Thursday, 8 March 2012

Why I don't do "Glamma"...

Today is International Women's Day. A day that celebrates how far women have come since the days that my great nan chained herself to things and protested for the ridiculously basic right to be treated as an equal human being, to have such rights as to work and to vote, and to be listened to and counted.

But can we congratulate ourselves that we live in a world that is so heightened in its awareness that slavery is no longer in existence? No. Children and women forced into prostitution, surely a thing of the distant past? No. And surely in this sophisticated decade men no longer treat women as mindless sex objects?

Two words: The Internet.

Whatever you seem to Google out there, you will at some point come across images of women designed and marketed for men. For the simple purpose of helping them get their jollies. The internet is the very worst tool for sexual objectification in history. And glamour photography is a major player.

As a photographer, it really gets me down, because it cuts across anything I try to do, and creates a stigma on my industry. People who know me at all will know I am certainly no prude... but when it comes to the way women are often portrayed, especially in glamour photography, I want nothing to do with it.

I always try to reflect my admiration and respect for women in my photography; if anything rather than drag them down to the lowest common denominator, I place them on a pedestal as they deserve. Because basically I think women are amazing!

Before the stones come hurling at me, I am not moralising here. I have posed for artists and photographers in my birthday suit. I always found it to be an amazing experience which raised my confidence and self-esteem and heightened my awareness as to how important it is to treat ANY subject (clothed or otherwise) with respect and understanding. It did all this, rather than strip me of my dignity, reduce me to a lump of meat and leave me feeling cheap and dirty - which is how I believe a lot of unfortunate young models end up feeling after being duped into posing for glamour "photographers"...

I have no problem with artistic nudity which I believe glorifies the beauty of the human body and its amazing complexity and diversity whatsoever. In fact I think it's a wonderful art form, as old as time itself. So let's not make everything about sex eh?

I once told a glamour photographer (much to his disgust) that I could put a girl in a duffle coat and make sexier images than he could. Unbeknownst to him it seemed, sexy is not naked body parts contorted into an artificial posture. Sexy is a flick of the eyes, a thought, an unseen gesture or bit of body language. Sexy exists in the mind.

And as for beauty Scroobius Pip once remarked - "Beauty is more than a nice pair of tits." I tend to agree. I believe beauty is found in seeing people for who they are, it's about character, it's about a relationship between the photographer and subject (male, female, adult or child).

Glamour - BAD glamour removes character and it removes relationship. The images become about the customer, and don't reflect anything of how the photographer feels or sees his subject (other than a perfect airbrushed, underdressed body). And it further serves to make young women insecure and unhappy with themselves, as they struggle to attain the unattainable perfection that male photographers create for male grubby purposes.

And for that reason, I'm out...