EBay seller LadiesOnFilm carries a large number of vintage risque and nude images from publishers of adult magazines from the 60’s through the 90’s. It’s rather clear that many of them are the unused outtakes; but then, I guess “outtakes” are in the mind of the viewer.
It’s funny how often the “bad” pictures seem more natural than the “good” pictures. I find this photo of Carol Newell (by Ron Vogel, 1968) charming. It’s how a woman sits on the stairs, relaxed, not worrying about the planes of her face and the contours of her body… There’s no arching of her back while pointing her toes. That’s how the real girl next door sits.
The women struggle to look natural in odd poses. While the props are often dated and hysterical, it’s the desperate poses for the sake of sexual puns which are far funnier. I can just hear the photographer saying, “That’s it, that’s it, baby. Now just crawl along the floor and choke that plaster snake statue…”
I’m not saying that no simply nude woman has ever taken a bad photo, but they are far more beautiful than those photographs which overreach — either in physicality or in attempts at innuendo.
If you thought the matter of who makes art exploring the issue of abortion difficult, perhaps the following antique erotic artworks will be too upsetting. That’s your warning to leave.
For these works go beyond the issue of basic nudity in art, beyond even the matter of erotic art, to explore sexuality along with religion and what appears to be the opulence of wealth.
I’m no expert, in art or in the French language, but I’m rather certain these works by Marcel Vertes (Le Pays a Mon Gout aka The Country to Your Taste, 12 original lithograph prints, circa 1921) and Martin van Maele (De Sceleribus et Criminibus , 11 erotic etchings circa 1908) are not theoretical works expressing confusion or commentary on the corruption of religion or other issues of decadence, but rather are fantasies exploiting such distorted delights — i.e. they are 100% erotica, illustrated meant to arouse.
But does that make them any less interesting in terms of art? Does their age make them more credible as art? Does the status of the artists, one an Oscar winner the other an illustrator for the works of H. G. Wells, improve your opinion? Is it art, erotica, or just plain old porn?
…And if you say “porn” or “old porn,” doesn’t that mean it still moves you?
Which would rather give points for “timeless” or “classic” to the works as well as kudos to the artists themselves, wouldn’t it?