1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Poll - Do you think AP should publish artistic nude....

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Nigel_Atherton, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    ... and erotic photography?

    When I was at AP in the 1990s, Bob Carlos Clarke was one of the darlings of the photographic world. His brand of stylised eroticism was hugely popular and his name on the cover was a guarantee of extra sales. He loved AP and was always happy to discuss his ideas and methods with the readers. For several years, I was responsible for putting together the annual Erotica issue – a bumper-sized edition dedicated to artistic imagery of the (mostly) female form – and Bob’s name was usually among the first on the list of contributors. His tragic death robbed the world of a technically gifted photographer with a singular artistic vision, but also a great sense of humour, which often came across in his work.

    Going through the images supplied for this week’s feature, however, I was struck by how few of them I considered ‘safe’ for publication in today’s AP. Even though most had been published in AP before, without complaint, I’m not confident that this would be the case today. Ironically, despite the increasing sexualisation of popular culture in the media, I sense that photography has become more conservative in its tastes. Or am I wrong?

    Head for the home page to vote http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/ on this week's poll - do you think AP should publish artistic nude and erotic photography?

  2. southonline

    southonline Well-Known Member

    can we see some examples please :eek:
  3. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it would increase your sales. There's loads of 'virtual' imaginations out there who would drool over them.
  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    If I'm honest, I always found BCC's stuff very samey and formulaic, and not remotely erotic; it made me yawn, more than anything, and is vastly less interesting to me than, say, Mapplethorpe's work, even as a straight guy. I've nothing whatsoever against nude or erotic photography in AP, what I really would hate to see is a return to the feeble stuff of the 70s and 80s that simply tarnished photographers with the image of dirty old men without being either erotic or artistic.
  5. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    Yes, I was referring to fine art nudes and erotica, mostly black and white (though not necessarily), rather than the tacky Page 3 type glamour photography of 1980s AP.
  6. Sphinx

    Sphinx Well-Known Member

    As long as every nude is treated as pornographic then pornography is winning. When ordinary healthy people are able to admit honest pleasure in admiring the beauty of the naked human body in all its forms that is the point the battle against indecency turns in favour of decency.

    Surely as an artistic medium photography should be at the forefront of demonstrating that there is more to the human body than sex.
  7. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    I would welcome the inclusion of material such as this (imo) brilliant image by a fellow Pentax user and amateur:


    I would not like to see this by BCC:


    The difference doesn't need to be explained, but I would like to see a magazine that is appropriate to aspiring young photographers and I wouldn't be comfortable for my 11 year old daughter for example to see the latter just yet.

    I have no objection to provocative or deliberateley controversial photography. But I just don't think AP is the suitable vehicle for it.

    Probably the best poll question I have yet seen.
  8. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Ah Yes. I remember my pre-teenage years in the early 1950s when it was a toss-up as to which magazine would have the "dirtiest" photographs - AP or Health & Efficiency.

    I think that nude studies can be artistic. My only worry is whether even artistic nudes being published in a "bookstore" magazine will be seen as exploiting women in the way that some of the "Lad's Mags" have been recently.

    My advice would be to keep such images off the front cover.
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Nigel,

    Yes, popular amateur photography seems to have become quite a lot more conservative.

    One reason, I think, is because of digital photography. When "artistic nudes" had to be printed in a home darkroom, or sent out to a pro lab, most amateurs were afraid of using amateur labs, largely because many amateur labs wouldn't print 'em anyway. Now...

    Another factor is the internet. The mirror image of freely available pornography is the free availability of people who are willing to be offended by just about everything: there are now legions just like dear old Hairy Whitemouse (1910-2001). Who else remembers her "National Viewers' and Listeners' Association", now apparently rebranded as Mediawatch-uk "for family values in the media"? It's apparently their 50th anniversary this year: see http://www.mediawatchuk.com/our-history/

    On the other hand, "fine art" photography is a lot more adventurous and even embraces hard-core pornography: I doubt you'd want to run much Laurent Benaim in AP. Here's something I wrote on another site two or three years ago about the Chat Soleil collective:

    An astonishingly good exhibition at Arles 2011 was of very large gum bichromates of hard core pornography at Coffee Socks. If you'd asked me, I'd have said it was almost impossible to create fine art from hard core pornography (and this WAS hard core -- one young woman entertaining two men simultaneously, for example), but they did it.

    Was anyone 'depraved or corrupted' by it (the classic test of pornography under English law)? Probably not. Would I want a 12-year-old to see it? Again, probably not (though at least one did while I was there).

    Have you ever noticed, though, how no-one ever admits that THEY were depraved and corrupted by something. They're always worried that someone else might be. Someone stupider or more lustful than they, presumably. I am distressingly often surprised by those to think that their own morality, whatever it is, should AUTOMATICALLY apply to EVERYONE. That's Taliban thinking...

    Despite this, I think you're much constrained by the "family magazine" concept. Dropping the "Erotica" issue was probably a good idea at the time, and I suspect that bringing it back would immediately resuscitate the old "Amateur Pornographer" slur.

    My view of Bob's photography is much the same as yours, and although I never met him, Frances did, and held him in high regard.


    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  10. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    First category; yes. Second category: no.

    I've seen some old APs from before my time that included the superb photography of Lussa Vince. But then I remember AP when edited by Martin Hodder and the awful glamour stuff that he insisted on filling the magazine with. This went on after he departed; you've only to look at APs for sale on eBay to see how dire it all was.
  11. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Thin dividing line between erotica and glamour. Please don't go there.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Nigel, I didn't believe anything else for one minute. :)
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    What? The mostly black and white bit?
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    OI! I do the sarky pedantry round here! ;)
  15. Sphinx

    Sphinx Well-Known Member

    The post made me think of a couple of images - not I hasten to add mine but taken from wikipedia.[​IMG]

    Now I will let everyone make their own mind up about the suitability of the subjects - but is does anyone dare claim "not art"?
  16. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

  17. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Bestiality is not acceptable but an innocent David displaying all to the artistic or inadequately educated females is ok provided those innocent inadequately educated females realise that David is not very well endowed.
  18. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    What does "not acceptable" mean? To whom? Where? When?


  20. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    There is plenty of space for a bit of everything in this world...
    But probably not in the "AP"

    The magazine got a very bad press in days gone by, and it was hard to tell smut from artistic.
    In today's climate It might find a certain new market, but it would certainly lose some of what it has now, along with its regained reputation. A large proportion of the readership seems to be adult and perhaps many of those are fairly long in the tooth, who can remember certain issues placed out of reach on the top shelf.

    I have seen exhibitions and books that were based on the best Artistic work and sometimes at the limit of anyone's taste. I have no problem with that, as there is always a personal choice of entering or looking at them.

    A subscription copy of AP does not have that same freedom of choice, and is not limited to a restricted adult audience.

    I notice that 60% have voted for Yes, we're adults, and it's a valid artform with a distinguished history
    Which may be true, but action on it could be very damaging to reputation and circulation.

    A better choice might be to publish reports in the news section, covering such books and exhibitions.

Share This Page