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Glamour Philosophy
Old 07-05-2006, 09:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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With all the surplus & idle free time I have on my hands, coupled with my resistance to engage in, as one member put it, "a sideline business subject to government regulation," I thought I'd try to spark another debate that examines the philosophies and practices driving contemporary glamour photography.

I was surfing around various blogs today using the words "glamour" and "photography" as my search criteria. I stumbled upon one blog that had this to say:

"Glamour photography rides the border between art and pornography, between erotic and graphic, between glamour and exploitation. Too often it crosses the line and preys on young women whose ambition leads them to do things they shouldn't in front of a camera."

Heady stuff, no? (Maybe not, but I thought so.)

But it got me to thinking, once again, about the line between glamour and porn, what constitutes exploitation of our subjects, and whether there are morality issues associated with enabling and/or encouraging others to make decisions that might later bite them on the a$$.

Here's my take on it:

1. I don't know exactly where the line is between what we call glamour and porn but i know it when i see it.

2. Exploitation is part of the foundation of a free market economy. I might also mention that sexploitation is a big part of the marketing of a free market economy.

3. While decisions about what some hopeful women will do and not do in front of a camera have not been positive, fruit-bearing decisions, for others they most certainly were good choices within the context of their over-all lives and careers. Who am I to make those decisions for them? I'm only responsible for my own, personal behavior and decisions.

Anyway... anyone? anyone? Buehler?
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Last edited by jimmyd; 07-05-2006 at 09:59 PM..
 
Re: Glamour Philosophy
Old 07-06-2006, 06:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello JummyD,

You need to go shoot some more with all of this free time you have on your hands :-)

1. That is a line that is different for everyone I think. I know some people who think the SI Swimsuit issue is porn.

2. Unfortunately the word exploitation has several definitions. I am not sure when it becamse a negative word. Originally it meant to use some resource in the most beneficial manner, but somewhere along the line it became a word with a negative connotation. Anyhow, the cornerstone of a free market is people will pay what something is worth to them and everything is worth what the highest bidder will pay. This is getting way too long now. So what does negative exploitation of a glamour subject mean? I think it would include not telling the model the truth. For example, getting a full release but telling the model the images will only be used in your portfolio only to find them on a pay site or in a magazine somewhere. To me, between two people the only way exploitation can happen is if one of the people involved is misleading the other or exerting some sort of control. If you made someone dependent on you and then required that they appear in your images to be taken care of, yes, that would be negative exploitation in my book. But aside from those extremes, if two adult people have worked out a deal that is mutually beneficial I don't see any exploitation taking place. If someone says to pay a lady to pose for glamour images is exploiting her can it not also be said that charging a male to look at the images is exploiting him since it is taking advantage of a natural drive?

3. I always tell new models that they really need to consider what they want to do with modeling before they start posing for images involving little to no clothing. I am not saying that is everyone's responsibility, it is just what my own conscience requires. One could say that as an adult she should already have learned something about the modeling business before going to a photographer. On the other hand, most of the models I have worked with have come from model sites. If you approach someone on the street and ask them to model for you and bring the idea of becoming a model into the conversation then I would say you probably do have some responsibility to provide full disclosure.
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Re: Glamour Philosophy
Old 07-06-2006, 09:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The difference between glamour and porn is not lighting, but charm, aka good humour.

That is good humour in the attitude and treatment of the modle/image and also between the model and photographer/viewer.
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Re: Glamour Philosophy
Old 07-09-2006, 12:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You've brought up three different points here Jimmy: 1. Glamour Photography 2. Exploitation 3. Ethics.

Quote:
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=6 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=alt2 style="BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset">"Glamour photography rides the border between art and pornography, between erotic and graphic, between glamour and exploitation. Too often it crosses the line and preys on young women whose ambition leads them to do things they shouldn't in front of a camera." </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
His first sentence is too broad and leaves out the photographers that only shoot mainstream glamour. Shooters like JT and other glamour portrait photographers.

His second sentence lays the blame squarely on the shoulder of the ambitious model and not the photographer.

Websters defination of "exploit": 1. a daring act; a bold deed. 2. to make use of. 3. to make unethical use of for one's own profit.

If a model, on her own and after signing a models release, has made a decision to pose nude she has fulfilled Websters first definition. Good or bad it has nothing to do with me as a photographer. If she decides to publish these images in any type of media to make money or to further her career she has fulfilled Websters second definition. If she tells me that they are for her own personal use and then publishes them for gain she has fulfilled Websters third definition.

Quote:
what constitutes exploitation of our subjects, and whether there are morality issues associated with enabling and/or encouraging others to make decisions that might later bite them on the a$$.
If I knowingly press a naive model to pose nude, who has signed a models release, who I know wants a career in counselling children and then publish the images in a widely circulated smut magazine, then I have expolited the model and my actions are immoral. Yes I was able to pay the electric bill, but is my conscience clear? Personally, for me the answer is no, but there are others out ther that have no such ethical quandries.

We all know there are unethical photographers out there that do this kind of thing all the time. By the same token, there are people in everyday businesses that will use a people to gain an advantage over a competitor, to place themselves in a higher position within a company or to gain favor with others like themselves.

It's the way of the world.

Rick D.
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Re: Glamour Philosophy
Old 07-09-2006, 12:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixafter6

It's the way of the world.

Rick D.
Not that that makes it right.
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