Published: Tuesday 15th of January 2008 10:21:35 AM
Judgments, Judgments, Judgments If you decide to judge (rate) this photo, please do not judge the beauty of these women -- that is not your job here, I think, but please do judge how well I have captured (in a minute or two) this trio of 'actresses' whom I came upon, giving due regard for lighting, skin tones, composition, the 'worth' of the subject as the subject, (not as some idealized notion of what you think it might be, but what it is here -- what I was presented with). And think for a moment, how you might have presented it . . . if you had chosen to undertake photographing these three women . . . what would you have done differently? This is absolutely the best capture I could come up with under the circumstances, available light (my camera had a flash, on camera, but I NEVER have used it, and I had an SB800 Nikon flash in my pocket, but I use it so rarely I mostly just recharge the batteries of it and its five brothers and sisters as they discharge from disuse). So, please rate the photography, not the 'beauty' of the subject or whether you like or don't like BBBBW - just how well I have made you gaze at this (multi-person) subject and 'take it in' -- and made you have feelings of any sort for what you see depicted here. (and of course, please don't make this a plebescite on 'porn' -- so many people who say they don't watch it, that it belies the popularity of the phenomenon, but I am not promoting it -- as any glimpse at this photo will attest.) John (Crosley)
David I thank you for the compliment. I think this is one of my better portraits in a long time, with a diversity of expressions -- this one is caught 'on the fly' with them moving about, preparing to pose, but not yet posed (or so they thought -- heh, heh). That's when it's a good time to capture models or someone you are photographing -- when they are not expecting the shutter to click -- that's when they reveal who they really are, as opposed to what they want to project to you. At least that's my view. Addendum: I don't look at rates when I write replies to commentaries, so I am writing this addendum. I am glad the originality of this photo pleased you so much you gave it PN's highest rating -- that is a high accolade. I also rate it pretty highly -- it's among my best work in this genre -- 'street' or 'environmental' portrait, and such portraits needn't be so flattering, as much as they must be true to life. I darkened this photo quite a bit and increased the contrast to take advantage of pretty good lighting and made it better. That helped to bring out naturally good tones and make it a little more dramatic. I am glad I did (but I bet the 3/3 rater -- the only other rater so far -- thought the girls were trash, so my photo was trash too -- despite my entreaty to rate otherwise.) Thanks for commenting (and also for rating, high or low). John (Crosley)
Hi John, There is nothing I can say except you are a very clever man with a very good eye for people and places. David
Well, well, well. I don't have a problem with the subject matter. I would even go so far as to say that you have some really great subject matter here, but I'm not really sure this shot works for me. Here's the thing. You say in your introduction to the photo that these ladies had innocent names and were "quite nice in their behavior and demeanor." What does that have to do with this photo? Is this photo an attempt to capture some of those qalities? If so, I don't see it, although I have to say that is what would make this photo truly fascinating (for me anyway.) As is, I see three actresses in character acting out exactly what fans expect them to do at a convention: this is the facade not the truth behind it. For me, capturing a moment of humanity would be far more persuasive a portrait: these three gals doing their nails, frowning about something, giving each other a (non-erotic) back massage to help with the stress of the convention, capturing their responses while looking at a photo somebody had taken of them, having a smoke, just sitting and chatting etc. This would allow the viewer a glimpse into the world behind the construct, it would debunk the roles that are taken on by these women. In short, it would show the viewer that these are indeed women not objects. Of course, having shot at car/photo shows before, I am also aware that this type of photo is much harder to come by. That being said, you have a lot of other interesting shots in your portfolio. I like the use of images within images. Keep up the good work!
