a guest Dec 21st, 2018 137 Never
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  1. A
  2. This series is making me doubt photography as an ethical media, at least regarding portraits.
  3. Portraits, and almost all oil paintings, are used to appeal to people's vanity.
  4. And although it doesn't make this point - even seemingly benign portraits are very unrealistic, and I'd say still appeal to vanity. The scene you see in a portrait is never what the scene really looks like. Except landscape-type portraits, but even many of them are pretty false.
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  6. B
  7. Yeah, not untrue. I think the degree and context of vanity is important though. Appreciating beauty is not wrong.
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  9. A
  10. That's the only justification I've had so far, the only response I can give to this series
  11. But I should say basically the same thing (previous comment), in a more appropriate way: portraiture is used to manipulate.
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  13. B
  14. Might only be one [justification], but it challenges the premise as a whole. Which is important. That is, is vanity to a constrained, disciplined degree really harmful? Does it really fit the mold of what we think of as the more damaging variety?
  15. The premise presupposes it is. But if you can challenge that, it may or may not crumble.
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  17. A
  18. I'm not saying that one point is insufficient, but ... it's odd.
  19. So, on the one hand - sure, beauty is good. On the other though, photography is used to represent something real. Yet, it's almost never real. We're appealing to people's desire for paradise, which doesn't exist. So, why not focus on beauty like we're pretending to do, and stick to abstract beauty - rather than photographs?
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  21. B
  22. It's a fair point.
  23. Rarely - ie, never - are we handed concrete answers. Thus why we have to give long hard thought from all angles to questions like these.  
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  25. A
  26. So, let's talk about nudes...
  27. There’s no clothing, which would be used to appeal to vanity (in various ways – including opulence) . However, now the models appeal to sexual desire. That's not necessarily wrong, appreciating beauty is good. But, nudes treat those people like objects - not like people, in most cases. More powerfully to note is our society's treatment of nudity: it's a way to get attention, to become ... valuable. It's not about the beauty (for the woman that's posing), it's about the power she acquires.
  28. Granted, some of it is indirect. She may not gain power through her portraits, but she gains confidence through knowing she has the ability to; she knows she's beautiful, after seeing herself this way.
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  30. B
  31. Yes, and I think that's why many women do it
  32. Perceived empowerment
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  34. A
  35. Is it bad? We might not condemn their motives, but what about condemning society for treating them that way? And if so, do we avoid nudes - to avoid furthering that concept?
  36. On the other hand, it's like saying an intelligent man shouldn't feel empowerment when he does well on tests. But, I think that would make drone-like.
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  38. B
  39. I think it [nudes] definitely can be a pitfall for some, but I don't think everyone has an issue separating that appreciation with treating others with humanity. So, it definitely exposes and agitates a weakness in some people, but unless there is more concrete harm stemming from it, I think the power of choice to do such is more important.
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  41. A
  42. So, how about this...
  43. How can we shoot portraits that have inherent value, not merely value that people are willing to pay because they want to satisfy their vanity?
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  45. B
  46. The grad photos, a lot of kids ones, etc. certainly fit that mold through and through.
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  48. A
  49. I don't see it that way. Feel free to challenge this: it's still an appeal to vanity. Graduation pictures are a way of telling the world: this is what I've achieved. Now, you have a good idea of what I can become!
  50. Thus, it's very similar to oil paintings which were used to appeal to vanity through telling the world: this is what I've already achieved. My most valuable possessions are on display.
  51. Pictures of children probably fit the category of inherent value, because it's the parents that view - for their own benefit, outside of the benefit gained through an outside audience.
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