I guess the thing to do is define “Sexy” of which Merriam Webster declares the word as an “adjective”
- Sexually suggestive or stimulating: erotic
- Generally attractive or interesting: appealing
Erotic: 1. Of, devoted to, or tending to arouse sexual love or desire <erotic art>
It is suggested that the word “erotic” was first used in 1651, but the word “sexy” was first used in 1925 of which I find it hard to believe. But since I was born in 1960 it is okay with me because I have known of many things and events in my life time of which I can call “Sexy”.
Yet I am asking the question “Who is allowed to be sexy”, it may seem elementary on my part yet it is necessary to make clear the need to provide protection for those who are not legally of age to be exposed or displayed in a way that is clearly “Sexy, sexual, or erotic”. So my question excludes those who are underage.
“Who is allowed to be sexy”… it may surprise some of you and maybe even infuriate most of you, but to me Marilyn Monroe was not that beautiful of a woman, oh yes there were some shots of her that were very sexy and yes appealing to the eye. But given the right preparation many women can be seen the same way. But what she did so well for the time she was on the world stage was to push the envelope and walk on the edge in front of a society that was not so comfortable with a woman being and living publicly “Sexy”. She on purpose wanted men to see her in a very “sexy” way, and she wanted women to embrace their “sexiness”.
If you were to look at some of her photographs she would at times be considered fat and out of shape by many of us today. But wrap her in sheer fabric and a few jewels (which was her last photoshoot), put her in Diamonds (they are said to be a girl’s best friend) or allow her to stand over a metal object with wind that blows her dress up and expose a pair of granny panties (by our standards today) and be the first to do so and she is declared “SEXY”, an “ICON” or even a “SEX SYMBOL”
“As a photographer I can tell you I am a fan somewhat of Norma Jeane Mortensen (aka Marilyn Monroe) not because I consider her a sexy woman, but because she was bold enough to express how she felt about being sexy.”
Sexy is not a figure it is a feeling, an expression and sometimes it is something a woman or a man may want to express in a photographic way, read it carefully “Photographic”. The problem is that there are times when the motive and intent of those who view your photographs or attempts at displaying your sexiness can come under their judgments.
Some 22 years ago I visited Europe for the first time and was amazed at how they viewed nudity and sexuality as a culture. French television would display images that we had not gotten the clearance from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to display here in the United States. The beaches where covered with women who were at a minimum topless as if it was the norm, and it was. Even Spain which had recently come from under the rule of a Dictator was expressing there “Sexiness”. I saw it for myself.
But still today in our nation we have a problem as a whole with a woman or a man expressing what they view as “Sexy”.
So my question is “WHO IS ALLOWED TO BE SEXY?” If the person fits the role model of what society says is “Sexy” with the “Perfect Body”, appealing images, etc… are they allowed to display “Sexy”. If they are paid thousands of dollars or if they pay a professional, Hobbyist or nonprofessional are they allowed to express photographically what they feel is “Sexy”?
My view is clear if of age and legally about to abide by the laws of the land anyone who wants to express that part of their personality identified as “Sexy” should be allowed to do so, and do so without the judgments of those not comfortable enough with their own body images, or psychologically bond to a different way of thinking about the subject.
It is hard for me to expressed to you the many woman I have photographed that have said how beautiful they felt after expressing themselves in front of the camera and having completed the photosession to see the images produced them having expressed what they were feeling internally.
Just a few days ago this thought can across my mind as I was talking to another photographer on my way to put up some ink for my printers. We had not seen each other in over 2 years. The last words we had was when he had an accident and had injured his back. Within minutes we were talking as if we did not have that long of a break in our relationship. One of the subjects we discussed was how we seem to always talk so much longer than planned when on the subject of Photography. Photography is the glue that bonds us together; freely sharing ideas and concepts without fear of “giving away secrets”.
I must say that I have been part of many organizations or group of people, but for some reason photographers tend to think “I must keep my secrets about photography to myself, or someone will be better than me!” Esprit de corps – A common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm, and devotion to a cause among the members of a group.
I so agree with the Professional Photographers of America Code of Ethics (PPA Code of Ethics http://www.ppa.com/about/code_of_ethics.php )
I, as a requirement for admission to and retention of membership and participation in Professional Photographers of America, Inc., agree to strive at all times to upgrade and improve my knowledge and skill of professional photography, marketing and related areas. In all my dealings with users of photography and the general public, I will:
1. Strive to present all photographic services in surroundings and in a manner which reflects the highest levels of professionalism.
2. Use the highest levels of honesty, professionalism and integrity.
3. Not use any marketing or competitive practice which violates any Federal Trade Commission, or other Federal or State regulatory agency rule or regulation, or Federal or State statute or any decision of any Federal or State Court; and
4. In all dealing with fellow professional photographers, students and others who aspire to be professional photographers, I shall share the knowledge and skill of professional photography.
5. Support efforts for and assist in the education of all interested persons the general public in the art and science of professional photography.
All points are of equal importance, but 4 and 5 are the ones most photographers do not understand… we should:
1) SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL OF PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
2) Educate all who are interested in the ART AND SCIENCE OF PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
I recently celebrated my 52nd birthday and a Pastor friend of mine scheduled breakfast with me. While in conversation with Albert he made a statement to me “You know whatever you are involved in you were born to teach”… so true.
My goal is go to the grave having done all I can to help train, teach and develop those I come in contact with. Knowledge is given not for you to keep it to yourself, but to give it to someone else. Let it be said about you when you are no longer on the face of the earth…because of Him or Her I am better, they taught me something… he or she helped me.
