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A History Of Fashion Photography

May 29th, 2019

Fashion photography is a highly effective tool for marketing in the world of haute couture, but it is also regarded as a spectacular art form with a rich history featuring countless models of all shapes and sizes. Sporting the fashion of the day, both past and present, and being photographed for a variety of purposes is one of the hottest ways to grab the public eye and get it to focus on what the photographer desires. By considering the history and details of this particular art form one can begin to grasp the wide range of reasons which have made the world of fashion what it is today: A catalyst for the way all of us think, feel, and act, and for how we express that through the clothing and accessories we choose to wear. It has proven itself far more motivational and powerful than any of us could have ever imagined.

Fashion photography found its beginnings in the early nineteenth century and picked up the popularity pace as magazines with a fashion focus became more and more in demand by the public. Magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar took off like rocket ships because of this specific photographic genre. Vogue magazine proved to launch several photographer’s careers as well, including the man who is hailed as being the first fashion photographer, Adolph De Meyer. In those years, the primary purpose of fashion photography was to allow magazine readers to see what type of clothing was popular and in-season, as well as showing them what was available to them for purchase.

Paris was the very heart of fashion, both clothing, and photography-wise, during the early years, drawing photographers from all over the world. A majority of fashion photographers in those days were from Germany, but regardless of their home countries, these individuals turned basic photographs into works of art. Integrating mood and emotion into each and every picture they took, raising fashion photography to such a level that many individuals photographed were catapulted to fame as a direct result of their participation in modeling.

Cecil Beaton, a London-born photographer, relocated to New York City to pursue his passion. He photographed models in fashion for both Vogue and Vanity Fair before becoming an Oscar winner for the fashion creations he put together for Audrey Hepburn in the film “My Fair Lady.” Edward Steichen, a German photographer who immigrated to the United States, became known for his stunning photos of Greta Garbo, one of which made the cover of “Life” magazine in 1955. The picture is easily recognizable by most anyone to this day. Both of the men above are considered pioneers in the fashion photography industry.

While Paris is still integral to the fashion photography world, New York City has become something of a beating heart when it comes to art. Today the American city can truthfully claim to be its very center and draws countless individuals every year who are seeking to take their brand of fashion photography mainstream. Many who found fame and fortune as fashion photographers got their humble beginnings in the Big Apple, and this trend continues today as well.

The Theory Of Fashion Photography
The most useful pieces of fashion photography are about far more than robotic poses, though these were what pictures mostly displayed in the early days. Those who have the ability to communicate emotion to the viewer and this requires the model to be in touch with his or her surroundings to the point that one can feel what they are feeling. Whether the model is featured in a specific locale or with certain props and items of clothing or accessories, they need to be able to play these things off in a manner which conveys personal interaction.

A single photograph should tell a story for it to have the greatest impact, and this is what makes a great fashion photograph. It should consist of enough detail to put everything into proper context for the viewer. It should bear a certain level of drama or mystery (drama can consist of several emotions and settings), and the level of drama in any photograph is determined by the level of tension provided to it.

Context is essential to great fashion photography, and it can only be achieved through the composition given to any photo. The composition is made up of not only the items or surroundings a model is interacting with, but also the colors and tones being lent to the shot which make for the specific mood it is meant to convey. These even consist of the tones, saturation, and colors used around the focal point, or model, in the picture. It is the proper use of these points which will make or break any photo, as well as the fashion photographers themselves.

The point is to reach out and touch the individuals viewing any photograph by using these specific tools to bring specific characteristics to life. This results in raw emotion being brought to physical existence through the inanimate photograph, thus bringing the fashion itself to life. The viewer will inevitably be drawn to what they are viewing, as it has succeeded in touching their very being at its core. This is the purpose of fashion photography, and when it is accomplished correctly, a great fashion photograph will complete its mission thoroughly by bringing the viewer to the emotional mindset intended by the artist.

The Preferred Photographic Genre for Models
With such a powerful ability to convey coupled with its long public reach, fashion photography is the primary option for professional models who are seeking to find their niche. There are several specific factors which compel individuals in the profession to opt to get on film in this particular area. Not only do they have a much greater chance of being seen by more of the people who can take them to the career points which they desire, but they are also able to effectively demonstrate that their career choice was based on more than good looks. Fashion photography is a perfect platform for these people to show others what they can really do professionally. There is much more to this than simply striking a pose while wearing the fashions they do; they must be able to assist the photographer in bringing their vision to life by capturing specific moods and communicating with whatever surrounds them in a manner that also allows them to communicate with the viewers of their pictures. This ability is obvious in fashion models who may have either a natural knack or talent for their art, as well as those who have a much more seasoned level of experience. Though age is considered the prime enemy of the fashion model, more and more of them today span a much broader range of age groups, thus changing the public’s thoughts regarding how old a fashion model should be.

The Purpose of Fashion Photography
What is the point behind taking pictures of men and women posing in clothing? The answers are many, as we will discuss here. Fashion photography is rooted in pictures of individuals wearing the haute couture of the day while in different surroundings and with different props. Different moods and photographic techniques are used to empower the photographs so they will motivate the viewer to engage in an intended behavior. These pictures are mostly used in fashion magazines, on billboards, or in other forms of advertising to elicit the desired response. Today, fashion photography extends to moving pictures, or film and video, and these may be shown on television in commercials or taped and broadcasted runway shows. While the primary purpose of the genre may be to get consumers to buy, buy, buy, the fact of the matter is that the photographs themselves are art, and awards are given for the best and most powerful. This reason motivates individuals, in and of itself, to pursue fashion photography as a career choice.

High Fashion
Also well known by the French term ‘haute couture,’ high fashion is the creation of custom clothing that is both beautiful and, at times, very practical to its specific occasion. The product being made is tailored by hand, beginning with the selection of the fine fabric, which is to be used and ending with the individual being measured and fitted for the item to be worn. High fashion has been dated as far back as the eighteenth century, with nobles and the rich indulging their desires through their need for clothing. The making of fine clothing is an art form that stands alone, and today, fine fashion designers show off their wares by adorning anyone who can afford to don them.

Fashion or Glamour Photography?
Contrary to the popular opinion of the layman, there is indeed a difference between fashion photography and glamour photography. While fashion photography is quite glamorous in its makeup, its main focus is the clothing being worn. The model, the props, and the context of pictures taken are all used to lend credence to the items of clothing being displayed. Glamour photography, on the other hand, focuses on the model rather than what they may or may not be wearing.

Fashion Photography Past and Present
There have been countless high fashion models who have achieved wealth and fame as a direct result of their career choice, women and men alike. Both yesterday and today have provided the public eye with photographs of some of the most beautiful human beings on the planet. While there are literally countless renowned female models, far fewer people are familiar with their male counterparts. Famous men have contributed their good looks and talents to the fashion photography industry.

With changing tastes, fashion, and technology, fashion photography has experienced great metamorphosis over the years. In days gone by, or in its humble beginnings, this form of photography was of the ‘strike a pose’ variety, simply showing off the clothes which were the main focus of the picture, and using beautiful people to do it. Today, fashion photography has evolved into a full-blown art form, using not only skilled, attractive models, but also implementing the use of color, light, props, and the like to convey specific moods and messages to those who look at the pictures. So much more attention is paid to the specific effect generated by the photos taken that pictures of this type are no longer simply sales tools; now they are a solid means of communication, and they have proven shockingly effective, as the high fashion market proves. No more staring at the camera and smiling; now the model is basically giving a silent performance. The better the performance, the more dynamic the photo’s effect is on its audience.

In the modern world of fashion photography, everything is taken into consideration. Where are the pictures taken? What will accompany the model in the photograph, if anything? Attention is paid to hair and makeup, even if the hair is messy and the makeup smudged. Everything plays into the end result, and this has had a serious effect on how all of us view fashion photographs and photography.

Fashion Photography as Art
All you have to do to realize that fashion photography is an art form. View past pictures with those from the present day and identify the differences in emotion and overall appearance. Identify what the pictures you are viewing spark within yourself. Do you simply recognize an urge to splurge, or do you identify with something much deeper, something unspoken yet tangible? Fashion photography, which inspires the latter, can be identified as sheer art. If you look at a quality photo for even a mere second, you will realize that the hues, the colors, and the context within the shot can stir something to live on the inside. Walking through a museum filled with sculptures and paintings may have the same effect. A talented photographer can communicate an abundance of thoughts and feelings through their shots, and this, simply put, is art.

Each photo is unique, though it may have a specific flavor, depending on the one behind the camera. Angles, the use of saturation and color, and other personal touches enable the artist/photographer to make each, and everyone shot their own, one-of-a-kind tool to convey their thoughts and feelings. It will appropriately revolve around the clothing worn, and it will make you desire the product while appreciating its purpose and beauty. Today, more than ever before, fashion photography holds its own in the art world.

Fashion photography is vital as an art form because art is a personal expression. Any form of expression which is stifled is done so at the peril of everyone who could, and should, observe it. While the primary point may be to help others identify personal styles, tastes, and what they want to wear, it also possesses the ability to take others into themselves and explore who they are in relationship to the world, and that is essential to the human spirit. Therefore, fashion photography should be utterly embraced as an art form in today’s world.

In Conclusion
For hundreds of years, men and women all over the world have chosen fashion photography as a profession. While it may have started out as nothing more than a promotional tool, it has morphed into a powerful means of expression and communication for those who choose it as a career. Not only do we see beautiful people wearing stunning clothing, but we also observe individual talent that knows no bounds, expressed by people able to handle a camera and command its outcome. By implementing a variety of techniques, these photographers can change the entire aesthetic of any photograph, blending beauty with raw emotion, whether it be cheerful or gloomy, angry or elated. Sparking the interest and emotion of viewers is a skill only a few are well-known for.

The models who participate have dictated what we should wear, how we should look, and how we should behave. They have crossed barriers, and their general look has changed over time, but they remain “the beautiful people,” and like it and admit it or not, we look to both the model and the photographer for advice more than we may like to admit. As an art form, fashion photography is undeniable, and as a profession, it is solid for the talented and driven. Today, observe the offerings made by those in the business and discover for yourself what kind of feelings their photos spark in you. You may be surprised at what you discover!

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©2019 robertwkclark.com

Photographic Records Of The World It's Not Always Black And White

May 28th, 2019

Landscape photography, defined as the capturing of an image that depicts an environment or specific area of land, really began at the genesis of photography itself. The first lasting photograph, taken in 1826 by Joseph Niepce, was called “View from the window at Le Gras.” It portrayed exactly what the title would infer; a view of the grounds and rooftops of buildings nearby, as seen out of Niepce’s high window in the Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, a commune in France.

Landscape photography has a rather broad definition and includes a wide array of subjects and style. Some landscape photos will depict a wide tract of land while another may show only a small flower bed. Most do not include any human beings or even the influence of humans for the true naturalist photographer. Landscape photos may be of urban settings or a natural stretch of land. All are pictures of the outdoors, although some may be taken from inside of a structure by focusing through a doorway or window.

