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.

500px ~ Online Community

The deeper I get into exploring what my DSLR can do, the more I learn – not just about the mechanics of the camera, but DIY tricks (that can substitute for expensive studio equipment), post-editing tips, the best websites, etc.

I subscribe to a couple of photography magazines and occasionally venture into forums for information, and one recommended site that keeps popping up is 500px. It’s an online community for serious photographers, where you can join discussion groups, learn from the pros, and have your work critiqued.

Well, last night I signed up and uploaded several photos. Things started happening fast! In addition to seeing hundreds of jaw-dropping images by world-class photographers, in less than eighteen hours I had over 750 views, dozens of likes and “favourited” images, plus some comments and questions.

What surprised me was that in the first hour, one image (not my favourite) skyrocketed up to the Popular Page because its ratings were booming (the one above on the left). I honestly didn’t think it was the best of the series. I uploaded several more images this afternoon, and the image above on the right took off. The levels are Fresh, Upcoming, Popular, and Editor’s Choice in that order. According to 500px, this kind of feedback is useful when shortlisting your best work for a portfolio. It’s good to have an objective opinion, so I would have to agree.

In conclusion, I’ve tried other sites and 500px comes out on top. The interface is clean, the galleries are attractively presented, and the image viewing quality is absolutely stunning. Here’s the link to my page so you can see for yourself.

http://500px.com/riverworksstudio