As I settled onto one of the wooden benches outside 401 Richmond's main entrance to have a smoke this afternoon, I spied a post-card - or so it seemed - balanced atop the convex cover of the garbage can by the front door. A sultry blonde stared off into the distance, thin shoulders bare, one enormous breast half-revealed but cut of by the photo's frame.
Curiosity (or prurience) had its way with me and I scooped it up. Admired the woman's image a little closer - lovely face, eyes in shadows, shoulders maybe a little too thin for good health.
"naked in the house 04" read the title below the image.
I flipped the card over.
On August 23rd of this year, apparently, had I the wit to discover the card two months' previously, I would have had the chance to pay $20 to see, "... twelve of this country's top pohotographers ... each [having] one camera, one lense, one roll of film and 1/2 an hour to photograph a nude model ..."
The display, apparently, was on for one night only.
I know that the nude as object - especially the female nude - has a history as art nearly as long as it does as smut.
I also know that "instant art" (to, possibly, coin a phrase) is all the rage these days. From poetry slams to 24-hour (or 30-day) novel-writing contests; from Canadian (or British, or American, or - who knows? - East Timorese!) "idols" chosen over the course of a half-season television episode twice-annually, like perrennials plucked from Darwin's garden, we are told that quality has nothing to do with craft. And never mind that yesterday's Idol is today's has-been, a tacky CD for one's children to find and mock, somewhere down the line.
But I digress.
A gallery is showing nudie-shots by a bunch of photographers, and asking 20 bucks from those of us willing to pay the price. Granted, I am far from an afficionado of this country's photo-scene - in fact, I wonder whether much, if not all of photography is a scam; is blowing two rolls of film for one decent shot the same as a half-dozen sketches in preparation for a painting?
But let's leave aside my suspicion that photography is less an art - or even a craft - than it is a piece of luck.
What has really piqued my curiosity is the selling of this show. Would-be-gallery-goer that I might be, would I be attending for the art, or for the naked lady, and my fantasies about what might have occured during the shoot?\
Big tit. Trite, far off gaze (so unlike that crass interweb porn with which we are all - I'm sure - far too familiar). A hint of sea and sky (though I suspect a generic backdrop, just out of focus enough for verisimilitude).
All crying out, "Look! A bodacious babe - nude! - and 12 'top photographers'!"
This isn't art, and it isn't tease. Though I didn't attend the show, I have little doubt the suggested orgy never occurred and that the photos that ensued are little better than the snapshots new lovers often take of one another after the heat of the moment.
Really, people: don't we have anything better to do with our time? (Yes, I am aware of the irony inherent in posting such a question on my journal.)