Monday, October 30, 2006

Reflective Moment

Monday afternoon and facing the seriousness of a new week - aren't we all? Sex was sorted out on Saturday night - so no sense of any unfinished business. Though I reckon rooting does give me direction and drive - and after, there are a few rubberless moments ... days.

But then I force my brain onto other things. So I completed the draft of an article I've been writing on my area in semiotic theory, and got this off to a friend, and to an academic acquaintance. No replies yet - why didn't they get up in the middle of the night, read it and respond (in detail) in the early hours? So self - nothing to do with me being impatient or demanding at all!!!

Another buddy's back from India and flush with photos and stories so I'd better front up for the debriefing. It'll be good cos the sub-continent is one of my all-time favorite travel destinations.

So then I started reflecting on a magical journey through Rajasthan, and in particular Varanassi (old Benares).

Along the Ganges:

People at work and rest:

Mourners on the river at dusk:

Laundry day:

Monkey raids on the hotel balcony:

A holy man - a saddhu:

India is truly one of the magical places!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jinko - Silk Screen Prints

I have been very drawn to a series of silk screen prints by Jinko.

My first reactions to his silk screen prints were really responses to the photographs which they drew on and which I already knew - I liked the originals cos they were of guys I find really hot hot hot. Then I realized I also liked these prints themselves - liked them for something going on in the art work itself, beyond just reminding of the referents. To investigate this, I hunted down some of the original porn pictures to compare with their silk screens.

I realized that sometimes the beauty of the formal ideas of the composition of a photo (the way the photographer set up the pose of the subject to balance out forms, etc) can be lost in what is being represented - a sexy bod! And I began to think about how Jinko had brought these formal design aspects back into focus in his prints, without loosing their hot representations. And had used these techniques to bring (erotic) things to the work that weren't in the original photos.

One way he does this by reducing the modeling, which gives the impression of masses and volumes, light and shade, and so on. Where there is grading in the photo (for example, shadows becoming darker as they move out of the light), now there are simple flat-ish shapes of colour in the print. In the second photo for instance, the graded modeling round the left shoulder (white on the high mid point of the muscle down to to brown at the outside edge of the shoulder) is reduced to the simple flat overall pink shape in the print.

Then I started to think about this in more detail.

For example, in the first work below, the gray and the pale cream areas on the right arm still represent the real world entities of shadow and bright-lit high muscle surface but they now achieve the status of independent coloured shapes that can be arranged on the surface of the two dimensional picture. These shapes can then balanced out against other forms and colours, such as, for example, the solid black shape of the hair (no variations in colour now for the 'highlights' of the photo) and the gray of the shadow under the jaw.

Again, the lines that represent shadows around the masses of pecs and abs now have a purely formal function is the design of the two dimensional surface of the print.

Finally, the head of the cock in the second photo is two dimensional and not colour-distinguished from the shaft, but is so differentiated in the screen print - as dark pink. The end of the dick is now a separate element in the design. This change adds to the eroticism of the work - focuses something we (I) think about more than a little.

There are other ways in which there is a move away from simple representation for artistic and erotic purposes.

The various shadows around the butt in the second photo (dark in the crack but paler under the buns) are simplfied into just one gray shape in the print, with only one dark area in the print, the pubic hair, for emphasis. A dark crack is a hot turn on for me - this is obviously an individual artistic choice!.

A few more Jinko prints to look at:

Friday, October 13, 2006

David Vance - Photographer

These black and white and sepia photographs come from David Vance.

All the photographs have the sense of being studies in form, as opposed to being being 'naturalistic', and this is part of their meaning. This approach is clearly signalled in first photograph, which has the etiology and reference in the following C19 oil painting and van Glodden silver gelatin photograph:

So, the first Vance group is what could be called a reflective 'studio' set, beautiful in their flowing interlocking sculptural forms, particularly in the second photo, where the eye follows the left leg done to the foot and then back into and along the right thigh:

And then a more active set (that makes me feel less than athletic!!!) - muscles taught in a frozen act of motion, rather than the movement itself:

And to finish, an outdoor group, a number of which could have wandered off a large commissioned sculptural group:

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Falling into bed

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Senator Mark Foley Scandal

My irritation has been mounting over the Mark Foley scandal in which the senator has resigned amid reports that he had sent sexually explicit internet messages to male pages. I put this photo here to give the senator a face:

Now, in no way do I condon sexual approaches to under-age people. However, in much of the media coverage (and I am sure in the wider community) I sense a disguised attack on the gay community. Let me explain.

In item after item, news services condemn Foley for emailing 'children as young as 16'! And by the way, there is no reporting that he actually met up with anyone he messaged.

What I find annoying and suspicious is that 16 year olds are characterised as children. This false definition seems to emotively and dishonestly to draw in pedaphilia to unreasonably damn the senator. As some Democrats are saying, this characterisation would not be used if the pages were 16 year old girls.

In all states of the US but two, people may legally marry at 16 with parental consent (otherwise, without parental consent it is 18). In New Hampshire, 'A female between the age of 13 and 17 years and a male between the age of 14 and 17 years can be married only with the permission of their parent (guardian) and a waiver' (Ibid). In a number of states and with circuit or probate court permission, the age is 15.

At 14, I was sexually active, and this seems in accord with the spirit of these laws of marriage. I am not buying into the debate about the age of concent here.

Now, to characterise potentially married people as children seems absurd! Is the US really saying that it is ok/legal for 'children' to marry and have sex!

As I was saying at the outset, this is to not defend approaches to the under-aged. Or buy into the age of consent debate. What I am saying that there is something disingenuous about the way the participants in this event are being defined - and this has the odor of discrimination. The issue should be addressed but honestly and without an unspoken agenda.