Bethany Perhaps you don't read too well. I was not 'given' any models. I happened upon these young women. There was no time to take the sort of photos she suggested; that might have taken hours. I had less than a minute or two to do something with these women, or nothing at all. This was not a 'class assignment' or an intimate look at their lives; this was a walk by with a camera. You offer a critique, but apparently you only read the other critique and didn't look into the timeline involved. There was no chance to take the kind of photograph otherwise suggested, however good or bad that kind of photograph might have been. I invite critiques, read them all, take them all to heart, but that does NOT mean that I have to unquestioningly accept all of them, especially if they are ill thought out, or if they are based on a faulty presmise, such as suggested or based on the ill-founded idea that I had some time with these young women, which I did not. I did not have more than three of four minutes total with these women before they shut down the whole exposition, period. And it was in an giant exposition setting, not on some movie shoot where the sort of setting or photo she envisioned might have been taken, or I would have been the first to have taken it, and wouldn't have needed a critique of THIS photo to to have taken another sort of photo entirely. I do move between sorts and genres of photos quite readily as anyone looking through my over 1,000 posted photos probably can readily see, and I do not thrive on stereotypes. You might look at others' portfolios if you're looking for stereotypes; as I often break them. I kind of like this photo because of its lush tones and its abundance -- it is what these young women were trying to portray, but done rather gently and without the terrible vulgarity that often accompanies such photos -- unless you argue that showing so much skin and tongues is in itelf 'vulgar' in which case, it would be, by definition, vulgar. And this photo is, what it is. I'm proud to have taken it. If I had taken another, different photo, one could have critiqued that, but a criticism of this photo should be of this photo, not of the sort, 'you shouldn't have taken this photo, you should have taken another' (which would have required a different circumstance.) If you read my thousands of comments and responses, you'll see that I and those who comment on my photos have a pretty good relationship. Perhaps yours and her comments are meant to be more 'politically' inspired -- a manifesto perhaps -- to dissuade me from taking such a photograph, and in that regard, no dice. I'll take and post those photos I wish, critiques and rates be damned. I'll take the best photo I can under the time, and physical and visual constraints, no matter what. These two comments fall into the crticism of 'wishful thinking' . . . 'What if you had an infintite time and you were somewhere else and there were subjects who would cooperate differently . . . .' Well, 'what if's' are not good criticism. Please confine your criticms of this photo to what is within the photo or find these women, and go take a better photo, or show me a better way to treat them photographically in an exposition hall in Las Vegas, for those are the constraints, and anything else is fantastic thinking. I don't know if you intended it, but your critique above comes off as short-sighted, lacking in insight and mean-spirited and offers nothing at all in regard to improving this photograph. John (Crosley)
Devon I had a moment as the show closed for the day -- literally -- alone with these three women. They were spaced far apart. A photo of them would have shown one of them apart from others, walking away, then another, then another. That's all. I took what was available, and in keeping with the 'porno' convention, and what they were there for, but in an impromptu moment. I have taken plenty of the other sorts of photos too, but they are for another day -- other models. And those photos ARE hard to take and still keep up the interest unless one makes them part of a photojournalistic story with several photos illustrating a central story, or they just become, say, another photo of bored women, somewhere, doing, say, their nails (not at, say, a porn convention.) You gotta go with what cards you're dealt, and here I was dealt three big, busty black women with tongues out, but they wanted to stare at the camera as they had all day, and I caught them as they prepared, AND I got good tones and I think an interesting composition - within the realm of what it was, I think I did well -- very well. And some of it was in post-processing, by increasing contrast and darkening the capture to dramatize it -- the original capture most would have thrown away, but I saw potential in it, and it worked, for me at least. I like it very much. I would publish it, it I had a place to do so, so illustrate what it is these women look like when they 'work'. The point about the names was an aside -- I couldn't print their 'porn' names, and they just were nice. I thought I'd mention it -0- it is just not the central point, but a meandering and to give these rather nice acting young women their due. Some people in the porn industry are hard and callous; others are nice and sweet. The nicest person I met at the entire affaire was named Charlotte Stokely, as sweet a tiny thing as you please, yet she had a huge list of credits when I looked her up on the Internet. But I also could see from her intersts she was very smart. Aside from her vocation, she seemed a very interesting and smart person to me, and had exceptional manners. Go figure. These people -- at least some of them -- are multi-dimensional and some are not defined just by their profession. they have wants and needs and ambitions and aspirations and life goals (or not) just like other people. They just are marketing something that some in society find objectionable -- sex (or at least its illusion, since they are not selling the actual sex, they're 'performing' -- sometimes even with their real-life partners, and other times doing it, but acting, or just showing their bodies. I know people pretty well, and I can guarantee that some of the 'stars' and wanna-be stars get off by being 'exhibitionsts' -- what a good life if you are an exhibitionist to actually have a way to exhibit and legally for the most part. I was reared to believe that was wrong, but I'm having second thoughts since I have met some wonderful people who have worked doing a few of such productions abroad -- and they're college students and otherwise regular people. In the USA, such women (and it's mainly women who dominate the industry, not the Ron Jeremys), are usually poorly educated, but abroad, the women look at it as an adventure that pays well and may pay a semester's college tuition and prevent them from dropping out, just opening the way for that teaching certificate and a life of employment outside of being a sales assistant in a shop at $1 an hour. In other words, abroad, such women (amateurs especially) tend to be very highly educated -- even law students and future doctors and lawyers -- maybe even future politicians (what better training anyway?). Like everything in life, it's hard to easily categorize something that on the surface seems so easy to categorize, based on long-held and strongly-held stereotypes, which this particular convention did its best to try to uphold in some ways, but in other ways (by having the workers meet the consumers who often had no other way to contact the workers) it allowed for the breakdown of stereotypes. In the end, people are people, in all their diversity. These women, for what they appear in this photo, as they believe (all 'glammed up' in their eyes' are really pretty well-behaved people with social niceties -- and good upbringing, it appeared to me. No one photo that I could imagine could adequately demonstrate that, but may be a video with sound would -- that I could envision. A documentary. In fact, I met two young black men who are seeking to do a documentary/reality series for TV on just this subject -- BBW. And they're looking for a photographer. They have a way to contact me. The networks are hard up for material, and Jerry Springer's got a lock and the craziness on television right now, with everybody swinging away on his show, from the gitgo. Time for some more 'entertainment'. Right? BBBBW? Reality on television? John (Crosley)
It is so noted. John (Crosley)
You ask for advice concerning your photography, but instead of taking what they say to heart, you offer a series of justifications for your 'mistakes'. What's the point in telling you what we think, if your going to come back with exscuses as to why you did something? I agree with Devon about what you chose to do with the models you were given.
