The shredding of the vanities (1988, modified 2010, 2016)

The three photos that make up this artwork were taken by me of me on film in 1988, my first images with the more controversial subject matter of the erect penis. In 2010 I printed them, immediately shredding the prints as a symbol of rejection. I then photographed the result on a red background and published it on flickr with a somewhat vulgar title “Shredding the stiffies (1988 reprocessed 2010)” together with a five paragraph account of what was behind the image. It’s still there and public but you’ll need to be a member to see it; it was in colour and only shredded once so a broad mind and a sympathetic character helps too.

Today in 2016 I decided that that image was not sufficiently defaced to make the point I wanted to make, so I shredded the image again, this time in a different direction. Again I photographed the result and converted to monochrome and that is what you see here.

Three photos of an erect penis put through a shredder.

Those three photos were my first images attempting to deal with the problematical subject matter of the erect penis and render it in some way artfully. An alternative take is that it was my first attempt to address my insecurities head on.

When I photographed the original images, I know my intention and the way the light was used absolutely meant that I was trying to do something artistic. The shreddings years later are symbolic of the fact that that those original images did not really work as art, but nevertheless there was art in there somewhere. As in 2010 there is a desire to publish the images because they were so important in my personal development.

If my photostream were one of the new crop of art movies for general audiences that feature real sex then these images would be the ones that the director included because they were of vital relevance to the plot, but which tabloid film critics would tear to shreds. At the time they were taken these images were helpful in making me realise that perhaps the playing field was not as stacked against me as much as I had imagined.

While it’s always difficult subject matter, I can now look at a penis as just another thing which can be photographed beautifully in its own right. Equally it can be an important part of an emotional portrait of an individual. The dividing line from crude porn is however seldom straightforward and some will never see it.

Those words about the original image “trying to do something artistic” are important and as I state on my home page, I believe “there is nothing offensive about any aspect of the human body, especially when presented in a way that makes an artistic statement or conveys its beauty“.

Because the originals were an important development in my photography, I still regard them as art. Creating them was an erotic experience with artistic intent. The end result that you see here is I think a development of that original flawed art and I believe carries a rather more profound artistic statement.

But maybe, perhaps, it was the performance of shredding the photos that was the real art?

Don’t scratch that!

I have been using film a lot recently for street photography, have posted some results but have lots more images to come. Yesterday I had three shots left on a roll (you will have to wait a few hours to see Croydon!) and for the first time in perhaps 12 years decided to use them on myself. With just three shots, no review, no concept (other than to quickly use up the roll) and zero preparation, the result was never going to be high art.

Now my memory goes back 27 years because that impromptu way of finishing a roll was perhaps how the first nude self portraits were captured. Then I did not develop the film myself. This time I did, but rather stupidly used a squeegee on the film. The softness is due to my use of a scratch removal filter. Lesson learned.

The title is a mixed reference – the thought went through my mind of not showing the image because of the alleged lack of ‘high art’. But (at a risk of boring those who have read this before), the art is in the long term project! It’s nice to return to film.

Nude self portrait captured on Ilford FP4 film.

Captured on Ilford FP4 film. Pentax ME with 50mm f1.4 lens.

In a corner, taking the dark path

Nude female - In a dark corner

“In a corner, taking the dark path” From a collaborative nude shoot with E, about 8 years ago. A nude improvised from the location, a dark loft with a small skylight.

Exploring a nude male portraiture collaboration in Brighton

Peter

Peter runs a naturist B&B in Brighton. We got together at his place to chat about the possibility of forthcoming collaborations in anticipation of the onset of warmer weather. Unusually for a first meeting I took my camera and we spend a half hour or so briefly touring his flat in his natural naked state and I took the opportunity to get him used to the idea of me pointing my camera at him.

 

 

male portrait

man lying naked on worktop male nude  portrait naked man mirror portrait naked man mirror portrait naked male floor portrait nude male backlit window portrait nude male backlit window portrait

nude self in mirror with naked male modelI chose to fit in with the local dress code. I guess Peter is accustomed to having other people trotting around his place naked but this was all rather new for me because I have not previously shot anyone while being myself nude. I really can’t say the experience affected the shoot at all unless it was a positive one because I have to express that, considering the available time, I am very happy with these images.

Scene in Worthing

The Dome Cinema, Worthing
The Dome Cinema, Worthing

This was shot on HP5 which was 10 years out of date. I compounded things by leaving the exposed film in the camera for 3 months and then developing for half the time I should have. It seems that old emulsions are very delicate.