“A very young naked model”
Posted December 7, 2009on:
I wanted to expand on the idea of creating images that were sexual and ‘childish’, looking at the view of ‘childhood’ as being socially constructed, and something that is interpreted through visual cues. Therefore, in these images, I was posing naked, except for knee-high socks and school tie. I drew influences from the amateur self-portrait photograph that was censored from my work at university, mimicking it through the knee-high socks and Hello Kitty toy. In these images, I used the Photoshop filter (pixelate –> mosaic) to censor the parts of the image that could be read into, that gave it a context that might confuse or offend, as it seems like the issue with images like this is not the sexuality, but that viewers have no objective idea of the age of the subject, and, because of moral panics, this has a tendency to offend as it leaves people unsure.
Throughout my photography in this project, I have tried to take influences from actual pornographic media – for example, in this image I have used a pose that seems to be used to emphasise the illusion of youth.
I’m pleased that I’ve been able to use this technique of self-censorship to explore ideas, and have found that it makes the images look much more obscene or offensive – the eye is drawn to the pixelated elements of the picture, making them seem sinister, and making the uncensored aspects seem more vulnerable and unacceptable.
Altering images is something that I think I may want to continue with, particularly in obscuring photographs, taking away parts of their imagery, making it blurred and frustrating for the viewer. I’d even like to look into the possibility of detracting from, or destroying, work in pursuit of moral purity to look at how censorship can effect art practice. I intend to take more photographs like the ones above, but using more imagery to be censored, particularly through taking the photographs in my childhood bedroom, meaning that most of the image will have to be obscured. I’m finding that this sort of censorship works well in images that have explicit nudity, as the eye is drawn to the censorship, and the pixels obscuring an unexpected, innocent part of the picture opposed to censoring nudity or sexuality as is generally the case. The prospect of posting images like that is daunting, because of the negative connotations of using the body in art, and how people tend to be judged for this. Because of that, I think that I’ll probably paint from the images, as I would be interested to see if this makes the images seem ‘less real’, and therefore a step removed from showing my actual body. On the other hand, I should just stand by my principles and use them, because I’d feel a hypocrite not to – if they effectively express the message I want to convey, it would be wrong not to use them just to protect myself from fear and vulnerability.