When I first got my DSLR, I didn’t really know what kind of photography I wanted to do. I hadn’t thought about it at all really. I just knew that I liked taking pictures all the time and always wanted a nicer camera to do so with. A lot of my photos were nothing more than a barrage of shots from various trips I’ve taken and candid shots from parties and such. Nothing really that spectacular, but with the latter, I liked the idea of catching a moment. I was intrigued by this. And for the former, I just liked to document what I was seeing. For the most part though, there was no “art” with any of it. I’m not a super artsy person. I “get it,” but that’s really about where it ends.
Now that I’ve been taking photos with a DSLR, getting very into it, and constantly reading everything I can find about it, I’m starting to change a little. But up until today, I still didn’t know what I was really intrigued by. Mostly, I’ve taken photos of what’s been available to me. I try to keep my camera with me as much as I can and try to find things to take pictures of, but mostly, I wait for it to come to me. With just a couple of exceptions, I haven’t been seeking the photos out and trying to create the situations myself.
If I want to get better, I need to change that, but in order to change it, I need to have that intriguing idea that I can run with. I’ve yet to find that. I have things I want to take photos of and I look at other people’s photos and I think to myself that I would love to take those kinds of shots, but I never really come up with my own ideas or think about it much after that. I don’t find anything to add to these already existing ideas. So for eight months, I’ve just been putting along taking as many pictures as I can trying to find that one subject that really sticks with me and inspires me.
I feel like I may have found it yesterday while exploring Wolf189′s Tumblr page. As far as I can tell neither his Tumblr nor any of his other websites actually have his name, but he’s a film photographer who takes a lot of erotic shots. Erotic photography wasn’t particularly what I was looking for, I was just exploring Tumblr since I made a page there recently. I clicked on the photography section in the directory and his page was one of the recommended ones. Over the course of the day, I clicked through all 50 pages of photos he has posted there and looked at some of the stuff on his other sites. He posts a lot of pictures multiple times, but there’s a lot of stuff all with a similar theme.
Of all the photography I’ve ever looked at, this is some of the most interesting. It really sucked me in. I found it stimulating and intriguing. Not because of the nudity and sexuality, but the style and what he does with the subject. I really liked it. I found myself studying some of the images really closely and putting thought into the composition and the color choices and everything.
I was seriously sucked into it. As I looked at some of the photos, I thought about how I would recreate them and do them differently. I found them extremely inspiring. I started a list of all of the shots that I wanted to do. Ideas started coming freely to me. The positioning, the props, how the subject would be dressed, different variations to try out, the composition and angles. It all just started flowing to me. None of it was really sexual. I mean, there was sexuality in these ideas I had and the photos I was looking at, but it wasn’t pornographic at all.
Right now, I have a long list of things to try out. I’m sort of short a model though. My fiancée doesn’t really like being in front of the camera, but has learned to deal with it pretty well. However, she doesn’t feel comfortable actually modeling or anything of the sort. As many couples have done, we’ve taken a few pictures and I’ve got a few of them that I like a lot, but she doesn’t really want to be the subject much. I don’t really know how to go about finding a model. I posted on Craigslist earlier today, but I don’t really expect much. I’m not a professional, I don’t aim to be. Photography is a hobby to me and this would be a new thing for me to try out. I don’t think my first few batches will have many keepers and I can’t afford to pay someone for this. So I need to find a model that doesn’t mind being the subject of erotic photos (not necessarily nude at first, but I would like to try that as well) and doing it for free. I don’t want to come off as a creep that is just trying to take naked pictures of girls for…personal needs. I don’t know how not to though.
That’s one issue, but my bigger issue with it is that I like to be able to post my photos on this site and Flickr and what have you. I don’t want to just take photos and not do anything with them. I don’t think I would ever call myself a photographer and my skills are down right beginner still, but I like putting my stuff out there and getting some feedback. I think it gives a little bit of meaning to it. And it’s that not being a photographer part that’s the problem. I’m a software developer by career and I like that. I enjoy my work a lot.
My fear is that if I start posting these types of photos it will come back to bite me in the ass later. While I am not looking for a new job now, I will be at some point in the future, many times, I’m sure. And with most employers looking people up online before hiring them these days, these photos will be found. My name is far too unique–there is just one other with it–for anything I put online to not be found. This is something I always consider before posting anything anywhere on the internet. Once it’s online, it’s there forever.
If I were a photographer, erotic photography wouldn’t really be an issue, it would just be work and it would actually be what was bringing in the paychecks. But I am not a photographer and it is likely that future employers will find my website instantly and view these photos as being pornography. Now, I don’t have any desire to make porn, but as is the point of this post, I am very intrigued by eroticism in photography as art. I’m not an artsy person and will never be an artist in any sense of the word, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish to create something as art and can’t enjoy it.
So what do I do? While I can easily admit that this is something that has just come up in the last day, I am very intrigued by it. I may try it and find that, like just about everything else I try to photograph, I suck at it. But I may also find that I like it a lot. The ideas are flowing in my head already. Do I not post these photos on my website and Flickr? Do I create another site that is not attached to my name for them? Post them under a different Flickr account? I would prefer not to do that, but I guess it’s an option. If I post a photo, it generally means that I’m happy with it and proud of it. Sure, I may not like it later on, but at the time, I find it to be an accomplishment for myself and where I’m at with my skill level. So, because of that, I want to put that photo out there as myself and I want my name attached to it.
I’m going to find a way to try this and I don’t want to keep the photos to myself. Like I said, I don’t think there’s much of a point if you’re not going to share what you’re doing. Signs are pointing towards me liking this subject a lot. Tonight, my fiancée was cooking dinner in just her underwear and tanktop, it wasn’t erotic, but it wasn’t safe for work either. I found a way to take a hundred quick photos of her doing it. All of the angles and composition came naturally. I knew each shot I wanted to take and what I wanted from it. I didn’t even think about it, it just flowed. The results were incredible. They were easily among the best shots I’ve ever taken and I didn’t have to try. The exposures and lighting were nearly perfect. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. I want to do it more.
I won’t post these pictures of my fiancée because I think it’d be a little weird to post such pictures of the woman I’m going to marry, but I think I’ve got a lot of good shots here. The photos I take of her are much more personal than anything else for obvious reasons, but the same kind of creativity flows behind them.
At this point, I don’t really need to decide anything and I’m making a huge deal of pretty much nothing, but it brings up the question that is often asked, what’s the difference between art and pornography? If I find that I’m actually into this, do I post the photos and have them speak for themselves without worry of others being offended? Could I find a happy medium and just post them and galleries in the photography section of this site and not as part of the main blog? Is these even something to be concerned about? Would a future employer not hire me because of it? What will family members think of it?
I’m curious as to what people’s thoughts are on this. Personally, I’ll actually worry about it for real if this is something that sticks. For now, I’m just going to give it a shot and see how it turns out.