Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


Closed to new replies
December 25, 2012


Replies: 33

Porn vs Art

GKSArt Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012
If this is wrong forum, let me know. First time posting here...

So, I have this ongoing discussion with another Photographer here on deviantART about this subject, and it's not leading anywhere. So I would like to start a general discussion on it among my watchers to see if my perception of this is plain wrong, or simply misguided.

When I shoot images, I know there is a fine line between glamour and pornography. It's all a matter of poses and how to make the women express themselves. In glamour, its all about being sexy and alluring, to make men want to see more of you. And its about the boobs and the asses as well. In porn, its about something else. There, the women are completely void of any mystery, and they just show everything they got. They make no fuss about it, and pridefully shows off every inch of their naked body, with or without a man or a toy. I find that very displeasing. To me, a woman needs to have a little mystery. They don't NEED to show everything. And again, its all about angles and poses.

Reason why I want to start a discussion is that many people here have an impression that porn is OK to do on deviantART. It's a place of art, and I know a couple girls in France that thinks pornography is art. Well guess what, it's not. It never was and never will be. Those who like it do it of course, but they too make no fuss about that. Porn is about raw instinct, the need to have sex. Plain and simple. It's nothing else.

Like any other man, of course I have watched porn in my days. It's pretty much unavoidable unless you are a mormon or a deeply religious man or woman. The internet is riddled with it, and it blows up in your face at every chance it gets. But this is about deviantART and their allowance of anything. The only thing they don't allow is penetration, either by men or toys. Other than that, its free game. Which is fine of course.

Now, this photographer I have this argument with, has a portfolio here that looks like something that any guy with a camera can shoot. It lack everything that is basic photography by photographers. And the one time he actually produced something worthy, he starts this whole discussion because I hurt his feelings somehow. I think there is a line that has to be drawn to separate porn from glamour to be honest. To me, glamour means that they don't make the girls spread out, that they have a bit of mystery to them. Putting images online that shows a girl laying on a bed with her legs spread, genitals first to the camera, was never art and it never will be. And to be honest, I find it degrading to the models. When I shoot, I try to make images the girls would want to keep. So far, no complaint, if one disregards my learning process... lol.

I would like to know what you guys think. Its an open discussion, just hit it with your honest opinions, and have a discussion about it. I am very curious if my views are flawed or not :)

You can no longer comment on this thread as it was closed due to no activity for a month.

Devious Comments

mapper3 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If you can fap to it, it's porn. :iconmkayplz:
Ankh-Ascendant Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My honest opinion is that porn vs art is a very subjective argument, and what anyone draws/shoots/writes is no one else's business. If it obeys the rules and TOS, then it's allowed and if it offends your artistic sensibilities, look away. Trying to influence what someone else creates will almost never work, and I don't think there's a morality police around here...
Atlantech Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
porn and erotic art are not the same thing IMO. erotic art is tasteful, porn is not.
Soriyns-Knight Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Student General Artist
I defiantly believe that porn can be artistic, the thing about posting porn on deviant art is there are certain guidelines that DA has that need to be followed for any piece that is posted onto the website. This isn't that big of a deal considering how many places on the net that allow all sorts of pornographic artwork to be posted. The problem is that this only accounts for artwork that is blatantly pornographic, as in that was the artist intend and it shows, but then there's artwork that may not have been intended by the artist to be pornographic or at least not completely. Unfortunately there really isn't a set in stone rules of what makes something pornographic, but if the contents is considered inappropriate by the standards of the website that it's being posted on, there's not much you can do but throw your hands up, or try to contest it, which will most likely end up being nothing but a hassle.
Zingam Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I would say that your photography is practically porn. You have just women there, no play with light and shadow, no scenery, no special composition, no make-up, no costumes, no interesting poses... stefangrosjeans' is art, walking on the edge... Other photographers here do actually art (with naked people). I cannot come up with a name right now from my mind and I am too lazy to look for immediately.

I think deviantart should be about art only. Everybody who wants to display naked people in hard or soft poses should go somewhere else. And I mean here not just photographers but also people who draw huge boobs without anything artistic and stuff or pose 3D models in Poser. :D
Also I hate seeing deviantart used as Facebook too. Not everybody is a great artist but some people just abuse the site and pollute it with senseless crap.

"Putting images online that shows a girl laying on a bed with her legs spread, genitals first to the camera, was never art and it never will be. And to be honest, I find it degrading to the models. "

Not necessarily!!! It all depends on the context, how you presented. Art is an intuition, not a definition. :)

Also what does "degrading" mean? In some cultures shooting the face of a woman would be considered degrading :D
maxspider72 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012   Traditional Artist
Many would be asking the same question of abstract art. I think anything anyone deliberately puts thought into creating is art, whether it be sketching, painting, photography, film, music, dancing or acting.

Whether or not it's good or appropriate is another question. That simply falls to the opinion of the veiwer and is subject to the rules of whichever house your art is displayed in.

