Research Project Proposal


– Amber Nicholls

Title of Research Project :

– How have ‘Power Relationships’ within erotic photography developed over time from the 1950’s through to the current era?

Mode Of Presentation Selected :

– Symposium Presentation

Description Of Subject To Be Investigated :

– This research project will examine the subtle way that power relationships became more evident In the early 1950’s through to the current 20’th century.

– This research project emerges from previous conversations and gallery visits, where I have been looking into how pornographic imagery has challenged and enhanced artistic photography,  within the time span stated above. It Is from this previous research that I have sculpted the current title from.

– Wider issues that I am going to research deeper into, relate to how viewers of erotic images may already have a relationship with these type of images, this directly reflects upon my main research question and in my view will also help me to come to periodic conclusions, leading up to my main conclusion of the overall research project, with the use of previous debates, arguments and news stories that are continuously being broadcast about pornography and erotic images in themselves.

Sources To Be Utilised :

– Books

* Art/Porn, A History of seeing and touching. – With three specific chapters that I am interested in :-
1) Photographing the Nude in the Nineteenth Century.
2) Photography, Fetish, Voyeur: Pornography before the Internet.
3) Hard-Core Art: Internet Porn and “new” Media.

* Female Sexualization, A Collective Work of Memory – With two chaters that I am interested in :-
1) Constructions of the Domain: Sexuality and Power.
2) Constructions of the Domain: Women and Bodies.

* Essays on Contemporary Photography, The Critical Image – With one chapter that I am interested in : –
1) The Pleasures of Looking: The Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography versus Visual Images.

– With regards to the interview material, once I have gathered all of the material together I intend to edit several clips from the best interviews, and slot them into the presentation, at key moments to help reiterate the point that I would have just made.

– I am also currently trying to get hold of one of the producers or presenters that were or are still are involved in the TV show called Sexcetra, as I feel that this would reveal an interesting opinion on how power relationships are depicted throughout the sex industry along with erotic photography.

Methods to be used in Acquisition of Sources:

– After researching various different photographers, curators, gallery workers via the internet, books and a string of less well known photography magazines/journals, it is evident that it has become very easy to make contact with people that you would want to interview or even query.

– I have been using email, comments on website pages and the vast amount of social networking sites online to make contact with the people that I have wanted to gather first hand information from with regards to how they perceive power relationships within erotic photography, and much more in-depth information surrounding this topic.

– I intend to curate the information that I will gather from the people that I interview and minimally edit it, so that I can depict a clear representation from the interviewees perspective thus allowing me to deliver a clear representation of the person’s views on this chosen subject point.

– I am going to include a wider range of library based research as I have currently only found three truly relevant theory based chapters in books of my own that I have brought for this research presentation. I feel that there Is still some more book hunting to be done, and that this could lead to a true gem of information.

– The difficulties that I have already encountered have been hugely over ruled by the never ending challenge of people not having enough time to be interviewed, even over skype, along with many emails that I have already sent just being ignored. Further more it has become increasingly noticeable that many people are not confident about their opinions surrounding this topic therefore they do not talk honestly about their view on the main topic, and this has already created a few issues for me.

Methods/Forms Of Interpretation/Analysis To Be Used With The Information And Sources:

– After gathering information from the interviews that I do I am going to analyse the answers and place them into different categories, depending on how the person being interviewed answered questions that I am going to ask them and on how the conversational interview developed.

– From these categories I will be able to cipher out the strongest answers that people gave me and the regularity with which the conversation flowed into. At this point I will have a great amount of primary research that I can place throughout my project, helping me to build up to my own conclusion from which I have drawn from the experience of gathering all of this data.

– After looking at the Information from both my research and the interviews that I have gathered I will then pick out any recurring correlations within the data to help me decide between information that is a true reflection of the main subject that I am looking into.

Plan/ Schedule Of Work :

An overview of the 5 stages –

Stage 1) By the 18/11/12 I intend to have at least two interviews planned and to have a set date. One being with Feliz Paloma Gonzalez ( via skype, most likely). The Other  being with Lars Schwander and Lisa Fetissova who together curated one of the steamiest exhibitions titled The Object Of (Sex and) Desire.

Whilst trying to finalise these interviews I will also be continuing research into all of the photographers who exhibited in, The Object of (Sex and) Desire exhibition, along with continuing any other paths that my current research will take me down.

Stage 2) By the 2/12/12 I intend to have all of my primary research in terms of any outstanding interviews completed and to have selectively edited them. At this point I will also have a clearly outlined presentation plan which I will talk about In a tutorial to see If the main backbone of the presentation can not be improved any further.

Stage 3) By the 16/12/12 I intend to begin to gather ALL of my research that relates to my presentation and its plan and slot relevant parts of information into the framework of the presentation, thus gradually building the whole research presentation together.

Stage 4)  By the 13/1/13 I intend to have the WHOLE research presentation written up, so that I can begin the presenting preparation stage, how I am going to deliver my presentation through speech, and background powerpoint.

Stage 5) By the 27/1/13 Tie up any loose ends within the presentation, continue practicing it.

– Throughout these stages, I am also aiming to have a tutorial a week, with Paul Smith and nay extra tutorials with other lecturers to constantly push the improvement of the presentation.


Books –

1) Essays on contemporary Photography: The Critical Image, edited by Carol Squires.

2) Female Sexualization: A Collective Work Of Memory, Frigga Haug et al. Translated by Erica Carter.

3) Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching. By Kelly Dennis.

Internet, websites –







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Filed under 3rd Year, Working with Photography in Context - Symposium

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