Just the facts John, you're certainly entitled to your own opinions, but, just to set the record straight, I'm a guy.
Controversial picture. Daring. I do not want to read any other comment because i am sure it's a bit too heavy for me right now (I am a big pussy) Peace...good.The one in the middle looks like peace...the others are up for fighting or have too much sexual energy gone haywire. How strange! A tremendously powerful picture that will most certainly overwhelm the grain-fed unwashed sense of aesthetics out there.
Pascal A. I think you are right not only that in the eyes of a few this photo may be 'controversial' but any non-mainstream depiction of sexuality or better yet, those who wish to portray sexuality (this is NOT sexual to me at all -- I have no attraction to anything sexual in this photo) often raise substantial feelings in members of society, especially among certain religions who would attempt to speak for all members. I document what I see, and this is what I saw in a few moments, and it was interesting; as a photo I think you are right -- it is quite powerful, and it also is very interesting. This not the mainstream movie-star sexuality (or portrayal of sexuality) that is Hollywood pablum, but a different, more unusual or niche sex that these women portray, or seek to portray. The contrast between their in-person personae and their portrayal of what they were meant to be in the 'porn' industry couldn't have been more striking. Here they look wanton or are trying to (or are merely camp as I experienced them) but when I did speak to them briefly, they were really quite sweet. I didn't write down the names each gave me, but they were notably raunchy and obviously not generated by each of these young women. I got the feeling that each of these young women came from a lower-income background with possibly a strong matriarchal presence - a momma and possibly a poppa who taught them to do good, and they were MOST polite to me, and sweet and soft-voiced and not hardened 'porno' industry people. Perhaps this is the start of a career but they had small, soft, respectful voices and seemed to be enjoying what they were doing (which is standing around mostly and being 'on display' dressed minimally and like actors they were playing a part. That part may or may not have a real analogue in their real life, but I suspect that their lives are NOT dominated by porn or at least their relations with other people -- their families, say -- are quite normal and that their portrayal here is the best they could do. In a sense, they speak for alternative tastes. My tastes do not run to big, beautiful busty black women, but I have known men who would be knocked over by the overpowering sexuality of these women, and knowing they might be available (or fantasizing such). I remember once taking a (nonposted) street photo which depicted a black woman with a pretty face but a somewhat large rear end. I showed it as part of my work to some men from Ethiopia and they could hardly judge the photo at all -- they were too busy looking at the woman (who was attractive in her face) and they were too busy looking at her 'caboose' -- her rear end, which they told me fantastically attracted them. I learn from what I do; I am no propagandist for the 'porn' industry. In fact, my photos have been said by many to offer valuable and critical insight into that industry, and except for a day or three in the past couple of years, it has had NO place in my photography. I would like to attend some filmings and document those, but including the settings (fake settings) together with the warehouses in which the studios are set up, so one can get a real feel for the 'business' of porn, as opposed to the fantasy which it espouses. I make here no judgment about the industry -- it just is a place in their annual showcase, that is guaranteed to generate interesting photos for a guy like me; such things have little place in my household. I'm actually pretty strait-laced in many ways and pretty conventional with a strong Judeo-Christian ethic, but I cannot as a photographer be blind to the world around me if it is full of interesting photos (as here). I also document landscapes, people doing interesting things in interesting ways (see the boy pointing a toy rifle at the sky among pedestrians on another service) and other photos that don't relate to this industry at all, among my postings, and you'll see that this is hardly the 'focus' of my energies or my thoughts at all - just another interesting part of that wonderful panoply of interesting characters who walk earth's stage. With my cameras as their chronicle. Hiding one's head in the sand about such things only means that one is insular - these are ordinary people relating to a part of people's lives that is usually 'secret' and in which they have much mental energy invested. So, here I am not only a portraitist, but a documentarian. This is my documentary of a moment in time, somewhere in Las Vegas in a convention center. As noted in other photos, I have no wish to stir controversy, not do I wish to be driven away by it. I just post what I think are or will be interesting photos, and am always interested in others' reactions to them. Thank you for taking the time to write me your impressions. Peace to you too, Pascal. John (Crosley)
Over 3500 views in 18 days since moved
This photo already had 82,000 views when moved to a more prominent part of my portfolio, (toward the head of the portfolio).