However, a quality landscape picture comes from more than just snapping a picture of the scene in front of you. Ansel Adams once said, “Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.” It takes a very talented person, someone with a keen eye and sense of lighting and timing effects, to produce the best in landscape pictures. Some photographers seem to have an organic relationship with Mother Nature, which allows them to find just the right angle and the right moment for every single picture. For many, it takes years of training and practice to perfect these photographic skills.

There are three traditional landscape photography styles; representational, abstract, and impressionistic. Representational landscape photography shows the captured scenery in its most unaltered state. In this style, no manipulation is used in either the photographing or the developing and editing of the photograph. The impressionistic style uses lighting and timing modifications to produce an image that infers the landscape rather than fully recreating it. In the abstract style, the photographer uses graphics to enhance or modify the original image.

The first major set of landscape photos were taken by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, a geographical surveyor whose photographs of the western United States, taken in the late 1800s, were taken during two of his most ambitious surveys. These photos included “Harvest of Death,” a picture of the battlefield at Gettysburg littered with the bodies of dead soldiers. His pictures which captured nature in its pre-industrialized state were both beautiful and accurate records of America during the time of the Civil War.

By the end of the 1800s, the naturalism movement was gaining ground as photographers such as Dr. Peter Henry Emerson suggested that the mimicking of paintings in their photo treatments was belittling to the art form of landscape photography. Not too long after, naturalism turned into realism, as demonstrated in the works of Alfred Stieglitz. F64, a group which included well-known landscape photographer Ansel Adams, broke ground in moving away from straight, otherwise known as pictorial, photography.

These days, with the advances in technology, enhancements to photographic equipment, and the availability of image-editing software, the world of landscape photography has evolved far beyond naturalism and realism movements. We have leaped into an era where landscape photo galleries include more than majestic mountains and fields before harvest. We now have landscapes of the Moon and of underwater reefs. We now have landscapes of the dark interiors of the Amazon and of previously uncaptured events of nature like the aurora borealis against backdrops of only recently explored locations of the world.

Digitally captured and graphically enhanced images are the simple beginnings of the wave of the future. The new advances are allowing landscape photographers to provide more than just artistic records of our environment but also an image that reflects and inspires the feel of the scene. More and more artists are taking pictures of the world around them and using them to tell never before heard stories. “The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality, and I'm searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible,” said Galen Rowell, whose work includes “Sunset over Machu Picchu.”

Black and white landscape photography was once characterized by the production of black and white silver halide images. These days, however, the advancement in technology and the introduction of digital equipment, as well as editing software, has made it so that the photographer can shoot in color and still produce striking and dramatic black and white photos. Despite the ways that black and white landscape photography has changed over the decades, the value of this art form has not diminished.

Black and white photography possess such unique character and qualities that it is as timeless as the images it is used to capture. Early in the 1900s, landscape photography proved to be one of the best ways to document the exploration and surveying of America’s wilderness. Since that time the medium has gained much popularity as an educational tool as well, especially in teaching photography itself as black and white photos best illustrate such concepts as image contrast, highlight, and shadow.

When the topic of black and white landscape photography comes up in conversation, so does the name Ansel Adams. Although the history of black and white landscape photography does not begin or end with him, Adams was a pioneer in his field. His work effectively moved landscape photography from the record rooms to the art galleries. However, he is not, by far, the only great landscape photographer in history. There have been, are, and will be many great photographic artists producing previously unprecedented glories in black and white landscape pictures.

Before Ansel Adams was even born, photographers Eadweard Muybridge and Carleton Watkins were encapsulating the wilds of the west including Yosemite Valley and the Pacific Coast. Muybridge’s photos still appear on postcards, in books and on websites that wish to conjure nostalgia for the early pre-settled days of North America. As time moved on, in the mid-1800s, Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter began to display extraordinary talent in capturing Cincinnati’s waterfront using panoramic Daguerreotypes.

Soon after that, the Kodak camera became available, and snapshot photography became more and more popular. Artists who felt pressured to compete with the family album-making began to develop new styles and techniques in their work such as Pictorialism, a labor-intensive process which created extremely impressionistic images which were blurry by artistic intention. Even some landscape photographers, while touring the states in Studebakers, gave in to the juvenile and whimsical form of picture-taking and shot the scenery of America’s roadways through the view of their car windshields or mirrors.

With the arrival of Modernism, photographers like the brilliant Edward Weston began using depths of field that were akin to abstract paintings. In the later 1990s, the world was graced with the great talents of Galen Rowell, Philip Hyde, and Eliot Porter, most none of whom shoot exclusively black and white landscapes. Presently, there are hundreds of photographers learning and growing their craft of black and white landscape photography. The internet is littered with photos of beaches and hillsides, sunrises and thunderstorms from all across the globe. Some of it is good; some of it is magnificent. Looking forward, black and white landscape photography will continue to play its role in the fine arts as well as in documenting the ever-changing, and yet ever-majestic scenery of planet Earth.

Landscape photography over the decades has provided the world of fine art with some of the most iconic, stunning, and brilliant images known to mankind. Millions of pictures have been taken by photographers across the globe. Many of them are spectacular and unique. However, there is a small percentage that stands out among the rest, not only for the skill and artistry of the photographer but also for the impact that the image made on the world. There are a select few photographs which in some way have influenced events and people throughout history in prolific ways. Below is a small list of the most influential photographs in the history of landscape photography.

View from the window at Le Gras, 1826
When Joseph Niepce created the first photograph, it was itself a landscape of sorts. While fuzzy, due to the 8 hour long exposure time needed to create the image, it obviously depicts the skyline of the city and the rooftops of the buildings nearby. It holds a place at the top of this list for its groundbreaking existence mostly. This was the genesis of photography as a means of record and as an art form.

Oceana, 1936
Edward Weston has always been known as a great landscape photographer on the whole but was never given notoriety for any individual piece until recently. His photo of the sandy dunes, Oceana, was not a ground-breaking photo until computers came on the scene, image and graphics software in particular, and this photo became a household staple. It is the base photo for hundreds of screensavers, wallpapers and memes on the internet. It has been digitally edited and enhanced in numerous different ways and has served as an inspiration to thousands of digital and graphic artists.

Tetons and the Snake River, 1942
Ansel Adams is known for his intense, black, and white images of the planet's landscapes. While his repertoire of amazing nature-embracing pictures is filled with masterpieces, this photo of his, once dubbed “the photograph that saved the planet,” is a perfect example of the lasting impact a picture can make on history. The picture helped to fuel a global movement for the protection and preservation of Earth’s environment, which sparked the formation of organizations and events still thriving today. Adams’ work inspired a new way of viewing our planet and how we treat it. He used this and several others of his photos to raise environmental consciousness around the world.

Earthrise, 1968
This photograph, although taken by astronaut William “Bill” Anders, of the Apollo 8 space mission, rather than by a professional photographer, heavily impacted the perspective human beings previously had of the Earth within the universe. This photo gave us a view of Earth as had never been seen before. It was like the language of the cosmos was translated through this extraordinary image. It also gave rise to a new variation on traditional landscape photography. Images of what lies beyond the skies began to emerge, and space was no longer a distant frontier for the photographer who could get their hands on a telescopic lens.

Photography, like everything else in the arts, continues to grow and change as new techniques and technologies are developed. However, the story wordlessly expressed through a single photograph is one that makes a lasting impression. It is one that makes a lasting impression on your soul. This list reflects the evolutionary journey of excellent landscape photography up to present times. The artistic endeavors of photographers, as well as the scientific advances and breakthroughs yet to come, all promise a gleamingly bright future for the spectacular photographic capturing of our amazing and awe-inspiring world.

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©2019 robertwkclark.com

Hiding The Assets

May 28th, 2019

For as long as humanity has existed, so too the need for creative self-expression through art. As long as there have been people expressing themselves, there have been others who would suppress that free expression. This is censorship in its simplest form; the suppression of any form of expression that is considered objectionable, politically incorrect or harmful as determined by institutions apart from those sponsoring the form of expression. Censorship is usually applied to anything that is deemed to promote or represent conflict, injustice, or anything lacking in morals or decency. Artists are often the first to be targeted by censorship and especially when in situations where the topic of nudity is presented in the question. In regions where politics and propaganda rule, artists present a dangerous unknown. So-called “harmful to minors” standards are applied to shield children from material such as commercial porn. As there is no established legal definition of pornography, it is very hard to draw a line between the two. A working definition could be that the sole purpose of pornography is to create sexual arousal and that art has many layers.

Anthony Comstock 1844-1915 was the pioneer of modern American censorship. Starting with an 1868 police supported raid on a bookstore in New York, in a futile attempt to eradicate. The federal anti-obscenity law of 1873, in part inspired by Comstock, banned items "for the prevention of conception." As a special "postal inspector," he abused his powers considerably by raiding the Arts Student League in New York in 1906. He once cautioned that "obscene, lewd and indecent" photos are "commonly, but mistakenly called art." Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Don't join the book burners. Don't think you're going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed.”

Censorship of nudity in art
The history of the nude in art, traditionally starting in the classical period 6th - 5th century BC should be pushed back to around 30-25,000 BC. Indian temple art, some dating from at least the 1st century BC, often depicts voluptuous female nudes. There are two typical qualifiers for that. One is that historically, the nude is mainly a phenomenon of Western art. The other is that from very early on, the nude male and the nude female are treated quite differently and have different roles to play. When Christianity began to take solid root, the portrayal of nudes diminished. For centuries, the only nudes permissible were religious art. Art is capable of provoking debate, unrest, and protest. Art seems set to continue to attract the attention of those who would prefer it to be silenced.

Most nude art, before the 1800s, consisted of male depictions or, often time, modified male subjects to represent females. In today’s society, however, nudity seems more often as wanting to obscure the fine line between art and erotica. Nude depictions have often been used in symbolic ways, as an extended metaphor for a complex and multifaceted concept. Tales and stories from mythology once depicted naked gods in different paintings, such as the scene where Leucippus daughter is abducted by Castor and Pollux. Many art studies were rendered before creating a final project using the nude physique as a template. Studies tracing as far back as Italian Renaissance are used by artists to understand the problems involved in the execution of the artist's subjects and the disposition of the elements of the artist work, such as the human body depicted using light, color, form, perspective, and composition.

Four years ago, a French schoolteacher tried to post a picture of L’Origine du Monde by Gustave Courbet. Facebook’s moderators nixed it, and the teacher sued Facebook in court over its choice to take “L’Origine” down. The case has big implications for American social media companies and their moderation policies. The site also, at one time, suspended New York art critic Jerry Saltz over the “offensiveness” of a few medieval paintings. Previously, Facebook has censored work from institutions as diverse as the New York Academy of Art and the Centre Pompidou. Richard Corliss said, "Every artist undresses his subject, whether human or still life. It is his business to find essences in surfaces, and what more attractive and challenging surface than the skin around a soul?"

