on-one relationship through mutual respect. Even there, there will always be iniquities and a curious equilibrium that is under constant negotiation.  If women were treated with the same callous stereotyping that we currently have of men in advertising (ie. men always playing the clueless sports addicted single faceted moron), you'd have heard plenty about "diminishing". I mean... please....

Who knew you can do both? smile

http://pic1.modelmayhem.com/1/1/9/4/9/43b0c8a100195.jpg

Dec 26 05 04:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
C s p i n e
Posts: 3,922
Portland, Oregon, US


Melvin Moten Jr wrote:
I've yet to be convinced that being "objectified" is necessarily a bad thing.

it's not, that was my point.

Dec 27 05 02:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tim Baker-fotoPerfecta
Posts: 9,877
Portland, Oregon, US


My advice" Ask your son if taking a photograph of a beautiful flower is 'objectifying the flower" or are you capturing a moment in history that will never be captured again.

/tim
Dec 27 05 03:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Glen Berry
Posts: 2,781
Huntington, West Virginia, US


D. Brian Nelson wrote:
When my #2 son was studying philosophy at Brown, we had an argument.  He'd taken a course on the history of feminist philosophy and was convinced that my objectification of women via photograpahy was devaluing women as a gender.

You could tell your son that objectification takes place in the mind, not by the act of taking a photograph. Depending on who is viewing or thinking of the photograph, there may or may not be objectification taking place. In bumper-sticker terminology:

"Photographs don't objectifiy women. People objectify women."


Alternatively, it can often asked quite fairly if a particular photograph is actually attempting to portray the objectification of a woman, or if it is actually trying to achieve the personification of an archetype with the model's assistance. (I feel that many of my images fall into the later category.)


take care,
Glen

Dec 28 05 12:16 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Melissa Brouard
Posts: 54
Hollywood, Alabama, US


DreamPretty wrote:
My father tried to tell me that simply by being the "subject" of my boyfriend's photography/camera, that I was making myself subject to him/his camera.

I think that's taking it a little too far.

Feminists and women and men all have to realize that it is a woman's blessing and curse that she is considered to be a beautiful object of desire. My father was just as guilty of objectifying me. He always wanted to take me to court with him or on his business trips because, he said, I was "an adornment."

It is up to the woman/model to assert or express her identity as a woman and not to be objectified if she doesn't want to be. The photographer is going to place the model in the context of his own fantasy, and that's why it's so important for a model to choose the right photographer. I have made the mistake of letting myself be objectified for the camera, and I try to avoid it at all costs. What I consider objectification is when I look at the picture and see nothing of interest.

Nonetheless, I think it is okay to objectify when art is the goal. In fact, it is impossible to do otherwise. What sucks is when you translate that into your daily life and treat people without respect. If your girlfriend complains that you drag her around like a rag doll, you might have a problem.

Dec 28 05 12:31 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Melissa Brouard
Posts: 54
Hollywood, Alabama, US


DreamPretty wrote:
My father tried to tell me that simply by being the "subject" of my boyfriend's photography/camera, that I was making myself subject to him/his camera.

I think that's taking it a little too far.

Feminists and women and men all have to realize that it is a woman's blessing and curse that she is considered to be a beautiful object of desire. My father was just as guilty of objectifying me. He always wanted to take me to court with him or on his business trips because, he said, I was "an adornment."

It is up to the woman/model to assert or express her identity as a woman and not to be objectified if she doesn't want to be. The photographer is going to place the model in the context of his own fantasy, and that's why it's so important for a model to choose the right photographer. I have made the mistake of letting myself be objectified for the camera, and I try to avoid it at all costs. What I consider objectification is when I look at the picture and see nothing of interest.

Nonetheless, I think it is okay to objectify when art is the goal. In fact, it is impossible to do otherwise. What sucks is when you translate that into your daily life and treat people without respect. If your girlfriend complains that you drag her around like a rag doll, you might have a problem.

I'm going to have to agree with this point of view.

Dec 28 05 12:31 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Melissa Brouard
Posts: 54
Hollywood, Alabama, US


Sanders McNew wrote:
This is a subject dear to me.  One of the reasons I find glamour and lingerie photography troubling is the way it reduces its subjects to pieces in the photographer's fantasy. 

I consider my own work portraiture.  I want to capture something of the person in front of me that is genuine to that person as a person.  I try hard not to reduce my subjects to objects.  (Not that I always succeed.)  That impulse expresses itself in all sorts of ways, some pretty mundane.  For example, with one notable exception -- a portrait of Elyse, which I've just posted to my MM photo page by way of illustration -- I will not decapitate a body.  Faces are everything to me.  (Except, that once, with Elyse, who has put her torso to expressive work.) 

I am the child of a mother, the father of a daughter, and the partner of a model.  I do not want to create images that diminish them.

Sanders McNew
www.mcnew.net

And I agree with this too, becuase I feel there is no challenge in creating a soft core, lingerie, or glamour image.  You see millions of images like that everyday and it becomes so boring! They are good eye candy, but it translates nothing to me.  I find it equivilant to pop music, or top 40's music......it's for the masses and there really was no deeper meaning behind it.  Or it can be compared to fast food (to satisfy you quickly and cheaply) to a fine cuisine ( it should be eaten slowly and savored, and will cost way more.)

I feel that art should be the main objective, something to make you think or stir some emotion. 

Women are beautiful beings and all women carry their own sexual empowerment, but that's nothing new.  We all know that and that's too easy.  I think the real trick is to find her other sources of empowerment without her having to take her clothes off, or to look like a Victoria's Secret model.

But, sometimes this topic can get complicated because we don't always know what's in the models mind or the photographers mind.  Some women get into this industry because they have low self esteem and need the camera to make them feel valued, sometimes the photogrpaher is really a hornball and is also convincing that he's creating "art".  Sometimes the model is that comfortable with herself that showing some skin doesn't phase her.  This topic can lean in either direction.  Let's just hope model and photographer can take ownership for what message they are trying to convey.

O.k. I'm done ranting.

Dec 28 05 12:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Pringle
Posts: 1,608
New York, New York, US


Generally speaking, when someone agrees with you, they usually share the same ideas on that particular subject, often supporting and or praising the thing most enjoyed by one or both.
If opposed, there may be reasons personal to that specific individual or subject matter.

There is often a personal reason it represents itself in that person agreeable or not.
In the issue of a parent/child disagreement, it may be something in the relationship that may be stressful between the two and one retaliates by attacking an activity enjoyed by the other, which may not be the root cause, but allows the both to know that there is an issue between the two.

There is also the issue where two simply do not agree on a specific subject matter, even though in all other matters they agree. Its just having a personal opinion concerning the subject matter.

Being agreed with or not is just an issue of the liberty of choice. As long as you are not breaking any applicable laws in body or mind, there is little to worry about. Yet, knowing is a good thing...
Dec 28 05 01:23 am  Link  Quote 
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