If you find some art distasteful for whatever reason, be it nudity or graphic violence or frightening images, it's a simple matter to turn away. No one is forced into looking. DA, forgot example, has filters. You don't have to see the mature art if you choose not to.

That being said, I do think it is marked "mature" for a reason and should be treated as such. Mature art on DA should be marked as such. Erotic art maybe doesn't belong at the local art fair. Being art doesn't necessarily make something less pornographic. Being pornographic doesn't have to mean it's not art. :spidey:
eev11 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012   Digital Artist
This is a difficult one.. I don't like pieces that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination because that immediatly gives me a negative opinion about the lady, on the other hand I really like nude photography but that has nothing to do with pornography at all.. it is an admiration of shapes, muscles, fat, bones, skin and other things that define the human figure.

So I'd say: sexy is okay but try to do it with as much clothes as you can, sexappeal is not nudity, and nudity should not be pornography but purity.
redmarlin Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
I'd be interested to hear from you, then, what the difference between erotic art and porn is.
nonecansee Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist
This I actually may agree with.
Artists sell their work and if it's erotic art, well, is it also porn?

Haha, this is curious indeed! It's like asking what the difference is between insulting someone and being frank and honest.
Gyr633 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I believe porn can be art. Sex is a part of the human experience, and is something that happens all the time, every day. There is nothing wrong with sex. The human body is also art. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, of photographing the human body in its raw state, without having to cover up.
declan2009supermega Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't personally see sexual attraction as a raw instinctive thing, I think that the is some emotional meaning and complexity in it, which varies between people, from people in relationships expressing affection, a woman getting wrapped up fantasising over a man she's starting a exciting romance with, or average jerk in a bar who wants to get laid to validate his false ego.

And I think it's a shame porn isn't viewed as art :( maybe then people would put more effort into it.......beyond making it more over the top >_> and like, take advantage of atmosphere, likeable characters, and actual emotion to improve the sexual appeal.
MajinVegeto Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012
Interesting discussion. I think it's possible that a picture can be sexual arousing and also have an 'artistic quality' to some people. However, it's not my cup of tea and I find it also degrading. But who am I to say that the idea of art of the artist is wrong, when I don't know by myself clearly what or when something is art?
BlueWingedCoyote Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
I think your basic assumption of what fashion photography is about is much closer to porn than fashion- fashion is about the clothes (whatashock!), that you see women as little more than objects will show through and ALL your photos will look "porny" until you learn to see women as people.
Bergholtz Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
I think that your post reeks of self entitlement. And nothing makes that clearer than this line here. "I find that very displeasing. To me, a woman needs to have a little mystery. They don't NEED to show everything" Both you and that other photographer are making photographs that shows women how you want them to be, to be as sexually attractive as possible. But you think that you are better because your work is "tasteful and art" I think that you are fooling yourself. Both glamour pictures and porn has the same purpuose and that is to sell the idea and dream of attractive and sexually available women. Some of it are just more skillfully done that others.

I agree with you that there are way to many people who post pictures here on Deviant that is nothing but thinly disguised jerk material that should have stayed on their own hard drives. Calling those artistic nudes is an insult but it is just something that we have to put up with unless nudity is banned. (And that would be a sad day.) And as others have said you can make porn that is fully clothed and completely exposed bodies that are not erotic at all.
declan2009supermega Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thankyou! For essentially summing up half of what I was going to say, in your first paragraph :)
Bergholtz Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks. Although in hindsight :Self-righteousness is probably the word that I should have used.
Djinnkitty Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's two completely different focuses that have plenty of areas to overlap. Trying to say, "Is this sketch of a naked person porn or art?" makes about as much sense as trying to say, "Is this custom car a vehicle or art?" 'Porn' and 'Art' have their own wide spectrums of application, and many areas where the applications overlap. There's no more 'conflict' between the two than there is between refrigerators and the colour blue.

But here's a thinker: The dictionary definition of porn is something produced to address/satisfy someone's strong desire or lust for a particular subject. So what if you spent hours making an intricate oil painting solely to satisfy a particular group's overwhelming lust for art? If art and porn are incompatible, this piece cannot exist. If it was made to satisfy someone's lust, it must be porn and not art, but if the lust in question is a lust for quality art, then it must be art and not porn... whoops, their heads just exploded from the contradiction.
nonecansee Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist
I agree with this.

Art is not so well-defined as a word in itself, haha. Even intention is not enough to say what is one and what is the other.

Even if the artist intended for his audience to appreciate the natural/physical beauty of a human, there's no telling how the audience will actually interpret the piece. Also, if like a higher governing body of art allows the piece to be called art, it's open to criticism by other artists who may or may not see the original intention of the artist.
mad-shrewd Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
I think the problem is that it tends to be a difference of intention. If you're intending the work for sexual stimulation, it's porn, it might be high quality, but it's porn.

