Friday, March 28, 2008

before, during, after

I seem to have lost my blogging momentum. Lots going on around here, mostly good, and I just haven't had the time to put into it. The passion's still there, but I've been busy, tired, a little flu-ish even. Contrary to what you might think, Spring Break '08 hasn't been full of the beer-fueled ejaculatory shenanigans the mythology (of Spring Break) inspires.

Speaking of, the more I think about it, the more fascinated I am with the subject of sex in photography. Thanks for those replies that I did receive, but I was kind of surprised that there weren't more. Matthew pointed out the difficulty of my query though… photography that deals with sex without being voyeuristic? Is that even possible?

Maybe… I don't know. I wonder if the trick is photography that deals with sex while not necessarily being photographs of people having sex. I guess the thing I'm looking for is work that acknowledges sex as just another element of being human and getting through the day.

Though I haven't put too much effort, thought, or analysis into it, these pictures all come to mind as being somewhat sexual, but not necessarily voyeuristic. Perhaps "intimacy" is the word. I guess you could argue that it's a question of timing. Each strikes me as being sexual in that they could be read as either before or after:

Michael Northrup, from Beautiful Ecstasy

JoAnn Verburg, Untitled, 1989 from Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort

On a semi-related note, way behind the rest of the world, I finally sat down over the past few days and spent some time with Taryn Simon's An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. It's the kind of project that really impresses me with it's scope, research, access, and insight. It's one of the best books I've come across in a long while, but the funny thing is that I don't love much of the actual photography. Some is pretty great, but much is maybe a little too deadpan and clinical. Still though, it's a book that excites me and makes me want to get off my ass and make something.

One of the reasons I was so slow in putting the book on my library list, even with all the buzz I've read about it this past year, is that my previous idea of Simon's work was skewed by some older work that I've seen somewhere- highly cinematic and stylized money shots. Though I can't find the image that turned me off (alright, maybe after it turned me on), here's another from the same series. Just imagine Harold Edgerton photographing sex instead of bullets shooting through apples. It's weird that I can't find any more of Simon's sex project today, but I did come across a conversation on Amy's blog from last year that dealt with the same work, but the work in question is no longer on the Richardson mag site either. That passion's gone.

Taryn Simon?, title?, date?


pearl said...

I think these are pretty sexy:

shawn said...

yes they are, pearl. thanks.