Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Razor-Thin Line

Adjetive.  1.  Of Sexual Love.
                2.  Arousing Sexual Desire.

Noun.  1.  Literature or Art dealing with sexual love.

Noun.  1.  Writings, photographs. etc., intended to cause sexual excitement.

       There's a fine line between Eroticism and Pornography.  I have seen evidence of erotic imagery that was created before the sexual revolution of the 1960's, before two World Wars, before the western world was conceived, and even before Rome fell.  I've seen the Frescoes adorning the walls of Italian homes in Pompeii and the breadth of their erotica obsession.

"The history of erotic depictions includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, dramatic arts, music, and writings that show scenes of a sexual nature throughout time.  They have been created by nearly every civilization, ancient and modern."-Wikipedia.

       So what separates Erotica and Pornography?  There are dozens of images in my personal galleries that cross the line by leaps and bounds, and the extremes on both sides are easy to spot at a glance.  But often lately I'm finding myself questioning what makes one image Erotic and another Pornographic.  The images I have are separated into three sections.  The ones I have labeled as 'Erotic' all have subtle edges, soft light and a tendency to be less graphic, although not exclusively chaste.  I love these images because as I discussed in an earlier blog they capture my imagination and inspire me to create more.
       The second group is more graphic indeed.  The light is more glaring, and the pictures more visceral.  I love these images too because they capture the raw sexuality of that moment when the images were captured.  They're easily more primal and forceful upon the senses, but at the same time, speaking strictly by definition, they're still erotic
       The last group is somewhere in-between the first two.  The edges are soft, the lighting subdued.  They're erotic, yet pornographic.  They capture my imagination and yet they arouse as well.  I love the dance they create in my mind: swaying back and forth upon the tide of my mood, shifting between art and fantasy and back whenever I happen to revisit them.
 "In early times, erotic depictions were often a subset of the indigenous or religious art of cultures and as such were not set aside or treated differently than any other type.  The modern concept of pornography did not exist until the Victorian era...By 1864, the first version of the modern definition had appeared in Webster's dictionary: "licintious painting employed to decorate the walls of rooms sacred to Bacchanalian orgies, examples of which exist in Pompeii."  That was the beginning of what today refers to explicit images in general."-Wikipedia.

       With that said, I guess the question isn't what separates 'Erotica and Pornography'.  Instead the question should be what is the difference between the 'Arousal of Sexual Desire' and the 'Intent to Cause Sexual Excitement'.  For me, they're one in the same.

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