Not Politically Correct

July 14th, 2010

D20 1084 Not Politically Correct

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back here to respond to Mo’s comment.  It’s been a busy time.  The long drive back from Vermont and trying to catch up on things from being gone almost two weeks…then my son had to go into the hospital.  Nothing too serious, but still much more important than blogging.  I’ll be leaving in a bit to go see him in the hospital, but thought I’d try to write a little something in the time I have.

First I must admit that I really am not interested in this discussion.  I think it is stupid beyond my ability to tolerate it.  So, this is going to be the end of my commenting on it.  I’ll post your comments if they aren’t abusive, but I’m done.

I’m not going to repost Mo’s comment here.  You can go read it here if you want.

The short version of my response is just:  I’m not buying it.  No Sale.

I have so many problems with this whole thing that I don’t really know where to start.  So I guess I’ll start by giving Mo a hard time.  That’s always fun.  It seems Mo is suggesting that we, photographers and models, need to be more politically correct in how we present the female form in our photographs.  It’s a real surprise to hear that coming from Mo, the Princess of Political Incorrectness.  So, Mo, please put on your tiara and sash and dance naked around your house.  Take photos and send them to me.  Be careful not to suck your stomach in.

Sorry, Mo, I couldn’t resist.  I’m weak.

OK…second:  Of course we try to look good in photos…and good photographers try to make their subjects look good in photos.  Duh!  Maybe I should have my models make nasty or funny faces when I take their photos…after all, not everyone has a pretty face and we don’t want to make those folks with ugly mugs feel inferior.  I try to make beautiful photos.  It’s my idea of beauty because I’m the artist.  If you have a different view of what is beautiful, take your own photos.  I work with lots of different sizes and shapes of models.  I’ve considered working with some large “plus” models, but I haven’t for my outdoor work because I don’t think that shape of model would work for what I’m trying to do.  I think the model would be a distraction in that case, not an integrated element of the composition.  I could change my mind about that, and if I do and the photos work that will be fine.  But it’s my decision and it has everything to do with the art I’m trying to create and absolutely nothing to do with some teenager’s neurotic body image problems.  Not to minimize those problems, but they aren’t my problems and I am not responsible for those problems.  Look somewhere else if you must find someone to blame…I’m not having any of it. 

And, as my friend, Dave Swanson, pointed out on his blog, Brooke isn’t really sucking her stomach in for these photos.  That’s just how she is built.  Deal with it.

So, I absolutely reject the idea that I or any other artist should alter their vision to accommodate people with mental problems that prevent them from living normal lives.  As soon as an artist starts to bend to the will of the Political Correctness Police they stop being an artist and become just a tool of whatever is the priority of the day for the art Gestapo.  I’m not going there.

Oh…and I’m not really interested in that challenge.  I do what I do to try to make art.  I’m not going to waste my time trying to make someone else’s version of art.  And, Mo, you know how I work.  You have to know that there are thousands of photos from every shoot where the model looks all sorts of different ways from what you see me present.  I edit and present what I want the world to see…because it reflects my ideas.  Look through the work we did together and post things where your stomach is sticking out if you want to.  I don’t care to go there myself.

To quote Patti Smith: “I am an American artist and I have no guilt.” 

People with eating disorders should seek professional help.  I can’t help them by having my models stick their stomachs out when I take their photo.  This all made me remember an excellent treatment technique highlighted in this video from Mad TV.  Perhaps those who need help with these issues could benefit from this treatment:

available light, Brooke Lynne, figure in nature, North Shore, nude, rant, Uncategorized | Comments | Trackback

2 Responses to “Not Politically Correct”

  1. 1Morgan
    July 14th, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

    You don’t have to buy it but I still think I am correct. While I am not saying all nude photographers and models are to blame nor that sole blame lies with them/us, I still feel absolutely certain we ARE part of the problem or at the very least we perpetuate it. Or at least those photographers and models who make pains to point out they are creating art that celebrates the natural beauty of a female’s body.

    What do you suppose fuels all those eating disorders so prevelant in so many young women and girls? Seriously? Where do they get that completely unnatural idea of what a healthy body looks like or should look like? Why do you suppose sooooooooooo many women think they are fat when they are anything but fat?

    Could any of this possibly be because the media goes to such huge lengths to present models who don’t reflect what the average normal healthy female looks like, either by photoshopping away parts of their bodies or posing them so that their ribcages show? Now before someone has a pisser over that one notice I did NOT state those models are actually an unhealthy weight or that they have eating disorders or any such thing. I don’t for a moment think Brooke has any such problems and I hope she hasn’t taken any offense at this because no insult was intended.

    This isn’t about being politically correct, Dave. This is about calling bullshit when I see it and it’s bullshit to say that someone is celebrating the beauty of the natural female form when there isn’t anything natural in the ways they pose or photoshop their models. Again, Mr. Defensive, I never said this was you and in fact I think I said it wasn’t.

    I don’t think you’re weak but I think you are something. Sorry, I couldn’t resist either. I should have known better than to ever broach the topic because no one seems able to really be reasonable and non-defensive about it. I get that you are upset that your son is ill and in the hospital and for that I am sorry. Past that, you were snarky and ugly in this post and I didn’t deserve it. I am pretty sure my 7:30am phone call yesterday morning that my father passed away trumps your ill son and still I haven’t been ugly in return even though it would be lovely to lash out at someone right about now.

    And no, you don’t have to be politically correct and other peoples’ problems aren’t your own. Lord knows I preach that all the time. But I also preach that doing what we can to take care of and help others is the right thing to do. Along with empathy.

    Now if you don’t mind me I will go strip naked, put my tiara on and go dance around for someone else.

  2. 2Unbearable Lightness
    July 17th, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    I just want to say Dave is one of the best photographers I’ve worked with, and he shot two of my most popular works – “Bedposts” and “Everything, Including the Kitchen Sink.” In neither of these am I in a stock pose or contorted or uncomfortable. Dave never directs a model’s pose; he allows us to mold naturally into our environment, whether it be a kitchen sink or a wet rock.

    The word “art” comes from the same root as “artifice.” Without artifice, you would simply be taking snapshots, and given the beauty of the photo of Brooke published with this post, that is NOT what Dave is doing. He is creating breathtaking art.

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Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

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