joreth: (Nude Drawing)
I noticed something interesting today.

So, as many of you might know by now, I am showing one of my photographs at Nude Nite, an annual art show that celebrates the human nude. 

But, what seems to escape many people, is that I am showing a picture I took as a photographer, not a photo *of* me nude.

Is it just me?  When one of my friends says their art will be displayed somewhere, I automatically assume they mean that they are the artist, not the subject, especially if they have a history of creating art in the first place.  But, most of my friends are men.

So, I emailed and texted everyone I could think of who might be interested to let everyone know about the showing this weekend.  I said "one of my photos will be shown at Nude Nite" followed by time/location details.  I work as a camera operator for a living.  I used to work as a portrait photographer for a living.  I currently sell stock photography and I am almost never without my camera on my hip.  I also carry samples of my work with me on my iPod and I have shown this particular photo before to most of my coworkers and friends, as well as several other nudes I've taken in the past, and non-nude photos too.  You'd think this would make people assume that I'm the photographer, not the subject. 

Now, it's true that I'm very open and explicit about my sex life, and I'm very honest about posing for [ profile] tacit's symtoys site.  So that *could* be causing some of the confusion.  But when I show pictures of parties to my co-workers, I'm never in them because I'm always the one taking them.  On the rare occasion that I am in the pic, I'm never nude.  I make this very clear when my coworkers/friends teasingly ask me to skip ahead in the party pics to the ones of me naked.

If [ profile] bonedaddybruce  or [ profile] james_the_evil1  told me that one of their photos was being shown somewhere, I'd assume they were the photographers, even though I actually *have* some photos of one of them nude from a party (and no, I won't share, I was asked not to).  I believe that anyone else I know who heard from them that "one of my photos is being shown" would also make the same assumption.  So, is it because they're male and I'm female?  All 3 of us make money from our photography in some way (or try to) and all 3 of us are known amongst our friends for always having a camera with us.  And all 3 of us have shown up in party pics in various states of disrobement and/or sexual content, and all 3 of us have been known to participate in openly explicit sexual conversations (among other things).  Now, perhaps the two of them do not discuss their sexuality with their coworkers like I do, but many of my coworkers are also friends and my employers are not prohibitive with regards to personal lives and discussion content.

So I'm finding myself peeved at all the responses coming in that assume that I am the model in the nude photo.  I'm annoyed because, although it can sometimes be flattering to hear that someone desires me, I really prefer to be admired for my accomplishments, and photography is one of the skills that I work at and I'm rather proud of.  I want to be known for my camera skills.  I may not be great, but I am good (and I'm better at video and film camera skills).  So it irritates me that, when I mention "one of my photos", the first thing people think of is a naked picture of me, not a photo I took as a photographer.  I make the assumption that it's because I'm a girl, and the very "common" minded guys I work with think that only women pose nude and men take the pictures.  That is my bias showing through, but I can't help wondering if my bias is really that far from reality?

Why would everyone assume that a professional camera operator and hobby photographer who happens to be a decent-looking female is the subject of a Nude Nite submission and not the artist?  Is it really just because I'm a girl?  Or does my open sexuality and sex-positive attitude really completely overshadow my job skills even to my coworkers who work with me and see me running a camera on a daily basis?

Date: 2/11/09 12:20 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
My guess would be that it comes down to a matter of wishful thinking on the part of most. You are an attractive female friend, and as you mentioned they have yet to see you do so in previous pictures. They are probably jumping at the possibility that this might be their chance.

And I think straight guys do tend to conclude that nudes will be of women, because it's what we know we would prefer to see.

From an art perspective, honestly the female form tends to have a better aesthetic appeal.

Date: 2/11/09 08:20 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Your last statement is flat-out wrong.

Date: 2/11/09 12:30 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I have no explanation for this phenomenon, especially since I assumed that you were the photographer when you let us know...

Date: 2/11/09 12:45 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Me too. *shrug* But men do beg for photos of naked girls, they cannot get enough. I think you're right, it does over-ride their logic circuits. :-)

Date: 2/11/09 01:32 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
There've been a LOT of discussions about this on the model/photographer boards I belong to.
Part of it's probably because you were talking about nude work and when MOST people think of nude work they thing "Women pose nude for men."
A number of female photographers I know run in to this, doubly so for those who both shoot & model.
It's one of those cultural perception things.

Date: 2/11/09 01:54 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
But why would a WOMAN take nude photos of a WOMAN?

Date: 2/11/09 02:10 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
It never once even occurred to me that the work you were displaying would be of you.. I just automatically assumed you were the photographer in this work.

However, it's entirely possible that both the subject and the photographer can be considered artists in the work. It's not necessarily just the photographer who is the artist (referring to your 'I automatically assume they mean that they are the artist, not the subject' observation). And nor do I necessarily place a higher value to either the photographer or the model, or automatically think that the model is the lesser contributor to a work. They're very different contributions calling from different skillsets, yes.

But overall.. I totally understand your frustration with the assumptions you're finding. And I admire your for pushing beyond cultural sterotypes!
(deleted comment)

Date: 2/11/09 05:24 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I love being one of the people that you took sexy nude photos of ;)
(edited to add that I'm not in the pix you're doing for the show, but you've done nudes and other fun pix with me in the past)

And I automatically assumed that NONE of the pictures would be of you, because I know you :P You like to be the one taking the pictures, not in front of the camera.

I think they made the assumption because you're female. Silly of them to do that, but there you go.
Edited Date: 2/11/09 05:25 pm (UTC)

Date: 2/11/09 08:08 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Yeah, people used to (and may still) hit on franklin all the time thinking he's the women in his photographs. I just.. I don't know, people are amazingly retarded.

A model would never say "they're showing my photography." He or she would say "I am featured in a photogropher's work," or something like that.

I think people don't understand what photography is. I also think they can't imagine a woman doing anything but sitting around naked. People are dumb.

Date: 2/13/09 01:39 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
How incredibly annoying and not at all surprising. I think it's safe to say that for the average person, even when they know you personally, your individual skills and personality are not enough to override, in their minds, the long-standing cultural assumption that women are objects of art, not creators of it.

And on a purely grammatical level, if one were the subject and not the photographer, one would naturally say something like, "This is a photograph of me," not "This is my photograph." Although having been on the modeling end, I agree with the point that the model is working to create the art as well. I mean, damn, my neck was so sore I couldn't tilt my head back for days after we did those suspension bondage shots!

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that male subjects are well-represented in the artwork at Nude Nite. I wonder if the organizers tried to represent male and female artists equally, though ideally they'd have so many submissions from both men and women that they could just judge the pieces on their merits and not worry about it.