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© D.Owens

Emma


david_owens1

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© D.Owens

From the category:

Fine Art

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This photo seems to be on the fence as to whether it is erotic photography (don't know if that's the right term but it's going to be the term I use in this comment) or not. When I look at the picture I keep wanting to like it, but my eyes keep zeroing in on the woman's hand. I think it's a little too over the top for pure art (not that erotic photography isn't art), and would prefer the woman's hand to be flat against the man's body rather than peeling away his underwear. That way, it's about the whole picture instead of just the hand. I have nothing against erotic photography, or even hardcore porn. This photo just seems to have an identity crisis. I would really love this picture if the woman's hand was flat against the man's body.

 

Just my humble opinion.

 

Addendum: One other suggestion would be to shoot the two in almost the same pose, but for the male to be nude as well. I don't know if your female model would go for that as she would have the unfortunate job of covering up the male's genitalia, but I think that would work better. If you still insist on the hand, I would suggest getting closer and removing the male's arm from the shot to really focus on the woman and the underwear. Again, very much IMHO.

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David, thank you for your email. I didn't initially comment on this series as it is a complex area & I wanted to look at them again before rushing in.

 

There are several potential problems with the concept of "relationship portraits". One is the lack of an established aesthetic (except the very conventional "happy couple"), though this is possibly also an advantage. Another is the question of authorship: are you giving your view of the relationship or accepting their view (and if theirs, is it a shared view or predominantly that of one of them)? The third and most arkward is in portraying the very important erotic component in a relationship - can you successfully capture this in formal poses or do they have to sufficiently relaxed and confident to "get it on" (not necessarily full sex) in the photographer's presence and so allow the capture of a REAL erotic interaction?

 

My own opinion is that it is extremely difficult to generate the right situation for this kind of portrait to be genuinely successful. You have made a brave attempt in this series and may indeed have created just the kind of pictures they wanted to look back on. They are also interesting "stand alone" photos but to me they do not convey a real feeling of a personal relationship, more a manufactured "pastiche" of a hypothetical one in an art-photo style. This is not just a criticism of your work, it applies to just about all the supposedly erotic portraits posted on photo.net & elsewhere (the ones that do work IMHO are almost all ones in which the photographer is personally involved). Obviously there are successful erotic-provoking photos but these are fantasy sex-object type images - a different subject altogether.

 

I'm sorry if this sounds rather negative and I would hate to discourage you from developing this theme which is a wonderful challenge. Of course mine is only one opinion and I think this would be an excellent subject for a critique forum discussion (it would be great if one of these were chosen as PoW). ... Jonathan

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Definitly, the most significant and expressive in this folder. The hands of the man supporting her is a great detail.
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