I think it is appropriate that it is Censorship series #3
Disapproving but Indulging
Being a photographer who often photographs women I have made a habit of checking those who favorite or comment on my photographs on Flickr, where I show them for the most part. My rule is that if the person has a well balanced range of photographs, either their own or those they favorite, then I will not do anything. But if I find they have photos only of one type, primarily pornographic or fetishistic, then I will block them from seeing more of my work.
But what that means of course is I have to go look at their site and their favorites. And that in turn means I see those pornographic and fetishistic photos. And the truth? I can be hypocritical about it. I see immediately that I am going to block this person, but I also sometimes spend more time looking than I need to. Why do I do that? Because the images are exciting to look at, duh.
The Company You Keep
What is the alternative? Here are the questions I have thought through. If I believe my art and photography is not pornographic and is worth looking at, then maybe it doesn’t matter who favorites it. They might favorite some cheesy sex kitten porn image that I think is pretty trashy, but if mine is next to it, doesn’t mine shine through? Or is mine diminished due to the company it keeps? And the other question is if I allow my image to be in a gallery of images I find offensive, then aren’t I approving of those other images? Aren’t I telling my viewers that it’s ok if they follow threads and go to that other site?
50 Shades of Appropriateness
That is where I draw the line. If someone sees my image and collects it somehow, along with images I don’t like, but they keep it to themselves, there isn’t much I can do about it. But if they are going to put it for public view then I am going to censor it if I find its surroundings offensive. This might be similar to the written word, let’s say, 50 Shades of Grey, which is now a very popular book. We have a copy of it (given to me by my wife, as of yet unread) and it is on my nightstand. We live alone and all our daughters are grown women now. As a matter of fact we know one of them has read it. But I wouldn’t have it on the nightstand if they were still living at home and were teenagers or younger. I would censor myself so that what I had in public was appropriate for those who might see it. It isn’t a matter of approval, it’s a matter of appropriateness. if, upon reading it, whether I am aroused by it or not, if I find it bad, trashy, mean-spirited, or otherwise lacking, I will get rid of it because I won’t want it infecting my bookshelf. I will let you know what I decide in a later post.
Drawing by Marty Coleman
Quote by Edward Anthony, 1895-1971, American writer