What an emotional crazy day............I was actually brought to tears today as my nude art work was being deleted off Facebook. Each and every one of those images were censored to meeting their strict guidelines and yet they were still labelled as "offensive nudity" I could not believe it had come to this point where I would have to question everything I do, to the point I was almost ready to throw in the towel. How is this acceptable in today's modern world? What year is this ? Is this how Michelangelo felt when the Pope ordered for the artist's famous nude alfrescos to be painted over to cover up their 'bits' ? Why is it that we can no longer have the freedom of what we can view on the internet, especially social media and platforms like Facebook How are we, as humans, supposed to react to the human body now?? what is this censoring telling us ? Is it disgusting to look at that we can longer look at it ? I'm so lost to how to think about this and how it has affected me is something else, so with that in mind I decided to write about it and hopefully in years to come I can look at this and laugh at this ridiculous time in our history, where the nude body is the forbidden art on social media.
It's interesting to think and wonder, what will the art world look like in 20, 50 100 years from now? will we look back at this time and laugh at how ridiculous it all was? or will it create something bigger and or much scarier where we have a world of repressed and controlled art, a world where there is no freedom in expression through art? With art aside, what about the psychological affects as to how we should view the human body?
Social media is huge and growing by the minute, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are flooded with images by the incomprehensible amount every single day. It's a platform for sharing our thoughts and our pictures, whether they are personal or for business, it's obvious it is a part of the lives of millions of people. The control of those pictures lays in the hands of a business, powerful enough to promote or delete what ever they see fit. What sort of message does this give to the millions who over time will be deprived of art where the human body is shown? I have no doubt it will send some kind of message and it's not a positive one.
I have always for as long as I can remember struggled with my own body and the way I look, I know that's not an uncommon feeling amongst us humans, regardless of whether we are a man or a woman, we see our imperfections and use them as ammunition against ourselves. I have no doubt that I was not born with these thoughts, and that time through social interaction as a child where I was laughed at for being bigger than the other kids in my class, my height and my weight, (I LOVE FOOD) and then the teen years with all the social and media propaganda of the 80s and 90s. I had my struggles and still do. Yes it's a thought that once you can love yourself you can love others, but for me it was the other way around. I loved photographing the vulnerability and the rawness of the human body, I was mainly drawn to women because I guess that's where I struggled with myself as a woman. I drew beauty and strength from each and every woman I photographed. I could only see beauty and simplicity in every shape and curve and wanted to express it in whichever way I found it in my creative self to express, it was what I was seeing and feeling in the beauty of the human and sometimes within the environment, for me this was my art. On a personal level it was my therapy to learn to love myself, I still struggle that one. I find it easier to love what I see, photographs have become so important to me I can not even begin to imagine what it would be like without them. They are my treasures, each and everyone of them, the ones that I make and more so the ones I receive from those I hold close to me.
I have been encouraged by the wonderful response I have received in the past for my work, both by peers and people on social media, by their kind words, and by the numerous purchase of my prints. It made me happy that I was capturing beauty from what was already there and creating something I call art. Being recognised around the world for my work as been absolute honour and I am still having to pinch myself when I think how amazing it has been the last couple of years starting with my series "Human Nature" which has not only sold the most number of prints but has also won first place in fine art nudes at the prestigious International Photography Awards in 2015 http://www.photoawards.com/winner/zoom.php?eid=8-95106-15. Also, first place at the 2016 International La Grande Awards as well as the overall Professional Photographer of Year title which was a huge honour and most of all a further acknowledgment that my work was interesting and engaging enough to call art in the form of photographs.
This sort of encouragement and reinforcement is without a doubt the driving force for me to continue when I have my doubts, without it I feel like there is no point in making it if I can't share it, what am I trying to do if I can't show what I do? yes it still gives me satisfaction to make the work but what a great shame if I can't share it, it's my form of expression and existence. Yes, I exist and I am here right here right now. I once read a great book by Rod Judkins, 'The art of creative thinking', I have read it a few times now, it reminds me of why I do the things I do and frees me up when I have a creative block. He has a chapter in his book called 'surprise yourself' where he says 'you may not realise it, but you have an interesting story to tell. A must hear tale. We all do. A struggle against illness, family hardship, poverty or a sudden breakthrough moment. Whether we are aware of it or not, our life is our subject matter, and freeing up our memories allows us to surpass ourselves and learn about our personalities and what makes us so unique' and that is just the first paragraph, so true. Frida Khalo was a great example of this as the book goes on to discuss.
I don't usually openly talk about my thoughts it's usually only kept for private discussions with the people I trust, however on this occasion I felt it would not only calm me and fresh my thinking but I think it is important to discuss. It's happening, this thing called the 'forbidden art' it's going to become a part of modern art history. How I embrace it from my little position on the planet is something I will need to discover as I weave my way through it, but for now I will continue to make photographs expressing the way I see beauty in the human body and I will continue to share them where ever I am permitted.
I can not wait for 2017, I think it will be amazing !!! So here's to 2016 and your stupid rules, you're now history :)
Feel free to comment your views on the "forbidden art"
Love and peace (and all that good stuff)