Censorship of nudity in literature
In response to the writing of philosophers and religious theorists, such as Martin Luther, in 1559 the Roman Catholic Church issued the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. This list contained the titles of books which were to be banned for their ideological content. The index issued 20 times throughout the past centuries with is most recent release in 1966. Censorship played a huge role in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well with the banning of “inappropriate” books by librarians, as well as teachers, to supposedly protect the innocence of children. William O. Douglas said, “Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.”

Censorship in literature has a long history beyond Comstock’s reach as well. A sex education book, meant to teach children 10 and older about emotional health and relationships, sexual health and pregnancy for children, titled It's Perfectly Normal, was one of the books banned over the past two decades. It contains some areas which regard puberty and sexual orientation as well as color pictures of naked people, by illustrator Michael Emberley. In 1981, at Gastonia, North Carolina, The Living Bible was banned as well. Other books banned for nudity, either in the books illustrations or discussed in the content of the book, include My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak to name only a handful.

Censorship of nudity in media and entertainment
The entertainment industry has long suffered censorship, even nudity despite being a predominately auditory art form. As a society, we have always singled out people, whether due to their race, sexual orientation, or political views. This is no different in the film. Within the golden age, Mae West 1893-1980 was seen as a victim of censorship. Her sexual past made her a target and a risk to the Hay's Office; making her 'golden age' turbulent. The film and television industry has a built-in form of censorship through their rating system, said to have been created to protect the innocent and immature. In 1922, out of fear that government regulations were soon to come, the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association, an industry lobby, and trade organization, headed by Will H. Hays, who thwarted the first attempts of the federal government to impose censorship on the film industry.

Häxan was the first film to be banned in the United States with nudity as a part of the grounds for the ban. Several films have been, and even in our liberated times, continue to be banned around the world. Another film banned in the United States was Promises! Promises! in 1963. Since then, due in part to the implementation of the film rating system, although films have been banned in the states, nudity has not been one of the themes regarded in the decision. Although some directors and film industry professionals would argue that the rating system itself is an unjust form of censorship, others support the system fully and believe that its existence actually allows them more freedom in their work.

Video games have also seen the rugged edge of the censorship cutting tools. In Kuwait, The Order: 1886 is banned. In Saudi Arabia, God of War, Heavy Rain, and L.A. Noire are just a couple of the video game titles on the banned list. In the United Arab Emirates, a branch of the government, called the National Media Council (NMC), controls the media and entertainment industry and has banned dozens of games, including Dead Rising 2, Godfather II, Mafia II, Red Dead Redemption, Catherine, and Heavy Rain. Most recently, in video games, the award-winning Papers, Please, border agent simulator game, is making some changes before its release. According to Lucas Pope, via Twitter, the nudity in the game had to be removed because Apple deemed it “pornographic content.”

Album covers and music videos alike have been the cutting ground for censorship. The original nude cover of Yoko Ono and John Lennon's album Two Virgins provoked an outrage. The artwork of Cannibal Corpse, a death-metal band, has been censored at some point, due to graphic imagery and occasional nudity. While German heavy metal band Scorpions' album, Virgin Killer’s, the artwork had to be changed altogether. The original cover showed a nude prepubescent girl. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's, Kanye West's album, featured original cover artwork of a man having sex with a phoenix (both nude). Two alternative versions were made for album distribution. The first showed a ballerina holding a glass of wine. The second, the cover that appears on iTunes, shows a pixelated version of the original artwork. The sheer number of music videos which have an “uncensored version” is a demonstration of the rampant plague of censorship in the industry including, recently, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

Global censorship of nudity
The Old Testament of the Bible states that the Hebrews burned the prophecy of Jeremiah. Confucius's writings were incinerated after a change of dynasty made them politically incorrect. 399 B.C. Socrates was charged with controversial teaching methods corrupting the youth of Athens with his words and drawing them away from the Greek religion. Socrates was sentenced to death for his actions. He was forced to drink a liquid poison. Even to this day, the "guardianship over the innocence of youth" theme is repeatedly upheld by censorship advocates. During the time of the ancient Roman Empire, censorship became an increasingly official duty. It was in Rome that “censor” was first inscribed. The title of censor was given to a Roman government public official.

The 17th and 18th centuries, commonly called the "Age of Enlightenment," in Europe, freedom of expression became the hallmark of the period, and it brought about a loosening in the laws, to some extent. Sweden was the first country to officially abolish censorship in 1766. In 1790, the first amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteed freedom of speech and the press considering it two of humanity’s most precious rights. Established in 1922, the central censorship office, known for short as Glavlit, had absolute authority to subject the performing arts and all print media to preventive censorship and to suppress political dissidence by shutting down "hostile" newspapers. Libraries were too often the target of heretical attacks like the complete destruction of the University of Oxford library in 1683 and the destruction of Albanian-language collections in Kosovo libraries throughout the 1990s. By the nineteenth century, the first wave of state-sponsored censorship had largely ended in Europe, and had never been firmly established in the United States, public concern for morality and safeguards against offensive literature continued.

Russia has a long history of strict censorship. There was one short-lived period of tolerance and intellectual freedom, under the reign of Alexander II. From 1917 to the end of the 1980s, Russia was governed under a strict censorship rule. Under the Nazi regime, Germany also experienced a period of strict censorship. All media, public events, and even private communication were censored by the government, mostly by Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda. While leading a massive book burning in 1933, Goebbels tragically declared, “From these ashes will rise the phoenix of the new spirit.”

Cultural censorship of nudity
Many cultures throughout history have taken as many different views on nudity. In many countries, public nudity is outright forbidden. The Adamites, a Christian sect that practiced holy nudity, date back to the 2nd century AD and is now banned in many places around the world. While in other ancient cultures, such as ancient Greece, nudity was a regular affair throughout the day. Even the first Olympic Games were included events performed in the nude. It wasn’t until their revival in the 1800s that clothing was required. It is believed that the gymnosophists, ancient Indian aesthetics who regularly practiced nudism, were of great influence over the Greeks. A Hindu sect of India, called the Sakas, was also known to practice rituals, prayers, and ceremonies in the buff. However, in ancient China, nudity was generally viewed as a matter of class standing. Nudity was acceptable among the lower classes, but among the higher classes, nudity was considered wicked and the household servants, who were often partially nude, were considered to be subhuman.

History is replete with accounts of Western culture stretching its reach right to the core of native tribes; essentially forcing our modern day hang-ups regarding nudity and sexuality on these tribes of people and their cultures. By being told repeatedly that the Western definition of decency was the standard by which humans ought to be measured, most natives would succumb to our influences and traditions such as wearing clothing. As of 1988, a primitive and naked tribe, the Yanomamis still populated the area of Roraima in Brazil. However, they are in danger of extinction because the government has discovered gold and diamonds on their land. The Yanomami are the largest known isolated tribe on Earth. The Tupari tribe of the Rio Branco, are another example of anti-clothing aborigines. Tibor Sekelj wrote: "It is no wonder that the Tupari never created any kind of clothing, for the weather is always warm. Their natural nudity fits perfectly into the framework of their surroundings and, except for ceremony or decoration, they never think of covering themselves."

General notes on censorship of nudity
A familiar example censorship these days is the use of pixelization can be found in television news and documentary productions, in which vehicle license plates and faces of suspects at crime scenes are routinely obscured to maintain the presumption of innocence, as in the television series COPS. Bystanders and others who do not sign release forms are also customarily pixelated. Footage of nudity (including genitals, buttocks, and nipples) is likewise obscured in some media.

Censorship opens up much broader questions about the role of art as truth as well as the implications of constrained expression. Tate director, Nicholas Serota, at a May conference on censorship, stated: “We can probably all agree on many of the principles that we seek to uphold. What’s actually much more difficult is to recognize that there are no easy paths, that there are no guarantees by which, and through which, we can preserve this hard fought for the right for the freedom of free expression.”

For as long as there has been censorship, there have been those who fight against. As Albert Einstein once mentioned, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." In 1973, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) was formed, in part, as a response to the Supreme Court decision in the Miller v. California case. Other civil rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have joined in the mission of fighting censorship as well. Several more have formed recently with a specific interest in protecting the internet from censorship. The debate over whether or not the internet needs censorship has become an ongoing and passionate one, from both sides of the argument. Shelley Winters, in two wonderful sentences, eloquently illustrates the human dichotomy of the censorship argument. She said, "I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be an artistic, tasteful, patriotic, and progressive religious experience.”

Recent news regarding censorship of nudity
Today censorship, especially the censoring of nudity, is an appealing topic of discussion for the people as well as for the media, including social media specifically. As mentioned before, Facebook, in particular, has an extensive, albeit short, history of censoring nudity of all varieties, especially in photos. The strange world of Facebook's image and the post-approval system was opened up recently through an information leak. It proves that the purportedly arbitrary nature of picture and post-approval actually has a "meticulous—if faintly gore-friendly and nipple-unfriendly—approach." In 2013, people from the ACLU discovered that Facebook’s ‘chest-recognition detectors’ are fully operational. One of their recent posts, about a bronze statue of a nude woman taking a picture of herself with her breasts exposed, was morally unfit for Facebook. Also recently, Facebook took down a Liverpool mother’s photo for violating the site’s nudity policy.

Despite the resilient efforts to control internet content, there is a new content concern born every day. The “new parenting craze” on social media networks is posting breastfeeding selfies. The internet, because it is not singularly controlled, is an open forum for discussions and images of all kinds. The further we, as a species, advance in technology, the more of these types of concerns will appear. The solution is communication and empathy. Hillary Clinton said, “Both the American people and nations that censor the internet should understand that our government is committed to helping promote internet freedom.”

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How Figure Study Has Evolved Over The Years

May 28th, 2019

Figure study is an act of drawing the human body in a certain medium, whether it be drawn or painted. Most of the time, figure study is practiced with the subject, or model, without clothing; however, it is not limited to just nudity considering artist have practiced figure study fully dressed. The human body has been the subject of many different types of artwork over the years in all mediums all over the world; commonly referred to as figure study. Dating back to prehistoric times, figure study is considered by many to be the best way to learn to draw in terms of anatomy, overall accuracy, and help the drawings have depth instead of seeming flat and not rounded and curved like a real human. The body has many curves and lines that make light reflect and bounce in specific contours that are unique to the model. This can be rather difficult to replicate in drawings and paintings. Live models tend to be the norm when it comes to the preferred reference, but exceptions such as statues are used as substitutes when models are unavailable. There isn’t a wrong way to approach figure study. However, most approach it straight forward and draw what they see in front of them, while others draw a skeleton of sorts, followed by the muscular system, and then finally the skin and such. Others have been known to approach it differently and use geometric shapes in place that help to build onto the figure from there. Other than drawings, figure study has evolved from paper to other mediums.