Since that time, in 18 days, it has gained 3,500 new views - a rate far, far faster than it was gaining views in its prior position inside of one folder.
This is what I call a 'clickable' photo. One may love or hate it, and both responses may be entirely justified.
In fact one may have both responses within the same mind -- one may in fact have dual responses -- love and hate about this photo.
I understand that.
I think it is way 'over the top' in a certain way, yet these women were VERY nice, personally -- the exact antithesis of what they were depicting, or seemed to depict.
Not everything in the entertainment industry is what it's cooked up to be.
You'd expect these women to be talking dirty and rough probably, but they had small, sweet, polite and respectable voices, and appeared to have been brought up well. (of course mom may have been shocked if she saw this, or maybe not, people vary).
Life's far more complicated than people who see things in black and white, without gray shades will understand.
Though life for those people certainly must be far more simple, and certain things must be far more maddening, since there are some things, understandable to me (in part) that must be absolutely transgressing to such individuals, and therefore may drive them 'round the bend.'
I tend to make individual judgments on each person, each situation and sometimes (as here) dual or more judgments - I do perceive shades of gray. That does not necessarily make me moral relativist either; some things are BAD, no doubt about it. I do not excuse murder, armed robbery, child rape, and other malum in se crimes, but America and Americans have a particularly religious-influenced view (for many) that is alien to many European nations.
Good taste, however, is another matter,and I certainly would never posit this photo as an example of stellar 'taste', in anything (though the individual in person, that's another matter.)
I'd never see these women in a film/video portrayal -- wouldn't think of it -- but their behavior was outstanding and belied their appearance 180 degrees.
Ten Thousand New Views In Than About 50 Days Since New, Prominent Posting
When I placed this 2008 photo with 82,000 views,which had been stuck in a little-viewed folder, but apparently linked somewhere on the web where it got LOTS and LOTS of click through views, I imagined it would get even More views.
After all, it got 82,000 clicked views in the period from posting in 2008 through Dec. 2010, a period of over 2 years, or a rate of less than 4,000 views a month, greatly less I think because we're counting major parts of three years.
Well, since assuming more prominent posting, it has gained in 50 days some 10,000 clicked views, apparently because of its prominent posting PLUS he prior click throughs from others postings in their blogs, etc., because I don't think those links were disturbed.
I have posted since one photo with 24,000 views, a nude.
Most of the rest have had a few hundred to a couple of thousand clicked views since posting when this was 'elevated' in placement,.
There is a point in all of this, and I don't think it needs an explanation.
AMAZING WILD IMAGE !
John I can't get away from your images, absolutely espectacular.
Jorge, all over the place . . . . right?
Jorge, yours is a great comment.
It adds emphasis to my motto: be interesting.
Being dull is something I try to avoid.
I try to be different, but in pleasing ways.
Like these women or hate them, they're spectacular at being different than your run-of-the-mill photo models, and arranged in an interesting way!
They might not be my choice of companions for many things, but I found their non-porn selves to be rather sweet, despite the photo, so i keep emphasizing that to show that this is mostly 'show'. But it's show to a certain aesthetic which these three shared, so it has meaning.
Thanks for a great, heart-warming comment.
I just read your answer to my comment. You are very expresive and real, I started with SLR photography ar age 59, I am now 63 anI am costantly involve with taking images. I use, Love Offering, as a way to give images to others. Love Offering could be a hug, kiss, smile, card, art, check, or just a positive thought. Never charge, only recieve what people want to offer. I feel that we have to become all whealthy by exchanging our energy. I am always looking for people to take images. You are my kind of photograapher my friend. Warm regards from miami.
Thank you for the helpful comment. Merry Christmas.
'BBBBW' ('Big Beautiful Busty Black Women') 'BBW' seems to me to be a euphemism for 'fat' when it is referring to a potential female partner and stands for 'big beautiful woman'. Here, I have changed the designation a little to BBBBW -- or Big Beautiful Busty Black Women' which well describes this trio of porn actresses on display at a booth at a recent convention in Las Vegas. They all had amazing (and unprintably outrageous) porn names, but their real names (which they told me) were quite innocent, and they were really quite nice in their behavior and demeanor, which belies this photo (looks can be deceiving). Your ratings and critiques are invited and most welcome. If you rate harshly or very critically, please submit a helpful and constructive comment; please share your superior photographic knowledge to help improve my photography. Thanks! Enjoy! John