WHERE IS THE LINE BETWEEN ART AND PORN?
I’m often asked by followers if I’ve ever thought about doing porn – and the answer is yeah, I have. I already do it. Just because I call it erotica and it looks kinda arty, it doesn’t mean that it’s not porn. Likewise, just because more mainstream porn isn’t “arty,” that doesn’t mean it’s not art.
Disclaimer – I like porn. Porn is good. Except for when it is exploiting models/workers/creators. Pay for your porn! Support artists! (And thank you to everyone reading this – for supporting me.)
To put it bluntly, no, I do not think there is a line between art and porn. The main reason being that art is perceived by two subjects – the creator/s and the viewer, and even if one of these subjects has a place where they draw “the line,” the other may draw it somewhere different, or not draw it at all.
To draw any line in the first place is such a tough one with art, (and porn) as there are infinite variables. Framing, for example. (There’s probably a more accurate term for this, as I’m possibly drawing on context and narrative here too, but hey I’m not a photography expert.) Fine art nude photography is often of beautiful women, completely nude, in a serene, isolated location such as a forest, and shot from a distance. Many may buy a print like this and put it on display in their home. But take that same image, and zoom in on, say, just the models breasts and décolletage. Or even her torso and head, with some of the location in view in the background. This is a lot more likely to be seen as porn – even though we are seeing only half (or less) of this naked woman. Perhaps because the breasts and neck can be sexualised by the viewer, or the fact that you CAN’T see her genitals is enticing. Which is a little bit of a paradox, really. Half naked = more porn. Go figure.
Another aspect (which I personally encounter often) is when BDSM or fetish details are apparent in a shoot or image. Sometimes they are only details, such as a model wearing a collar, or sometimes it is the whole shoot concept, such as rope bondage/shibari, or two models playing in a D/s (Dominant/submissive) scenario. These are some examples of when I personally find what is being shown is both porn and art. Our first imaginary image – a model fully clothed, but wearing a collar – I see this as a little pornographic. Because I am into BDSM. Because I find the idea of wearing a collar, or having a partner wear a collar, exciting. I am very much into the D/s dynamic. But then again, (and a little off topic here) if I saw someone walking down the street wearing a collar, I would not sexualise them. One, because I am not super comfortable with the idea of sexualising people if they are going about their everyday business and not outwardly showing that they are okay with/want to be sexualised, and two, I am really unobservant when I am walking down the street.
But back to the point – more obvious BDSM concepts in photoshoots, such as shibari. Now I’ve done a fair few shoots that involved this. Some were purely “artistic”, meaning that the ropework and my body positions were of focus. But in others, the connection I had with the person tying me (or the person I was tying, in some cases), or me/the model being tied in vulnerable or sexually suggestive positions, or the process of tying/being tied, or having other things done to me/the model whilst tied may have been at the forefront. So in that sense, of course the second concept is more pornographic than the first. But is the first still pornographic? In my experience, sometimes, but not always, and this usually depends on the model (and their rigger) and what they are trying to achieve from the shibari. From both my experiences and watching/reading about the experiences of others, sometimes, especially in a live performance setting, shibari can be about the connection of the rigger and model made by the rope. This is both the physical connection through tension in the rope, the model being in a restrained position, and the model being in a suspended position and then the emotional connection created through the trust the model gives to the rigger while they let themselves be put in both a vulnerable and potentially risky situation. Shibari performances and modelling can have inherently no sexual connotations – or shibari can be used during sex or other play. So I guess that’s one for the viewer to decide whether it’s pornographic or not, as they may find that it is, even if the people who are physically involved in the act do not have sex on their minds whatsoever.
Since we have just discussed live performances, I guess this then brings about the topic of exhibitionism. This is another element of BDSM, but is definitely not exclusive to it! It’s also something that I’m very much into (…obviously) and have done a fair few “flashing in the street” photoshoots. Now, I get off on people watching/looking at me naked or doing sexually suggestive things. BUT in no way whatsoever do I want to force that upon people who don’t want to see it. If I am flashing in the street etc, I make sure that no one can see me. If I’m doing a nude shoot in a deserted but public place, I make sure to cover up if someone happens to walk by. It’s kinda the real-life equivalent of not sending unsolicited dick pics. But the images produced…I guess these are moving closer to the realm of pornography.
Let’s flip it and move on to actual pornography – to make it obvious – people having sex. Can porn be art? Of course! I can think of several photosets I’ve done, as well as work by other artists, which are blatantly pornographic, but they are beautiful. And sometimes, they’re not so blatant. Sometimes, you can tell people are having sex, but you never see their genitals. Sometimes, it’s just two people kissing, but you can tell it’s sexual. Some of these videos/images are technically beautifully composed – artistically. And this is my favourite kind of porn.
One last thing – do I do porn? I’m going to say yes, yes I do. But not all the time. I think the majority of my work is actually not pornographic, but I do not mind whatsoever how the viewer sees it. I accept that I am a somewhat attractive female, and if I’m posting nude images, yeah it’s pretty damn likely they’re going to be sexualised. But I don’t mind. And that’s the beauty of it – the same piece of art can mean so many different things to each different viewer. This is the epitome of why I am creative, and why I do what I do.
As a little bonus for my members - I’ve added the full set of 17 images from the intimate shoot between Oscar Mike and I, shot by Ojo Magico Art. Go check it out HERE, and if you haven’t already signed up, go do it or click the button below. You’ll have access to all my new and old work, pictures, videos, new projects, and more.
- Nakita xx