Paintings were among the most popular and first fine arts to begin practicing figure study. Like with drawings, painting has been around since prehistoric times, though very rough at first and not as well constructed as the figure art in modern time. Egyptians were among some of the first that truly began to add detail to the figure studies. Along with Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks and their depiction of gods and goddesses, and many Asian territories that depicted Asian calligraphy and historical figures on scrolls, which showed how the foundation of figure study was evolving over different periods and cultures. However, because of how long ago these pieces of art were made, a lot of the early figure studies never had a chance to be preserved for safekeeping, and as a result, a lot of early Pre-Renaissance artwork has been destroyed or lost. During the middle ages, figure studies continued, however nude figures were taken out of the pieces. Around the middle ages is when the Christian religion was practiced in huge numbers around the world, and the idea of celibacy came into effect greatly among many people practicing the faith, and the concept of human figures depicted in the nude was shunned upon. One of the only exceptions of this rule at the time was the works that depicted Eve in the garden of Eden, Mary Magdalene, and paintings that depicted the Virgin Mary, or the Nursing Madonna. It is unclear as to why this was decided originally, but it is believed that the idea behind leaving certain biblical figures nude is because of the representation of the certain individual being defenseless in the scenarios surrounding the character.

It is believed that the Renaissance era was when the figure study became organized and perfected with realism. When nude art became acceptable again in a sense, the depiction of a woman was very different than it previously was with Hugo van der Goes paintings of women. Early paintings depicted models as very masculine and fit in a sense. However, Goers' figures were presented as to how figures are in reality. Figure study over the years eventually revealed how our bodies really are and how every curve and contour we possess is not depicted as the perfect figures before. Other than Leonardo de Vinci and Michelangelo in Italy, most do not know that Rogier van der Weyden from the early Netherlands and Matthias Grünewald from Germany where practicing figure study as well. Both Weyden and Grünewald's work consisted of mostly religious iconography involving the Crucifixion of Christ. It appears that during the Renaissance era, most if not all followed de Vinci's rule when it comes to the basic form of figure study and the proportions of the human body. As time went on, most did not seem to stray away from de Vinci's template. However, artists began to work more with lighting. Paintings down the line seemed to get more and more details because painters began working around different lighting and observed the way the shading and shadows worked on a human body.

It is said that paintings depicting females were painted using males as the models and simply give the model feminine features after. A drawing by Michelangelo called the "Study of a Kneeling Nude Girl for The Entombment" proves this because of her flat chest and boyish figure. Regardless of the model used, this drawing is considered by many to be the first nude female figure study. It is written that this practice of male models lasted many years, but fellow Renaissance painter Raphael Sanzio da Urbino is the first painter to use actual female models for his paintings. In the 1600s, painters began using female models for females depicted in paintings. Even though the practice of depicting figures accurately in paintings was becoming more frequent, many artists still preferred to portray their figures as fit and idealistic. Artists soon began merging the two together; by not exaggerating the perfect curves as much and leaving the natural contours and such that were present on the live models. As far as how the models posed and were presented, all were shown posing in specific ways and at very specific places. In the 1800s French painter, Édouard Manet began experimenting with the idea of depicting models not only how they naturally appeared but models appearing in everyday situations. One of his paintings, known as the "The Luncheon on the Grass," caused a lot of uproar among the public. The painting depicted two females and two males; both men are seen seated as one of the females is shown bathing in the back and the other seated nude between the two males. Many artists took a liking to Manet's ideas, and soon after, paintings depicting females in casuals situations became the norm. Around the time the invention of the camera appeared pioneering artists shifted focus from canvas paintings to camera work. Painting Figure study is in no way dead. However, it just isn't as popular considering the advancements in modern times. The figure study now is very different, though. Most simply it exaggerates the models into their own style in favor of realism. Even though realism figure study isn't as popular, all fine art classes still encourage students to practice and learn realistic figure study and build up their knowledge of the practice and convert their learning into their own style.

Other than painting and drawing, the sculpting of the human figure was another practice that dates back to the Egyptians and the Greeks. Many artists desired other methods to study under and began sculpting figures in many types of stones, woods, and in more modern times, welding of metals. When it comes to figure study in sculpture form, Greek gods and goddesses are among the most popular. In ancient Greek paintings, it shows how they had a basic understanding when it comes to the human body. Considering how long ago the art was created, it is unaware if these sculptures came from a live model or not. Over the years, the materials to create these figures have changed as well. Many tools were originally types of metals, bronze, and even different types of bones. Tools soon began to evolve as metal forging became more perfected. At the time, many of the figure studies that were stature were for beliefs. Egyptians and Greek made these pieces of art to honor their respective gods, rather than for self-expression and such. One major observation a person can make about these two types of art pieces; in the early days of figure study in sculptures, the models were depicted as extremely fit and on the strong side. It is believed that many people saw these traits as the popular figure that both males and females alike preferred and saw attraction in. It is unclear as to how these figure portrayals became the preferred by many people, but it is believed that many people who were not of royalty in those times were workers, which cause them to build muscle over time. People say that having muscle clearly meant you were stronger in terms of being able to lift heavy objects. As a result, sculptors began figure study around workers body's to apply the strong figure on their gods.

Another very popular method of figure study is photography. Ever since the first camera, photographers have been taking photos of people. However, in the late 1800s, many people declined to agree that photography was a fine art until much later. At the time figure study, or nude study was very different; which often featured women over men models. Early photographers such as Gaudenzio Marconi and Jean Louis Marie Eugène Durieu often took monochrome photos of models posing in particular ways that appeared inspirited by the many poses of Greek mythology. Considering figure study with photography featured real models over figure study drawings that just featured sketches of the models, the nude study was controversial. Many photographers at the time got around the issues by stating that their portfolios consisted of figure study references for drawings and paintings. Many did, for a fact, use them as such, while others used the excuse as a way to continue their choice of fine art. Over time, many people would criticize nude study and say it was simply for sensual purposes and nothing more. It is true that some may indeed be, however not all are meant to be. Some artists make artistic nude pieces without the intent to arouse or to be erotic. Many artistic nude photographers seem to intend the satire, surreal, or expression of oneself present to be the main idea or thought behind the piece. Similar to how objects from a certain shape and people look at it in abstract ways, nude photographers express this by appreciating the shapes and forms that a model can make and pose in.

In the early 1900s, the nude study began to gain respect with the help of Rudolf Koppitz and Alfred Stieglitz, who dedicated their lives to help photography become accepted by the public as a fine art form. Photographers began to move away from the classical Greek mythology look and began to experiment with more stylized looks that emphasized on abstract expressions and natural, or real-life appearances using reflective distortions and many other printing techniques. Aside from that, the use of male models became more frequent as well. Using both males and females as models began to help drive the point across that photographers attempted to express idealism and the act of becoming comfortable with oneself with the stylized photos they took. Other than including models of both genders, the art form grew as photographers began stylizing not only on the models but also the backgrounds. Models began appearing photographed in front of huge landscapes and other locations in nature that gave interesting lighting effects and helped bring out the contours in the model's curves. The backgrounds also helped set up any types of tones or moods that helped the photographers vision in the art piece. Alfred Stieglitz began displaying his nude study photography in his galleries in the early 1900s, causing many art critics to gain interested and infatuated with the new art form for figure study. An interesting fact about Stieglitz is his view of photography in that he tried looking inside of a person, rather than simply photographing the person, and captured on camera the inner and purest form and beauty of a model to push forward the life we have. Another interesting photographer was female photographer Imogen Cunningham, who is one of the most important figures in nude photography as she is the first woman to take a fully nude photo of a male, as well as being featured in the first full-frontal adult nude photo to be published in Life Time magazine alongside model Twinka Thiebaud in 1976. Regardless of this, Imogen main style of photography was taking sharp focused photos of objects with a group of photographers named Group f/64, which takes its namesake after the camera aperture used for this style of photography. As photography began becoming even more respected, other photographers began experimenting with many other types of techniques to make unique and distinct styles to call their own.

A visual artist named Emmanuel Radnitzky, who went by the name “Ray Man,” was one of the artists who inspired many with his “Rayographs” style. Ray Man began taking photos on strips of film that had their tones partially flipped or on negative sheets of film; which gave the models a slight glow and at times a surreal look. This process is known as Solarisation in modern time, and many people practice this effect today in the digital era by simply desaturating photos and inverting it afterward. Many surreal artists from that time soon took a liking to him because of the odd effect the process presented and many photographers such as Maurice Tabard, who would overlay multiple photos that were solarised and would create haunting surreal photos. Raoul Ubac, who would photograph groups of models in odd and pliant poses, as well as single models glancing unnervingly, on negative film strips. It’s regularly debated if these styles of photography are considered figure study since these styles seem to focus more on the odd surreal looks over actually trying to capture the simple shadings and contours of a model. However, considering the models appear nude in the photos, there still appears to be an appreciation on figure study.

Many photographers at the time seemed to use medium formatted cameras, however photographer Edward Weston soon began figure studying with different cameras. Weston used a 4x5, and later on 8x10, which could capture movements at a quick or rapid speed, using model Helen Charis Wilson over a large span of his career. In 1937, Weston established photography as a fine art by becoming the first photographer in history to win a Guggenheim Fellowships award.

Just like when the camera came out, the video camera was an opening for new opportunists, and a new medium as well. Many artistic films that featured nude study began to emerge. Film manipulation was treated similarly, the way camera film was, which included recording entire movies on negatives and splicing together layers of film to create certain effects. As technology advance more and more, figure study in the film became very simple considering the film was replaced by digital. Like with photography, many people were unaware at the time what is considered adult filming, and what was considered art. Some figure study in the film can have sexuality present, but like with photography; if the sensation isn't meant as the main idea or thought behind the piece, then it is not categorized as an adult film. Another way figure study in motion has been depicted was in performing arts. Again, much like photography; people have challenged the theory that performance arts are not really an art form. Most performance arts are acts that express feelings and ideas in sometimes surreal and in odd mannerisms. With film figure study, the viewer is really limited with their learning abilities in terms of studying the models; however, in performance pieces, they are usually performed in front of crowds of people, and the views can witness the figure study first hand directly in front of them. Many performance acts are pieces of very strange and odd mannerisms for that exact reason; so the viewer can see how the model can actually move and what the human body is capable of.

Today in modern times, many of the practices and styles from over the years do indeed shine through in all photographers. Modern artists like early photographers have models lit in a way that really shows off the contours and curves of the human body, as well as some abstract poses and lighting. Considering how much work and study goes into figure photography, there is no denying that how true it is that you don’t take a photograph, you make it.

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What Makes Good Art?

May 28th, 2019

That seems to be rather a simple question, yet everyone that actually got around to answering it would give a different response. Some responses would be long and complex, while others would almost certainly be shorter and really simple. In that respect, it would be similar to the wide variety of art that viewers could look at while they are deciding what is good, and what is bad.

It is possible that every single viewer could have a completely unique take on what they feel is good art. With art at it's best attempting to get emotional responses from people, judgments about good art based on feelings instead of logic or reason could be regarded as holding greater levels of validity.