Just today I had a fellow photographer express concern about a photo posted online, they said “that looks just like your style”… it was a very nice sexy boudoir image and she was right it was done in the style I would have presented.
My reply was this… “We are very close friends and this shot is a common theme for this type of capture…. He did a great job”…
They replied… “Yes, indeed… he did a great job!!!!!!!!…. Interesting, you do not mind others (even friends) shooting and editing just like you do?
My reply…” We should inspire others in a healthy relationship… he has helped me in many ways as well with great knowledge about lighting….”
They replied “Oh… now I understand…. learning from each other… the styles will progress and will eventually be different. Thank you for the clarification.”
I may be wrong but I think I can share my workflow, technique, etc.. and you will never see what I see in my mind’s eye, that is what makes us different and my style Is part of who I am, what I have experienced, the places I have been… it is the core of my soul. And just like a finger print it is what makes me different from everyone else.
Photography should bring us TOGETHER!!!!
I was sitting in my office thinking to myself; if I had to give up one of my physical abilities what would it be?
My hands? No I would want to have them to drive and hold my camera. They are nice to have when I want to prepare something to eat, hug my wife, children and grandchildren. And they do have so many other useful and meaningful purposes.
My Feet/Legs? No! I so enjoy being able to get around without the assistance of nothing more than my Cadillac Deville; just for me nothing is sexy about a wheelchair or cane #IJS
My Eyes? Nope cannot be a photographer or graphic designer without the ability to see… and there is no app to download to overcome that… well at least not yet…
Brain operating correctly? Never! The capicity to think clearly and creativily is what keep us sane… Nothing worse than a brainless wonder… Walking around without a clue.
My Voice? If I had to make a choice it would be this ability. Why because I would still have the ability to learn sign language and the ability to write, or type and maybe even to give voice to what I write or sign.
But most of all I would still have the ability to give speak to the world through my photography.
By way of what I see and create with thought provoking images from my lens. Powerful images within photography have the ability to speak to those who view them. They say something to them, paints an image in their Cerebral cortex which arepericing and penterating; and at times will evoke powerful emotion in and from them. If anything this is the one thing I seek to do with my photography – GIVE IT A POWERFUL VOICE!
I often stop to think about what the effects of my photography will have on those who I photograph and those who view my captures. I would like to be able to tell those who view them the story behind the photograph. Some of the most awesome captures I have, were candid shots; they were moments frozen in time for all to see. A split second freezed frame and the emotion and beauty of the photo is there for other to see and awe over. I resently read a blog of my photomate Leighton DaCosta http://ldacostaphotography.wordpress.com/ where he highlighted a great blog entry by Scott Bourne http://photofocus.com/2011/01/07/five-ways-to-know-your-photos-arent-cutting-it/ all 5 points I honestly could relate to, because I have for 5 years now employed them into what I do as a photographer. But point 5 was one that made me laugh out loud. 5. Your Photos Aren’t Cutting It if you yourself haven’t spent any real time studying the work of other successful photographers.
It is for a very important point.. I know I know we all want to think that we are able to develop and create something new, but the fact of the matter is everything that can be done has been done. The real challenge is to DO IT BETTER…
I would like to add a point to it: 6. Your Photos Aren’t Cutting It if it does not evoke strong emotions from those you photograph and those who view it! DO NOT SETTLE FOR “AVERAGE” IT WILL DO PHOTOS. WORK UNTIL YOU GET THE TYPE OF PHOTOS THAT HAVE POWER TO THEM…
That being said I guest I would have to develop an article that says 6 ways to know your photos are not cutting it…. but then someone would come up with reason number 7…
Specail thanks to Scott for starting the dialog…..
I have had a lot of thought about this subject over the past years. As I look at the images of other awesome photographers and some not so awesome (but we all have been there) and compliant how far the finished capture is from what game off the camera. I think we have to be careful to not be totally dependent on post processing techniques and software. I am a Photoshop guy and I do enjoy presets and Actions. But I NEVER allow my ability to do post correction to effect the way I capture the shot. My goal is ALWAYS get it right from the camera.
I must admit there are times I have to fight the urge to smooth the skin, or apply a filter. I believe the best shots are those we get straight from the camera. Marketing and clients desire sometimes means we have to add all the bells and whistle; however there has to be an outlet for that which is straight from the camera.
I had a photographer buddy who sent me a link to view the work of a photographer he had just discovered. He was on the phone about 20 minutes after he had sent the link. “He man have you looked at this dudes work?” I replied.. “I do not know what his photography is about, but he is an awesome Graphic Designer.” If you are a good Graphic Design you can make also must anything to awesome.
We must keep in mind when viewing some images that you will never obtain that look for a capture straight from the camera… it is the process of Post Processing…
1. Gordon Alexander Detroit, Michigan by Model Mayhem Mentor and the very first Professional Photographer that moved me to Excellence http://www.facebook.com/#!/gordon.alexander
2. Marlen Adams – His Graphic Design is on point and he is the reason I am a Photoshop Guy and Trainer http://www.facebook.com/#!/mrmarlenadams
3. Maya Guez – The Baddest Female Photographer National and International
Visual Artist, Photographer, Art Director, Photo Editor, Make up Artist Manhattan : NY
4.Derrick Brown ex Navy guy one of the Nations Sexiest shooting Photographer and Astist (Dallas / Houston Tx) http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1136233855
5. Alex Manfredini Miami Fl one of the General of Glarmour Photography / Training in Photography his lovely and talent Wife is one of his Make Up Artist…
6. Roland Smith one Orlando’s finest Photographers http://www.facebook.com/#!/rolandsmith
One of the must read for all photographers….