Paul Smith, “This Is Not Pornography”

Considering manipulating the human body and my subject matter of pornography I revisited Paul Smiths’ series, “This Is Not Pornography”.  I think the title is useful in showing that nudity and images with taboo connotations do not necessarily make something sexually appealing or pornographic.

Smiths’ images within this series are quite absurd consisting of pornographic gestures such as the image of Smith joined to a woman lying in a bath, both of them looking as if they are experiencing sexual ecstasy, addressing themes such as masturbation. The series also questions society’s preconceived ideas of what masculinity and feminity is. When you look through the images, there is a restless contrast between Smith being feminine and masculine. The images show the same male (himself) and female body in different distortions, creating some visually bizarre and quite comedic imagery. Despite their comedic value the images also address major issues such as gender and sexuality.

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Considering the contrast between masculinity and feminity within the images, here are two which show such a contrast.  In this image Smith is topless but has breasts, holding one breast and extending his tongue in an effort to lick it. This image is evident in many pornographic images of women, licking and playing with their breasts.  In contrast this image shows Smith, sitting in a chair legs wide open revealing a females genitalia. Smith is sat in front of a James Bond poster, wearing a clearly fake moustache, emphasising the contrast between the feminity and masculinity within the image.

After looking at Paul Smiths photographs, I may manipulate some of my images in a similar way to those in “This Is Not Pornography” creating distorted images of the male and female body, highlighting their differences.

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