It is undoubtedly easier to agree on a definition of what makes good art than it would be to draw up a complete consensus on what precisely happens to be good art. Furthermore, if art is not good art, then it could be bad or great art instead. An objective agreement can be achieved in defining what art is, yet defining what constitutes good art ends up whether intentionally or not, far more subjective. It becomes subjective as pieces of art mean different things for different people, what people feel about art in that respect is just as important as the meaning the artist put into their pieces of artwork. A viewer that adores or loves a piece of art believes that it is good art as it got a positive response from them as soon as they saw it. Conversely, one might see a painting or sculpture that they do not like yet still appreciate it so they would not describe it as bad art just because they did not like it.

Besides meaning, artists can attempt to put experiences into what they produce. Their art is based on their knowledge, and they want whoever looks at their work to share or at the very least, understand such experiences. Those experiences may have been good, or they have been bad, yet they were possibly turning points, and the more extreme those experiences were, the more extreme the resulting piece of art could have been. Grief, heartbreak, love, and loss can all be regarded as such personal turning points, and thus from time to time have a powerful impact on the work produced by artists. Such profound events could alter an artist's style may be for just one piece of work, or for everything they do until they retire. Expressing and sharing experiences makes art more meaningful for the artist, and providing the viewer to tap into the shared experiences, which is potentially more rewarding for the viewer.

It makes the viewer have an insight into what the artist felt and believed at the time they produced their artwork. Perhaps if the viewer had the same artistic skills and had similar experiences to the artists, they may also have produced similar pieces of art. A viewer that understands where the artist was coming from is far more likely to appreciate the completed works, and consider them to be good art, or maybe perhaps great art. If you feel that you would take it home and hang it in your living room, providing that money was no object, of course, then it is a good piece of art. If you could constantly stare at it and notice something new about it every time that you did so.

The consensus is hard to arrive at about how people react to art. For example, the majority of people discussing art would agree that Constable, Da Vinci, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Turner produced pieces of art (these names were picked at random, and you could come up with plenty of alternative names). Yet it is less likely that these same people would agree that all these artists had produced good artwork. It would be surprising if people actually liked all the art created by all of those artists. A viewer would have to have really diverse tastes. Although at best they could admire what those artists had all achieved as individuals. Their combined works certainly portrayed a whole host of different objects and events, ranging from hay wains, the Mona Lisa, the bombing of Guernica, sunflowers, through to the earliest models of steamships. So viewers that liked all those objects to be painted certainly have broad tastes.

Now people might like the paintings and other pieces of art made by such artists, but the better-known pieces you have to settle for having a reproduction at home. For some of them, prints are relatively easy to come by. Yet owning the real thing is really unlikely to happen. Still, there is no harm in hoping for a huge lottery win to change everything forever, and possibly turn you into an art patron for contemporary artists, the ones that succeed in capturing your imagination with their work.

Some art collectors are more interested in owning art as an investment and are more interested in making a profit from it instead of buying a painting they like enough to describe it as being good. Such collectors can completely miss the artistic merits, and artistic value of contemporary artists while they are searching for the long lost work of a dead master to sell on for a large profit. It is not particularly fair for contemporary artists that their best works fetch less money than a lesser-known work by Constable, Monet, or yet another It would be no consolation for Damian Hirst for example that his art will be worth far more money after he is dead. His art has certainly caused debate, with viewers divided between those that hate it and those that love it. To generate such an amount of discussion, he has to be doing something right if you are part of his fan club, or something wrong if you are part of the detracting club. Love him, or hate him, any viewer that takes their art seriously cannot ignore him.

Some artists have been lucky in that critics, and art buyers plus members of the public have accepted their worth as artists during their own lifetime. Some artists have been considered producers of great art and not just good art while they were still alive. Thus able to enjoy the fame and fortune that came their way. That is a fortunate position to have been in, and most artists do not quite make it that far. It is more likely that artists have sometimes produced work to make their living instead of creating what they themselves considered to be good art. Still, that does not mean that the art made under such situations is bad, as artists should have enough professional pride to maintain the quality of their work. It just might show that they did not put all of their heart and soul into making it. Anybody that is doing a job that they do not enjoy only to pay the bills can relate to that feeling though. You are just doing enough to get the job done. However, for all, we know that could have been Da Vinci's frame of mind when he did the Mona Lisa. Perhaps if he had painted her with a big grin on her face, viewers would not have rated the painting so highly for the last five hundred years.

Artists such as Da Vinci and Picasso certainly achieved accolade for being great artists when they were alive, even though people may not have fully understood their works. The ideas of Da Vinci were really advanced at that time, while Picasso liked to be abstract in terms of what he painted. They certainly followed the golden rule that defines good art, they made people stop and stare at their artwork. Da Vinci was responsible for producing perhaps the most well-known painting of all, the Mona Lisa. It is a piece of art that has been discussed ever since it was first seen in public. The constant fear that the Mona Lisa could be stolen means that it is surrounded by so much security that the viewer may find it difficult to see it clearly. It is not the biggest painting ever produced, maybe Da Vinci would have argued that it was small but perfectly performed.

Unfortunately, poor Vincent Van Gogh did not achieve that golden rule until after his death, as nobody stopped long enough to stare at his pictures of what they considered to be mundane objects like chairs and sunflowers to appreciate their artistic traits and excellent techniques. When it came to Van Gogh while he was alive, people only discussed his sanity (the implication being that if he had any, he would have painted something else), and never considered the merits or otherwise of his paintings. The point here is that some artists have redefined what art means, yet may not have actually benefited from the changes they helped to bring about themselves. The subjects he painted may have been mundane, yet how he painted chairs and sunflowers was revolutionary in terms of style and technique. The problem was that by the time that critics and viewers had noticed his artistic merit and the artistic value he had given up hope of ever selling a painting that he already killed himself.

At it's a most basic level of art. It is meant to depict something, sometimes meaningful, sometimes not. Now some works of art can be considered technically brilliant by art critics yet cannot realistically be described as good art as they fail to make people stop and talk about what that particular piece is showing them. Now sometimes artists want their work to make profound statements while at other times they are simply completing a commissioned piece of work. In those instances, they are producing exactly what the patron has paid them to create. The artists are only seeking the appreciation of their patron. Commissioned pieces of art may be seen by the public if the patrons decide that they wish to have it displayed at a gallery or an exhibition.

Privately commissioned art tends to be something that the patron wants to be made, sometimes for public display, but more often than not for private viewing and appreciation. Yet sometimes the best way for artists to gain lucrative private commissions is to have previously produced work that has generated media or public controversy and debate over what exactly is art, good or bad. Media coverage is bringing attention to particular pieces of art, which in turn makes people want to view it sooner rather than later. Present day artists have a tendency to produce controversial work once they have entered competitions to enhance their chances of winning the top prizes. The galleries and organizations which run the contests consider the amount of publicity they gain if they award prizes to the most shocking entries. Publicity attracts visitors, and the media can obligingly tempt viewers to go along and find out what all the fuss is about. Everyone is a winner, the gallery has more visitors, the artists have a greater interest in their work, and the viewers get to discover new art they may love, or they may detest. Yet if viewers are discussing the art, they are evaluating it in greater detail, and something completely different will eventually start to grow on them. Good art can be a slow burner instead of something you instantly love, but every time it is viewed, you get a different experience.

Controversy equates to publicity, so institutions like the Tate Modern are not averse to artists entering their genre redefining designs to win the contests. All the parties concerned get extra amounts of publicity, and the gallery or museum gets more visitors to look at the objects which cause the controversy. People may disagree about whether or not a cow sewed in half, or an unmade bed is an art, yet it gained the respective artist's publicity and were widely debated. In any case, producing controversial work can be defined as good art because discussion extends the boundaries of all our understandings. If something has changed our belief that in the majority of cases has to be a good thing and thus be good art.

Besides, all forms of art were new at some stage, different things have to be attempted. Some art may not be to our personal tastes, yet that does not mean it is without any kind of merit or artistic value. Definitions of creative expression are just as likely to change from one generation to the next, just like other aspects of culture, and society. Art is subject to the evolving trends and fashions, yet not all artists and viewers want to be fashionable. Instead, the artist wants to produce art that they like to create, and the viewer would prefer to view art in the style and genre which they consider to be the best, and allows them to admire good technique rather than bad art.

Now, most artists regarded themselves as being free agents, and therefore they were free to produce art which they wanted to show. Furthermore, they could depict anything that was related to any object, or subject of their choice. This is mostly true, although art can be subject to censorship, and in dictatorships artists that did not adhere to what the regime wanted were banned, imprisoned, and in extreme cases killed. In Western societies with lower levels of censorship, artists have more opportunities to produce work that will maximize their levels of artistic merit and value. Less censorship means that patrons and viewers are more likely to get what they consider to be good art.

Assuming that artists were able to evade censorship or lived in a country which had more relaxed rules, then they could produce work that expressed their feelings and demonstrated their merits as an artist. Artists have formally belonged to or felt strongly attached to specific art movements. Influential art movements have included modernist, post-modernist, and impressionist, just to name a few. Even if an artist identified himself, or herself has been part of an artistic movement, that sense of belonging that did not completely dictate how exactly pieces of art should be painted, or sculpted. After all in it's truest form, art should encourage individualism both from the artists and from the viewers who are free to decide what they like and dislike in terms of art.

While Monet and Munch are both linked to impressionist, their works notably differed from each other as well as from other impressionist artists. Styles can differ from one artist to another, yet they can still be seen to produce work, which held things in common. A piece of good art can show that it has been influenced by other artistic works yet still remains unique and true to itself. Being different means that it has originality, and that gives a higher chance to have been considered good art as it stands out from other pieces of art.

The best-known artists have tended to produce work that even after the quickest of glances you could tell had been done by them, and not by any other artist. Good art should be something that stands out instantly from any other piece of art, which has come before it. Just as importantly, it should differ from all subsequent pieces after it has been produced. When each piece of artwork differs, it allows it to stand out and gain recognition for its own artistic value instead of been considered a poor imitation of somebody else's ideas and work. In any case, artists gain more merit from being original than from imitating others. When art has been produced by studios, those studios have not always named who the individual artist was, so the pieces are counted as been made in the name of the studio alone.

To be counted as good art it should really do something to grab people's attention, to stop individuals dead in their tracks, to look at what is in front of them and then have to concentrate on examining its meanings, obvious as well as hidden. Sometimes art pieces do have hidden images or messages within them.

Some information can be gained from doing a little bit of research about what grabs the attention of viewers. After all, pieces of art can actually tell people things about what was happening at the time in which it was produced. It is also worth considering what was happening to the artist at the time they were creating each and every single piece of artwork in their portfolio. The quality of work been open to variation, as the mood of the artist changed.

Yet at other times people may look at and evaluate a piece of art that has no hidden message or meaning attached to it. What happened was that the artist saw something that drew their attention to it, and they felt an irresistible urge to draw, paint, or sculpt the object that inspired them. Under normal circumstances, everyday objects rarely inspire artists to make a piece of art, yet something might suddenly inspire on the spur of the moment to paint a beach ball or a vase of sunflowers. Viewers are looking for something different to appreciate in art, just as artists aim to put an individual perspective within all the art that they produce.