Where things mostly get blurry are when somebody takes somebody elses work and decides to use it to get in the mood before getting jiggy. I'm not even sure how you would classify that as it's being used as porn, but it was probably produced for other reasons.
Paleosonic Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Porn can be art - I think its wrong to completely separate these two.
Zingam Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nope... Porn is Porn :) Art is Art even if it depicts a sexual intercourse of a group of animals. What is what is intuition.
Paleosonic Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Porn is anything that has the main intent of arousing the viewer - if this happens to also have artistic value, why should it not be porn and art at the same time?

(By the way, have you ever heard of Andy Warhols movie triology Flesh, Trash and Heat?)
Zingam Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No... I have never heard of that movie... I'll check it out.

Anyway I would say that your definition about arousal and porn does not make much sense :)

It's like a local joke we have:
How does the Englishman, the Frenchman and our local man arouse their wife during sex? The Englishman - with refined manners and play, the Frenchman with fine wines, and stuff... and the local guy says in a most profane dialect: "I wipe off my dick in the curtains and the wife gets really, really aroused!" ;)
Paleosonic Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
How do you define porn then?

Nice joke, by the way :D
mad-shrewd Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
I think typically people refer to that as erotica, but yeah really, this isn't an either or situation. I'm sure there's tons of images that could reasonably be placed into both categories depending upon ones perspective.
Capilair Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
By your definition, the stuff you produce could definitly pass as porn. your pretty much just posting photoshopped women in underwear and heels, in which i fail to see any aesthetic value in
Glori305 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
Completely a matter of opinion.

This one is an unwinable argument. There will be people out there that think your art is porn, simply because it involves nudity. There will be people out there that don't think his is porn, because there is no actual sex or penatration involved.

There is not a hard line where something crosses from art to porn, it is a matter of personal perspective.
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
To me there's a very simple definition; if the primary purpose of the image is to sexually arouse the viewer then it's porn, no matter how 'artistic' it tries to be. There are of course exceptions and grey areas, but it's a good general definer. 
bustermaximus Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
I have fought this battle many times on this forum. People don't understand that the term "pornography" is interchangeable with "artless". Instead, they believe it is interchangeable with "erotic". The thing is, porn doesn't have to be erotic. There are entire areas of pornography that really have nothing to do with sex-- for example, violence, humiliation, and degradation. These sorts of subjects also provide the sort of sharp and shallow thrill that pornography exists to engage.

I don't know if waving your hands in the air above your photos and breathlessly whispering, "mystery!" is enough to qualify your work as art. That's all a bit too Criss Angel for me. I do know that there is a litmus test out there which can be used to tell on which side of the line your work might fall. If the only consideration people are giving to the work in question is masturbatory, and any thoughts one might have about the imagery has left their head by the time they've washed their hands, then it is porn. Otherwise, you're probably safe in calling it a work of art. Mind you, it might not be very good art, but that's a different debate.
hiyoi Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
So as long as a girl keeps her legs shut, she's 'mysterious' and therefore any picture taken of her is not porn?
I mean you have some pics in your gallery with girls laying in bed sticking out their breasts(which are perfectly centered, by the way). That's not really much different from 'a girl laying on a bed with her legs spread, genitals first to the camera.'
I'm not saying your photos are porn, but like *fluffpuffgerbil said they seem pretty close to being one.

And no offense but you kinda sound like you have bit of an ego. 'One time he actually produced something worthy.' Worthy of what? Your approval? This guy can post whatever the fuck he wants as long as it doesn't violate the ToS. If you don't like his art you can always just move on and forget he ever existed instead of whining about how you think his art is shit.
Seriously, what you're doing is no different from other artists bitching about traced bases and Sonic recolors.

You may not think porn is art, and that's fine since art is subjective. But it still takes skill, imagination, and creativity to create (good) porn just like every other forms of art. Porn isn't just penises and vaginas.
AG-08 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012   Digital Artist
Art takes more effort and imagination to create, whether it's in video format or photography.

The definition of porn is "writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement" so if it wasn't designed for that purpose then it's not porn. Whether something is art is subjective, but for the most part photography is considered art.
fluffpuffgerbil Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Pornogrophy=images/videos with the purpose to provoke sexual arousal/lust.

Art(or artistic nudity in this case, or partial nudity)= showing the human body for the natural beauty it is, one of God's greatest creations. Pure, in it's most natural state, not used to provoke sexual arousal, dirty thoughts, or lust, but only to display it for what it is: A human body. Not a sex toy.

Even if in the porn, the people are not fully undressed, it can still be used to provoke sexual interest. =/ Just because the models are wearing a scrap of cloth it doesn't instantly make it art. I don't think what you're defining is art. I think it's porn that just lets people use their imagination more. I don't mean to sound offensive, but even taking a quick look through your gallery, most(not all) seem to be borderline, if not pornography in itself. You have a bit of the right idea, I mean, porn is not art. Art is not porn. It's porn. Who cares if it was drawn or painted or not.

I don't know how easy it is for others to follow or not, my mind works a certain way that makes it a little hard for me to convey what I'm trying to say in words or text.
Badgercheese1994 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Student General Artist
I prefer my intimate art to be more romantic based than sexual. That is all.
Add a Comment: