Less is More

The Dunes of Time

Todays daily prompt is called No Excess, and it asks:

“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” – Edna Ferber

Do you agree with this statement on excess?

As an artist and photographer, my take on this topic comes from a feminist aesthetic, and there’s something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest.

I’ve been a member of the premier photography website, 500px, for a few weeks now, and one thing that I’ve begun to find a little annoying is that the site is chock full of sexed up photographs – photos that perpetuate the fetishization of the young, sexualized female stereotype. For those of you who have been following my blog and projects, you’ll know that the topic is near and dear to my heart.

The 500px website is intended to be a community where serious photographers can showcase their best work, network, comment, critique, and learn from each other. While the All Categories page does feature a mix of subjects, though peppered throughout with girls and more girls, the People category leans heavily towards “girls” and sultry models. You just can’t seem to escape the hundreds of nude, scantily clad, or even fully dressed and provocatively posed vixens beckoning the viewer, to um, “take” them, if you catch my drift. Below is a sampling of the ratio that I’m talking about in the People category.

This is a sampling from the People category, which illustrates my point
This is a sampling from the People category, which illustrates my point

It’s not that I have anything against boudoir-type photography or skin magazines – they have their niche – but frankly I find the vast majority of this endless glut of images quite boring and unimaginative. They possess no mystery, no subtlety, no originality, no art. And trust me – I’ve spent hours scouring the site for something unique and truly beautiful in this genre. They are there, but very far and few between.

So in considering the statement regarding excess by Edna Ferber, it is certainly true that an avalanche of tits, ass, skin and come-fuck-me faces and poses does nothing but dull the senses and perpetuate the objectification of women and girls. In this sense, less would not be a bad thing – in fact, less would be more in all the right ways – more subtlety, more taste, more mystique, and more imagination.

Author: Michelle LaRiviere

Michelle is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, writer, and teacher. She is also a Reiki Master and life coach, specializing in guided soul work. Her art has been exhibited nationally in Canada, as well as in Italy, the UK, and the United States. Her practice includes traditional as well as digital media.

6 thoughts on “Less is More”

  1. An easy answer could be that serious photographers like girls 🙂 A more elaborated could be that in order to get more revenue they just feed the morbid hungry of the public.
    As a male I love the beauty of a lady but I separate art (idea or expression as eroticism) from documentary portrait (show or expose as sexuality)

    1. Francis, you have a point, and maybe it works both ways – photographers feeding the lascivious hunger of the public (for money), and girls lining up at the door ready to take their clothes off for the camera in the hopes of being discovered as a model and becoming famous. Yes, there is money to be made there.

      Thank you for making the distinction between art and documentary (sexuality) portraits. The truth is… there is no woman more beautiful than the muse in all her mystery.

    1. I knowwww… crazy, right? 500px really needs to add a special category just for the “sultry models” photos, especially since it’s obviously such a popular subject. Right now the site has 27 categories, but NOTHING for this genre.

      I suppose they don’t want to encourage pornography, but yesterday I stumbled upon two photos that clearly crossed the lines of good taste, and which did NOT have the Adult Content filter on (the onus is on the photographer to add the filter when uploading explicit material because the website is intended for a general audience).

      Thanks for catching the humour of that screen shot,
      p.s. I enjoyed exploring your blog, Matt. Very nice.

    1. Wow, thanks for adding my post to your list, and for even compiling the list. Looking forward to some delish reading, as well as checking out The Reverie…hurray for passions of every colour and taste. Again… thanks!

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