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A History Of Glamour Photography

May 28th, 2019

Glamour photography is a genre in which females are portrayed in erotic or exciting ways ranging from fully clothed to nude, but in ways that either may conceal or may otherwise not especially draw attention to the subjects' breasts and buttocks. It is amongst the broadest genres of photography that could also include male models. The primary focus is usually on the model whose natural features are highlighted using make-up, accessories, and lighting in an artistic and a flattering manner. The image often illustrates the unique features and the natural beauty of the model.

Glamour photography dates back to the 1900s to France, where small erotic postcards were being sold on the streets by vendors. Pinups were also very popular in the early 1900s which depicted scantily dressed women who seemed startled by the viewer and with a playful pose.

In the 1920s, Ruth Harriet Louise, the Chief Portrait Photographer at MGM studios started taking photographs of Hollywood stars to make them more glamorous. The stars were the main studio product. The photographers captured the sex appeal of these stars although they did not show off much skin as is the case today. The photographs in that era were mainly in black and white and were greatly dependent on the lighting to bring the point across.

As time passed by, it became acceptable for models to show more skin. During the Second World War, pictures of scantily dressed stars known as pin-ups were very popular with the American servicemen and soldiers. Betty Grable was among the most famous models during that period. Pin-ups also included artwork that depicted how an attractive woman ought to look like.

The emergence of the Playboy magazine in the 1950s made a significant contribution to the Glamour genre with Marilyn Monroe as the centerfold. It was the first magazine ever to incorporate nude photography targeting mainstream consumers. The magazine did not feature famous models; instead, it used ordinary girls who portrayed innocence with a kind of naughtiness, a style that is still in use today.

In 1965, the sports illustrated swimsuit edition was born and brought a new style to the genre. The sports illustrated scantily dressed women who were not completely nude. In 1977, Roy Raymond created Victoria’s secret, which illustrated models in lingerie. The style was infused into Glamour Photography, and from there on, the lingerie style was born. The ’80s and ’90s saw the incorporation of glamour photography into the advertisement world as people believed ‘sex sells.’

The invention of the internet made Glamour widespread. It created an avenue for both photographers and models with full-time jobs but who enjoy Glamour as a hobby to exhibit their work. It has also made it possible for all the people interested in the genre to become participants.

Modern-day men’s magazines, the likes of FHM and Maxim, feature both celebrities and non-celebrities. They feature scantily dressed women and are very popular in our modern world.

In the world today, there are different kinds of Glamour photography, ranging from nude to fully clothed models, from high school portraits to models in magazines. The style all depends on the line drawn by the photographer taking the shot.

The theory behind glamour photography
Glamour photography mainly focuses on the model captured in the image by highlighting their natural features in flattering and artistic ways. The photographer achieves this through guiding the model through a series of stylish techniques that complement the model's body type. Although it’s associated with amatory, it doesn’t necessarily have to be erotic in nature.

One of the most important aspects of Glamour photography is the posing of the model. The type of location is the primary determinant of which poses work and which do not. For instance, in Boudoir photography, the intimate setting leads to the creation of sensual, romantic, soft, or naughty photos, which are influenced by the models’ pose. The interaction between the model and the photographer will also determine how great the poses are.

The lighting in the set influences the kind of mood and feelings portrayed in the photo. The right kind of equipment brings out the desired mood that can be lost if the wrong lighting is used. Therefore, it is important for the photographer to be able to master the many different types of lighting arrangements to project the desired messages in the shots.

The location of the shoot and the model should have a complementary look that works together. The location the photographer picks should also complement the mood and the theme of the shoot. The models’ makeup and clothing should also go hand in hand with the photo shoot location. Mixing the wrong clothes, makeup, and location can be compromising to the photos.

Glamour photography does not always depend on artificial lighting. It's possible for the photographer to manipulate the natural light of the location to produce unique shots without depending on artificial lighting.

Almost all the photos taken during a photo shoot require editing before they are published. This marks the final stage in the production of Glamour photography. Retouches are carried out to produce the desired effects.

Why glamour images are everywhere
Glamour photography depicts most of its models in an appealing manner that tends to be alluring to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. As a result of this, glamour images have been in great use in the past couple of years, mainly in advertisement and related fields. The reason behind this is the passing down of the belief that sex sells, which has been concluded to be true. Over the years, scores of women have shown their displeasure with the use of semi-nude women in billboards and magazines for advertisements. The inclusion of muscular and handsome men has, however, brought about a significant change to this opinion.

The passionate, suggestive, and provocative nature of Glamour photographs tend to attract many advertisement agencies. People, in general, are wired to notice sexually related information because it attracts attention. They are often duped into believing that if they buy the product, they will get or start resembling the models in the products. Glamour images are very appealing and, as a result, many companies manipulate this aspect to sell their products to people. For this reason, the advertisement sections in newspapers and magazines mainly contain pictures of beautiful and handsome models, both celebrities and non-celebrities alike, promoting the different products.

The use of lingerie images in the beauty industry is perceived as ‘sexy’ by both men and women alike. The sexy look of the models attracts people who aspire to look like the models in question and to attain the same level of sex appeal. Lingerie companies such as Victoria’s Secret are aware that women are comfortable with sex being portrayed in certain ways. They use this to their advantage to sell their products. It is, therefore, not a wonder they make millions of dollars in profit every year.

The use of glamour images has also become widespread in the print media industry. Glamour photos grace the covers of magazines and books. The more attractive the cover, the greater the number of viewers. The attractiveness is brought about by the beauty of the model in question. The nature of beauty depends on how much the photographer can capture, the setting, makeup, dressing, and the location. Glamour images are also used in school newspapers whereby they cover portraits of former students who have already graduated. Glamour photography is, after all, not all about nudity. The images are also used as covers to calendars. The principle of attraction is also applied here. The more attractive the cover, the more buyers it’s bound to attract.

Glamour images are not limited to the advertisement and print media. People also take glamour images for personal purposes. Especially women, take glamour photographs to appreciate a side of their beauty that they may not be aware of and to appreciate themselves in general. A great photo which shows all the beautiful aspects of the model does a lot in terms of boosting their self-esteem. People also take these photos to gift them to their loved ones or for decorative purposes in their homes. Others are used as pin-ups.

If you take the time to look around, you will realize that you are surrounded by glamour images, be it in your house, on your phone, on the internet or the roads.

Why glamour photography is the most popular modeling choice
Glamour Photography and modeling go hand in hand where fashion sells a product, glamour usually sells the model. This, however, is not always the case because photography promotes products as well, it is amongst the reasons why Glamour photography is preferred when it comes to modeling. In the modeling world, nothing sells a model better than a nice looking portfolio. In the portfolio, there should be a collection of the models best-looking photos as it shows clients how the model looks under different situations. It also proves that the model in question is not an amateur and shows that the model is photogenic. The photos should capture your unique and exciting qualities. If you have a great portfolio, you have a higher chance of attracting the attention of many clients who will want to have you representing them.

In glamour photography, the primary focus of the photographer is usually on the model. The photographers’ main aim is usually to highlight the natural features of the model in a flattering and artistic way. Using different settings, lighting, makeup, and clothing, a photographer can bring out different sides of the same model. Various poses are also used to generate different stories. The photographer goes a long way to creating different versions of the same person in various parameters. Through this, all the existing and artsy sides of a model can be explored, thus giving them an edge when it comes to getting recognition. The existence of an excellent rapport between the photographer and the model is crucial. Good photographs are taken when the model and the photographer can trust each other and where an understanding exists between them.

Some models have had significant breakthroughs in life as a result of glamour photography
One such case is the famous actress Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was an important sex representation in America during the 1950s and 60s. This was a result of her public photos and modeling career. The two opened up a slot for her in the theatre world and paved the way for her to join the ranks of the most successful actresses in her time. Another example is Tyra Banks, who rose to fame after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and for working for Victoria's Secrets as one of the Angels. This paved the way for her in the television industry and made it possible for her to become the successful person she is today.

Glamour photography, therefore, plays a great role in the life of models. It has paved the way for the success of many models in the past and continues to do so. Great glamour images expose novice and experienced models to greater chances of expanding their modeling career. Glamour photography is an integral part of modeling. The photo shoots do not end with the portfolio. Once a model manages to get clients, they have to promote the clients' product while at the same time building their reputation in the modeling world. It would also not be incorrect to draw the conclusion that the majority of the famous models today rose to fame with a significant boost from Glamour photography.

Evolution of glamour photography
Before the 1960s, glamour photography was commonly referred to as erotic photography. It dates back to the 1940s after the creation of the daguerreotypes by Louis Daguerre. The technology made it possible for artists to depict the nude form of women in another way besides the traditional methods of painting, engraving, and drawings. The invention made it possible to produce images that did not fade with passing the time. It was adopted in French in academies where painters studied the nude forms of both women and men. The invention of the stereoscope made it possible to view these photographs in three dimensions. In the 1850s, erotic photographs were declared illegal and, as a result, the production of nudes was stopped, and the business went underground.

The French then started producing postcards that depicted women in erotic poses. These cards were circulated were distributed under the counter as many countries had banned the sale of materials referencing sex or partial or full nudes. Erotic and Nude material was then marketed in a magazine called La Beauté.

The 1900s brought improvements to the camera. With the emergence of small cameras, it became possible to take glamour photos in secluded in and semi-secluded areas. The early 20th century saw an evolution in the posing styles that were brought about by an artist by the name E.J. Bellocq. The models in his pictures assumed relaxed and comfortable poses in contrast to the awkward poses women used to assume before. Julian Mandel also brought evolution to glamour photography. He adopted the natural setting that was later accepted by other photographers. Over the era, the production of soft images with exquisite tones were created with lighting instead of the usual shadows.

In the year 1931, the photographer George Hurrell made the first attempt at ‘manual Photoshop’ by doing a retouch on the photo of the actress Joan Crawford.

During the Second World War, pin-ups became popular and made an emphasis on legs. The models were usually in short skirts and bathing suits displaying shapely figures. The year 1953 saw the launch of the Playboy, which was the first magazine to reveal the naked breasts of women in this era. The 1970s saw the inclusion of male models to the world that was previously dominated by women.

The 1990s brought about the spread of the internet and social liberalization. Glamour photography became widespread on the internet, and in print, it then started competing with magazines as the nudity was no longer considered a taboo, it became a form of art which was appreciated.

Photography is now taught in schools, and this has led to the emergence of professionals in the industry. They have mastered the proper art of manipulating lighting to produce desired effects, moods, and themes in images. The technological changes have had an enormous impact on glamour photography. With the invention of photo editing software's, it is now possible to remove blemishes in the image, brighten teeth, even the skin tone, to remove the red-eye effects and to lighten over darkened photos. The continuous changes in photography have led to the production of high-quality images.

We can, therefore, conclude that glamour photography has been undergoing a series of changes from the time it was discovered to date. Most of the features we have today are, however, a modification of ideas invented by the pioneers of today's glamour photography.

Relationship between glamour photography and art
Art in itself refers to a broad range of human activities that are diverse in nature and usually involving technical skills and or imagination. Photography is a part of art and falls under the category of visual arts, together with printmaking, sculpture, painting, and other visual media. Glamour photography is in itself both an art and science. It allows the photographer to capture the emotions and feelings of the model at that particular time. The difference between photography and the other forms of visual arts is that there is a barrier created by the camera between the model and the photographer as is the case with the sculptor and his clay or wood or the painter and his canvas.

Glamour photography is of great importance in art
Glamour Photography combines the significance of art and digital awareness into one experience. With photography, one can let their imaginations run free, what with the endless subjects and themes that the world around us provides, and at the same time gaining invaluable knowledge of handling cameras and other photographic equipment.

Perhaps photography can be said to be most significant in the communications, advertising, and marketing industry. It’s no mystery that a photograph can speak volumes about what happens in our lives and can tell us more in its singularity than a 1000 word article or news piece would. In this way, glamour photographs give us a clearer understanding of what we read about or hear in the news.

Advertising and marketing wouldn't be such profitable ventures if it weren't for the images that are used in promoting goods and services of various enterprises. Humans depend highly on their vision to make both basic and important decisions, and photographs no doubt influence what products we choose to buy, and from whom, and which companies or firms we want to conduct our business with.

The art of photography is one of the most common ways of giving value to objects and events. Photographs have, for a long time, been a means for documenting important moments in our lives; they act as a living memory of who we are and what we have done in our lifetimes. They tend to say the things that we are too abashed to say for ourselves, or moments that we'd either ruin by speaking too much about or lack the words. It's right of me to assume that photographs, family portraits especially, compose part of people's most valuable possessions.

Contemporary glamour portrait photography can capture the natural curves and emotions of the model using lighting and shadows to set the mood. In so doing, it makes the models of all ages and sizes feel appreciated, desired, and beautiful. They also make it possible for people to appreciate the human body as an art form.

Glamour images unite people from all over the world as it helps celebrate the diversity and the uniqueness of human expression through the internet or print. This helps in creating a deep understanding of people from all walks of life and transcends cultural differences. In so doing it, promotes the goal of the art of bringing people together, whether in a house or museum it adds color and life to the world that would otherwise be dull.

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Does One Size Really Fit All?

May 28th, 2019

What do Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe and the Venus de Milo have in common? They all have that perfect hourglass body, and they were all icons of beauty.

Everywhere you look today in the media, you see images of skinny, starved-looking women that are considered sexy because you see the lines on the stomach and hip bones protruding behind their skin. There’s a perception out there that only a flat tummy looks good when in reality, the clothes on these emaciated bodies are what makes them look attractive by the way a blouse is unbuttoned down or hem of a skirt is up high.

The truth is, men, find curvy women more attractive. According to research, men get the same high from seeing a curvy woman. A ripped stomach and firm posterior is sexy, but so is a little pooch belly. That’s sexy too, it’s just a different kind of sexy and men are attracted to both kinds. But women think if they don’t have washboard abs, then they can’t possibly be a model and that’s just not the case. Have we grown so accustomed to seeing touched-up images of unattainable perfection that we can’t see the beauty in the average-shaped woman? When a real woman looks in the mirror, and the reflection looking back at her doesn’t resemble the images she’s accustom to seeing in magazines and in the movies, she equates that with, “I don’t look like her. Therefore I can’t be a model like her.”

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What most of us don’t realize is that every image printed in a fashion magazine has been altered to look like perfection. And the model has been trained to move her body in front of the camera in such a way that it flatters her shape.

A lot of full-figured women don’t have the confidence to even consider modeling, when in fact, they’re missing out on a great experience. Some think if they aren’t the stereotypically lean women, then they couldn’t possibly be captured by the camera.

Women are beautiful in all sizes. Even if you have a heavier model, as long as she has some curves and is proportionate for the size of her frame, she sexy. Think of the quintessential pin-up girl, Marilyn Monroe. Did you know she actually wore a size 13 and she’s considered to be an iconic beauty? She knew how to wear her clothes and hold her body for the camera.

Both Marilyn and Anna Nicole prove that they didn’t need tiny measurements to be sexy. In fact, it was the high waist to hip ratio that made them famous. It’s more about the proportion of their sizes than the actual numbers that give them an hour-glass shape. As long as the waist is smaller in proportion to the upper and lower body, it doesn’t matter if a model is a size two or a size twelve, these are the curves that can drive a man crazy.

The key to achieving that voluptuous, curvy body is to look for that shape where the middle is proportionately smaller than the chest and hip. With a little guidance from behind the camera, you can transform her into the shapely goddess she’s hiding inside.

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Fauvism Art History And The Female Figurative Subject

May 28th, 2019

Fauvism art is an art form which has a modern conceptual focus which generally forsakes traditional forms of sculpture and painting. “Fauvism” is derived from the French word “fauve,” which means “wild beasts” and pinpoints movement, such as in individuals or machinery. Here we will primarily discuss the female form as it has been, and is, used in Fauvism art while breaking down the form’s history, popularity, artists, and other important points which will explain this particular art form better. Thereby providing a firmer understanding of it and the heartfelt purposes of those who created Fauvist works of art of the past.

The History of the Fauvism Art Genre
Fauvism 1898-1908 was derived and inspired from tribal art with a primitive flavor, and much of it was developed from Post-impressionist inspiration on the part of Fauvists themselves. The Fauvist movement itself did not last long, but the form played a major role in the onset of Expressionist art forms which developed later. One viewing a Fauvist piece will notice how an artist engages in an erratic, untamed use of color and style to achieve their works, thus explaining the “wild beast” reference. This particular use of color is considered ‘unnatural,’ and colors used are typically quite energetic, bold, and vigorous.

The most notable exhibition of only three held for Fauvism art was held in 1905 at the Salon d’ Automne in Paris, France. This exhibition was considered the greatest one held for the art form, which extended over only ten years. It managed to break significant ground for those artists who expressed themselves through the Modernist movement, sparking an entirely new art genre for all to see. To sum up the Fauvism movement in a nutshell, what the artists saw individually is what they painted or created, whether it be a real fact to the viewers naked eye or not. For example, if in the mind’s eye of the painter, one’s face contained numerous colors, each and every color would make it to the canvas. It was considered one of the truest forms of personal expression, and it paved the way for the incredible modern abstract artists of history, past and present.

Another important point which is tantamount to the history of Fauvism is the fact that Paris, France, played such a vital role, once again, in getting the ball rolling for this form. Because it is freely considered the “art center of the world.” This paved the road for Fauvism to grow and change as needed. All the most important art lovers were exposed, and therefore artists who would otherwise be trapped by traditional painting or sculpting genres could have the public’s okay to explore and express themselves in any manner they wanted. The go-ahead given in Paris was a go-ahead given by the entire world, and so Fauvist-based artist everywhere were able to spread their proverbial wings and put themselves on the line fully for the sake of their true vision.

With time Fauvism gave way to Cubism and Expressionism, but the original form itself had remained the only one true to itself, even in those early years when its blood flowed purely. Fauvism was, and indeed still is, one of the most rigorous forms in existence. It played a direct role on the way artists and viewers looked at, and used, color and tone. It changed the way shapes were used. It offered beautiful portraiture which still looked like the intended individual without compromising the obscurity of the form in any way. It was groundbreaking.

Fauvism proved to relate to the German people in unparalleled ways in the second decade of the 20th century with artists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. French Exhibitionists were overwhelmed by the form at the “Paris School,” resulting in the Rayonism and the Orphism Movement. Next came the overtaking of Scotland, when a group of four individual painters referred to as the Scottish Colorists began to contribute to the form before World War I. Included in this group were George Leslie Hunter, Samuel Peploe, John Duncan Fergusson, and Francis Campbell Cadell. All of these artists had passed away by 1961, but their individual contributions to the Fauvist form remain invaluable to this very day.

Matisse is considered the primary Fauvist pioneer, having contributed some of the finest works to the form. Matisse worked from the belief that freedom of personal expression was, indeed, art in itself, and thus could not be separated from the artist if the artist was true. He used specific systems and techniques which were coined as “Pointillism.” The artist without these beliefs could never be a true artist at all, and this is truly what Matisse believed. It drove him to perfect his form if that could really be accomplished at all when it comes to Fauvism. Others who worked from a strong belief system which was similar, if not identical, included Henri-Edmond Cross, Georges Seurat, and Paul Signac. These men, indeed, were the driving force behind the Fauvism solidification. While it is said that Matisse did not base his work or the techniques he used directly on the Pointillism theory. He did focus on the use of unusual ‘dot’ techniques which other artists forsook to bring an entirely new level of aesthetic and emotion to each and every work he contributed, and he did so successfully, remaining purely true to himself and his vision. Matisse also paid very close attention to several Post-Impressionists of his day, including Vuillard, Gauguin, and Bonnard. This resulted in the use of more and more strong, vibrant color, at a technique which boldly stepped away from the use of soft hues which was common to the Impressionism of his time. He would take paint straight from the tube, implementing no blending or shading, and he would use these colors to convey his point and vision. The effect is obvious; to this day, the name Matisse is common on the lips of even the non-art lover.

Today the basic aesthetic of Fauvism has changed, but it is not altogether uncommon to see a true work sell for literally millions of dollars. The contributions made by those who perfected the form in the past, as well as those who contribute in the present day, keep Fauvism alive, even by any other moniker. Because of the slow, subtle changes which the form has demonstrated, it can be difficult for the untrained eye to recognize true Fauvist art in any form. Many are tempted to simply stare at the works of Picasso and credit him with the genre, but nothing could be further from the truth. Fauvism came about in its own time, and it has been developed, even evolving, to the point of being unrecognizable to the layman. The fact remains that a true Fauvist work can be pinpointed by anyone with an understanding of its theory and history. To know the form is to recognize it, whether it is appreciated by the individual or not. Most, even those who do not love it, can appreciate its boldness and its ability to stand above and beyond other forms. It can be appreciated for the forms which it spawned, and eventually, it will be appreciated by all for its ability, in and of itself, to be utterly free in its purest form.

Fauvism: The Theory
As stated previously, Fauvism was a pioneering form of Expressionism, meaning that the artists, while painting or creating what they saw, did it by their own personal form of expression. This meant the use of a lot of colors, and the subjects bore mostly an unnatural look. In theory, this lent a hand to the artist is free to paint not only what they saw with their eyes, but what they ‘saw’ with their heart. Artistic freedom of this type was exclusive, breaking barriers for artist of the future to be who they were as artists rather than conforming to what the world’s view of an artist or painter should be. This is what the original heart of Fauvism is, and it is what Fauvism should remain, yesterday, today, and virtually until the end of time.

Not only did Fauvism lend a hand to the freestyle of the artist, but it also enabled the viewer to express themselves as well due to the art being, at times, harsh and loud. For those who were bored with, or could not relate to, traditional realism in art, this form was indeed quite popular. It crossed known boundaries and allowed for the personal expression of the owner of any piece, which was the purpose of Fauvist art, and remains the purpose of Expressionist art forms today. This is at the very core of Fauvism theory, even now, to the true artist.

The Popularity of Fauvism Art
Fauvism, or Pre-Expressionism, became popular in the art world for a variety of reasons. Not only did it open the door to artistic freedom, paving the way for some of the greatest Expressionists in history, it also broadened the minds of art lovers and enthusiasts the world over, allowing them to begin to see art as more than ‘black and white,’ so to speak. But there are other reasons why Fauvism was, and is, adored by those who consider art to be a vastly important part of their world and day to day life. For example, Fauvism is much easier for the art lover to integrate into any décor, as opposed to paintings and sculptures which are real in appearance, which tends to only compliment a specific aesthetic. Not to mention the fact that the boldness of color and technique used by Fauvists compliments individual personalities in ways that Traditionalism is incapable of doing. These facts, in and of themselves, have proven to be powerful catalysts about the popularity of Fauvism art and Expressionism being some of the most love art in the world, past and present.

Female Figurative Fauvism Artists and Their Works, Then and Now
Here we will discuss some known and influential Figurative Fauvist artists of the period, as well as some from more modern times whose works would not exist if not for the freedom of expression provided by the onset of the Fauvism period:

Ilya Mashkov 1881-1944
Born in the Cossack Village near Volgograd. This Russian artist known for his works in Fauvism, Nude 1915, Nude 1920, Two nudes 1908, Two nudes 1918, and Seated Nude 1918.

Albert Marquet 1875-1947
Born in Bordeaux, France, this French painter was a lifelong friend of Henri Matisse. Marquet was known for his Fauvist painting Life Class at the École des Beaux-Arts 1998.

Louis Valtat 1869-1952
Born in Dieppe, France. A French painter and printmaker known for his works in Fauvism, Young Women in the Garden 1898, and Young Girls Playing with a Lion Cub 1905-1906.

Henry Matisse 1869-1954
Born in Le Cateau-Cambresis, France Matisse was a true artist of many talents, working with painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, and even printmaking. He was known for works in Fauvism, Neo-Impressionism, Modernism, and Impressionism. Some of his pieces are The Blue Nude 1907, Woman with a Hat 1905, Standing Model 1900-1901, The Joy of Life 1905-1906, Nude in a Wood 1906.

Andre Derain 1880-1954
Born in Chatou France, this French sculptor and painter focused developments of Fauvism and Cubism, two avant-garde movements, and his Fauvism works include The Dancer 1910, Portrait of Matisse 1905, and Bathers 1907.

Pyotr Konchalovsky 1876-1956
Born in the village of Slavianka Russia, this Russian painter known for his works in Fauvism, Scheherazade 1917, Portrait of daughter 1912, Nude 1916, Girl under the umbrella 1929.

Maurice de Vlaminck 1876-1958
Born on Rue Pierre Lescot in Paris, this Fauvist painter from France gave several beautiful works to the genre, including The Girl at Rat Mort 1905, The Girl from Rat Mort 1905-1906.

Matthew Smith 1879-1959
This British painter is known for his works in Fauvism, Kneeling Nude 1915, Fitzroy Street Nude No. 2 1916, Nude, Fitzroy Street, No. 1 1916, Reclining Nude 1922.

Max Weber 1881-1961
Born in the Polish city of Białystok, then part of the Russian Empire. This Jewish-American painter and one of the first American Cubist painters who, in later life, turned to more figurative known for his works in Fauvism. Burlesque 1909, Three Nudes in a Forest 1910, and Summer.

John Duncan Fergusson 1874-1961
Born in Leith, Edinburgh, this Scottish artist, and sculptor, known for his works in Fauvism, Siesta 1951, and In the Sunlight 1907.

Emilio Grau Sala 1911-1975
Born in Barcelona, Spain this Catalan painter known for his works in Fauvism, Ballerinas 1955, Dancers 1963, La Lecture, and Champs Elysees.

Differences in Fauvism: Then and Now
While the basic message of Fauvism remains the same, the years have seen the form make several changes at the hands of the artists who have made the genre their own. In its humble beginnings, and in years gone by, many Fauvist works were considered extreme in their portrayal of women and other subjects, using bold colors, uncontrolled strokes, and independent thought processes to produce the popular works of art which resulted in the Expressionist trends we see in the art world today. However, it is important to point out that there are several changes in the form which have taken place over time.

The changes above can be obviously seen by even the untrained eye if one is to compare past works of the Fauvism form with the more modern versions created today. While many from the past were commonly abstract and extreme in appearance, many of the works we see today have taken a much more traditional tone. While coloration and tone remain bold in most cases, the form given to the subject, particularly human subjects, remains very consistent with reality. The color alone is what seems to cause these painting or other art types to stand out at “Fauvist” or “Fauvist type” works. Even self-portraiture created by these artists have seemed to lean in this general direction.

Present-day representatives of Fauvism have even taken still lives to this extreme, nearly stepping out of the abstract/Expressionism realm into something which is far more traditional than we might expect. While this has been widely accepted in this modern age, true lovers of Fauvism and other related forms notice the changes as starkly as one might notice the differences between black and white, which may be the clear explanation for the fading of the genre into other like forms.

The Importance of Genuine Fauvism to the World of Art
So, why bother? Why not just accept the ebb of the form as well as the flow? There are several reasons to consider if one is genuinely interested in the answer. Like any genre, Fauvism is as important to all art as oxygen is to all parts of the body; without it a specific part loses feeling, resulting in the severing of this particular form and all of its relatives. Without it, the world of art is restrictive and bland, it is the salt and seasoning of the world of art, as specific clothing is to individual style.

As any true Fauvist would likely relate, this particular form was freeing, not only to the artist but to any open-minded art lover or observer as well. No longer must trees and grass be green; the artist could openly lend new emotion and vision to the same using color, and even shape, variety. We all could look at the world through an entirely new scope and begin to see what could be, or even, what perhaps already was. As it is commonly said, beauty, or art, is in the eye of the beholder. To re-conform to the common is basically to turn our backs on this freedom. True Fauvism art in all of its glory is abstract and different. It generates new ideas which liberate. It is, therefore, necessary, not only to the artist but to the entire world, if we desire to accommodate the true tastes and pleasures of all those who call this world home. The point of living, breathing, and creating art today is to do just that, is it not?

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From Classical Art To Modern Art A Naked History

May 28th, 2019

One of the most prominent subjects in art is the nude human body. For thousands of years, nudity has been depicted in every medium of art, including sculpture, painting, dance, and more recently in photography and film. Yet while there has been a constant presence of nudity in art, it must be noted that changes in the norms of society also affect the way by which nudity is depicted as well as accepted. To trace the history of nudity throughout art history is a monumental task, and thus, this paper limits itself to a brief discussion of how specific movements in history treated nudity in art.

To begin with, long before the Classical era, nudity was already accepted and considered as part of the culture. For instance, primordial sculptures found in archaeological sites show the nude female figure such as the Venus of Willendorf (24th to 22nd century B.C.) and similar figurines. These nude figures are believed to be associated with fertility as the ability of females to give birth was equivalent to the Earth’s role as the source of sustenance. In Ancient Egypt, nudity was part of certain rites. Depictions found in Egyptian frescoes show naked women dancing as part of celebrations. The fact that nudity was portrayed in these frescoes attests to the nudity’s acceptability in both the visual and the performing arts.

Nudity in art reached a new level of refinement and exaltation in the Classical Era, particularly in Ancient Greece. In Greece, the nude male form was considered as aesthetically pleasing as well as representative of masculine virility and strength. It is in sporting events that this high regard for the male form is most expressed—competing athletes took part almost always in the nude. Athletics and athletes were believed to give tribute to gods such as Heracles and Apollo. Given this reverence, the nude male form was often depicted in art. Artifacts from classical Greece include vases painted with male athletes while sculptures attempted to capture the beauty of the naked male visage. Women, however, were rarely depicted on the nude except when the subject was mythological such as the case with Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love and beauty.

While Greeks may have extolled the male form through art, the Romans, on the other hand, were not too eager to depict nudity. The practice of portraying men on the nude was substituted with the depiction of the muscle cuirass, a type of body armor that mimics the ideal muscular male body. This allowed the masculine visage to be depicted without actually revealing it. Mythological scenes, however, depicted male nudity more regularly while women are limited to the exposure of the breasts. But despite this moderate treatment in art, nudity was rampant in excavated towns such as Pompeii and Herculaneum yielded vast amounts of frescoes, sculptures, and household items depicting sexual themes and acts.

Nudity, however, became rare during the Middle Ages. Upon the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church grew and eventually came to dominate society. The Church became the primary commissioner of an authority on works of art. Because religious subjects have no need for nudity, depictions of the bare male and female bodies were mostly comprised of portrayals of Adam and Eve. Even then, nudity was rendered to appear as if sinful and immoral. Therefore, it can be said that during this era, the exaltation of the beautiful bare body was supplanted with a form of nudity in the art that was intended to install virtue.

After its long decline during the Middle Ages, nudity became prominent in the art once again upon the emergence of the Renaissance. The Renaissance, it must be understood, was a movement that had its roots on the rediscovery of classical culture. The influence of the Church waned while the arts and sciences flourished. Although religious themes were still prominent in the arts during this time, classical themes rose to a higher degree of popularity. Because the themes were derived from ancient mythology, the execution was also patterned after it thereby bringing nudity to importance once again. The trend continued towards the Baroque Era, with renowned masters such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Bernini producing works of nudity reminiscent of the classical times.

By the 19th century, society’s treatment of nudity once again shifted. 19th century Europe, with its strict codes of morality and chastity, was in many ways similar to preceding eras; nudity in art was deemed only permissible if the subject was of classical or orientalist in nature. However, this was audaciously challenged by many artists by contemporary subjects on the nude. Examples to this include Edouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass 1863 and Olympia 1865 and Gustave Courbet’s Woman with a Parrot 1866. The result was outrage as a 19th-century society thought it scandalous to portray contemporaries in a state of nudity. Yet the desired effect was achieved. Society came to understand that nudity as an art is not confined to classical themes but may also apply to contemporaries.

The shift in the treatment of nudity in the 19th century paved the way for the liberalization of the nude form in art. Paintings and sculptures easily integrated nudity as seen in Rodin’s The Thinker 1889, Matisse’s The Dance 1910, and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon 1907. Film and photography, despite being fairly recent, were also not immune to nudity as both readily utilized the naked human body to capture a sense of aestheticism. Today, depicting nudity continues in my photographs of the female body that capture its multifaceted nature. My images can at once be innocent, sensual, elegant, and enticing.

Taking into account what has been discussed, it can be said that indeed, nudity has come a long way as a major theme in art. From its beginnings in the dawn of civilization, the portrayal of the human body has followed a path that includes both moments of prominence and decline. Extolled in Classical Era, nudity in art waned during the Middle Ages, only to rise once again in the Renaissance and the Baroque Periods, and finally liberalized in the Modern Era. Although fluctuating in the level of appreciation and permissibility on account of the changing norms of society, the constant presence of nudity in art reveals a single unifying truth: that the naked human body is delicate as it is beautiful.

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