Is It Porn or Is It Art?

I take photos of naked women and men for a living. 

Some of my subjects are clients, others collaborate with me and others are paid models for professional projects. I’ve been doing this professionally for 20 years now and I regularly get asked, or challenged, over the question “Is it porn or is it art?”

 

The question, “Is it porn or is it art?” presents a false choice. It could be one or the other, both, or neither. I won’t speak for everyone else who does erotic or adult work, because their intent may be different, but here’s my point-of-view.

Is it porn?

Regarding whether what I do is porn or not, I’m not really interested in that discussion.  

My opinion on that subject is that each individual is welcome to determine the line on what is offensive. If it’s offensive to you, then feel free to not look at it. I completely respect your opinion. There are billions of other images in the world that you can enjoy instead. Please enjoy those.

The only issue I would have is if you sought to impose your opinion on me (or others). It’s a different matter entirely when a person, group, or government wants to tell everyone what is offensive, or worse, wants to remove that decision from the individual entirely. That’s oppressive and it’s censorship and it’s the death of freedom.

I’m big on freedom, and you should be too.

Is it art?

Now on to the question of whether what I do is art or not. I can answer that definitively.

It is art.  

It may not be the type of art that you like, and that’s fine. However, your definition of “good” or “bad” art does not invalidate its definition as a piece of art.

If you think that something that has nudity, or is erotic, or downright sexual, is automatically “not art”, then my advice to you is to pick up a book on art history and educate yourself before you make such comments. All of those elements have been in art since humans first scrawled on caves. All of those elements are very much a part of the human experience and therefore very much a part of art.

I’ve been an artist since I was six. I sold my first illustration at 13. I have six years of higher education with an art major, including two years of contemporary art studies. I’ve been published in numerous magazines, some books and other media. I’ve been interviewed and profiled in tons of newspapers, radio programs and websites. I’ve been a professional photographer for 20 years. My work has been in galleries and museums around the world. The reason I state all of that is not to toot my own horn, but rather to tell you that I know art exceptionally well.

I don’t approach anything I do without going through the artistic process. The result of that process is… art.

It’s the artist’s responsibility to ask questions and allow the viewer to provide answers.  Because of that I won’t hold your hand and tell you what I intend as an artist overall, or in each individual piece.  

I will say, in general, my work with models involves exploring a fantasy persona. I’m not presenting reality.

There is a certain amount of manipulation that I impose on my work. As an artist I seek to get a reaction from you. Hopefully that’s a positive reaction.

If you look at what I’m doing and you’re offended, or amused, or aroused, or curious, or educated, or whatever, then I’ve done my job.  

You may or may not like where that leads you. You may not like my style. You may not like my subjects. But your reaction belies the fact that what I do affects you, and that, is what art is all about.

Dirk Hooper is a professional writer who has done work for many high-profile online magazines, has won the Top Writer Award at Quora for the past two years, and a Moore Award for copywriting in 2017.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *