Boxerzbed

Artistic Nudes of Beautiful Men

What is the Difference Between Art & Porn?

I’d like to begin a discussion with all of you by asking this question. What is the difference between art & porn?

This wonderful hobby affords me the opportunity to be surrounded by beautiful men, now almost on a daily basis.  Most of the guys that model for me are pretty new to all of this.  Some freeze in fear when the camera gets turned on them and the lights begin to flash.  Others embrace this new scenario and have a lot of fun with it.

Still, others realize that they’ve been secretly fantasizing about this for years.  Exhibitionists find this all to be not only exciting but stimulating. While many of the guys that model for me never get an erection, these few can’t get soft.  They’re just too turned on by the scene.  It’s not that they’re gay – or bisexual.  Most of my guys have been pretty straight! It’s the feeling of being completely exposed that get’s them into this fervor.

I don’t consider myself a pornographer.  I try to photograph the male form beautifully.  That’s just what I like to do.  Now, if I am – in fact – a pornographer, well so be it.  But, I think we decide what we are – and if the decision is mine and mine alone – I am simply a photographer that photographs the male body to the best of my abilities.

So, if the body that I’m photographing isn’t turned on by this, are the resulting photos art?  If it is turned on, are the photos porn?  Where is the fork in the road between art & porn?

Erections?

Masturbation?

Sex?

The images that have been classified by many as pornographic have changed alot over the years.  Harshly lit photos of a  pizza man showing up to service his horny customer have been replaced with beautifully lit and focused images of men and women in softer settings.  Videos have evolved from choppy dimly lit productions with “Baw bit ta baw baw” music in the background to beautiful soft and sensual HD scenes like this teaser from Fratmen

So has the entire Adult Entertainment Industry somehow bridged a gap between the two?

the definition of pornography:

sexually explicit material: films, magazines, writings, photographs, or other materials that are sexually explicit and intended to cause sexual arousal
the definition of Art:
the process of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions.
So, by definition all of this is porn and all of this is art, I guess.  I’ve got an armpit fetish (yeah, I’m admitting it right here) so, does that mean that this photo of Adam is also considered by some to be pornographic?
I guess we all define differently what we see.  If we’re asked, we can classify what is art and what is porn in our own minds and I would imagine that a lot of the opinions would be different.  So, can we try an experiment?  Are you game?

Scroll through the following 10 images and label them art or porn.  Easy?  Maybe not!

There are no “Undecided” or “Both” or “Neither” buttons because I’d really like to know – if you had to categorize these photos in one column or the other, how would you do it?

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Thanks!  How did your opinions stack up against others?  Please feel free to share your comments here.  I think this could be a great discussion and I’d love to see your opinion!

Much obliged, Box

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7 Comments

  1. Pornography is broadly defined as material that is intended to cause sexual excitement. As such, nude images of men can often be classified as porn, as such a response is typically evoked in the viewer. Art can be defined through a formal analysis of elements such as line, shape, volume, space, color, texture, rhythm, symmetry and so on. Sometimes male nudes fit the first definition but do not hold up under the scrutiny of the second, i.e., it’s just a photo of a naked man.

    Good production values are sometimes expected to suffice for art, but for me, there also needs to be something else present: a spark, a new way of looking at something, a creative leap. So I think photos 1, 7 and 9 above begin to approach the art category because they contain some compositional elements that make them stand out from the others, though all of the above photos could also technically be labeled as porn. I think people often have their own definitions of art and porn (say, that there needs to be erection, penetration or climax involved).

    It’s interesting to me how commercial photographs of male underwear models have blurred the distinction: beautifully shot images of gorgeous men with big bulges in full relief or hardons in wet underwear have now become fairly commonplace, which I think represents the merging of art and porn, at least from the dictionary definition perspective.

  2. Hi Don! Wow, we’ve got a pro in the midst – Excellent!
    I’ve always considered the lighting to play a large part in what I consider art, too. Perspective, balance, lighting, tone – they all play a part. But, I loved your quote:

    at some point you make images and don’t care what they are called because the images are always being run through the filter of some one else’s point of view.

    That’s absolutely true and I’m happy to have you here sharing your experiences!
    All the best,
    -Box

  3. Thanks Kevin! If you happen to locate the images you refer to in your post, would you let us know? It’d be nice to see examples of what you’re talking about. Glad that you enjoy the photos! Were Tyler’s alright? I’m with you.. the boy is beautiful.
    All the best,
    -Box

  4. Thanks Jill! I appreciate the input and the compliment..
    All the best,
    -Box

  5. As a photographer, I once had an exhibit called: Don Hanover Photography: naked and nude at the Boston Center for the Arts. The distinction seemed to be a line between art and porn to some degree because naked is often considered to be likely to be more stripped of clothing while there might be something on the body to add to the message while the nude is classically without clothing and not usually meant to arouse the viewer.

    Of course the distinctions fall apart.

    Someone once told me that the difference between art and pornography is the lighting which might be partly true.

    As a photographer for Mandate, Honcho, Playguy way back when, what I was up to was to make male nude images for entertainment. The images did not fit the porn category but they were meant to tease and titillate the viewer. Were they art? Not exactly. Were they porn? not exactly.

    Naturally some people think any male showing a penis hard or soft is porn. Frankly, at some point you make images and don’t care what they are called because the images are always being run through the filter of some one else’s point of view.

    One of the powers of photography is that I can put my images in someone else’s head. After that it’s up to them to use them for what ever they want to use them for… beauty, pleasure or both. I used to say that the photos in the magazine are only little dots of color which I’ve arranged on the page – the viewer brings them to live because they aren’t real.
    Now the pixels of light are the same on the web… they aren’t real either.

    Thanks for the chance to play with the question.
    Don

  6. It is an excellent topic.

    And I think you’re absolutely right when you say that it’s all art and all porn.

    I once considered actual penetration as porn. Until I saw an image of a couple (straight) in flagrante and it could only be described as a work of art.

    Then I thought that if bodily fluids are involved, then it’s got to be porn. Until I saw a gorgeous image of “Tom” at the precise moment of ejaculation. A stunning, jaw-dropping picture.

    I’m not sure if it can be defined, I just know it when I see it.

    Art truly is subjective. Having said that, don’t stop what you do. It’s beautiful, titillating, inspiring, and erotic and I, for one, love it.

  7. I love it.. Great topic Box!
    I guess that I always considered an erection porn. But when I see them here I guess I wasn’t sure which answer to choose. The dark photo at the top (your main photo – and in your set) is an erection and masturbatory – but it’s also beautifully lit and balanced with wonderful visual qualities. So, I guess it’s up to the viewer to figure it out for themselves.
    I love that you take the time in many of your photos to give consideration to lighting and balance – that’s the work of a true artist – no matter what your subject matter may be!

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