A Review of the Online Social Forum – The Place of Pornography

Below is the link to the online document and more importantly the forum that was very intresting to read –


My notes –

  • From what I have read O understand this online forum to biased around the main question of, ‘What is the place of pornography?’. This is further surrounded my these sub questions :-

– Why is it so often grim and violent?

– what, if anything should we do about it?

– What purpose does it serve?

– Why is there so much of it?

– What is the nature of the product?

– should we pass laws to regulate it?

– If so what sort of laws?


  •  Harpers brought together social critics, civil libertarians, feminists and a pornographer to discuss the place of pornography.
  • It particularly interested me as to how the editor of Harper’s (Lewis H. Lapham) selected only one pornographer to take part in the debate.

Al Goldstein – The only Pornographer – Notes 

  • “But whatever pornography is, I am convinced it serves a useful purpose”.
  • “Pornography aims for the groin; its function is to turn us on”.
  • “Celebrate sexual pleasure and sexual abandon”.
  • “I find it repugnant when some women argue that a penis is an instrument of assault and rape, that a woman must always be victims in sexual relations”. I find this quote interesting  due to the fact that it has come from  a pornographer, clearly he would have this opinion due to the fact that feminists, although they have a very heavy view on the male with regards to sex, are  often right in terms of assault and rape due to it being easier for the male to dominate a woman and rape her. However it must be remembered that they are not ALWAYS victims in sexual encounters as some women get a high out of having sexual intercourse etc from the same format of being assaulted/raped. I feel that this must be remembered ! A key example is the new BDSM culture. 
  • “Pornography helps us to free ourselves from the puritanical attitudes about sex that have long dominated our society”.
  • “Pornography and fantasy are closely related – pornography helps us to fantasize: to look at a woman and strip he, to look at a man and strip him”. This is where erotic photography and pornography cross over, erotic photography aids peoples fantasies via the titillation aspect. Where as pornography is in you’re face, for the consumerism within the image. 
  • “I do not consider publishing photographs of nude women exploitation, but a celebration of their bodies”.
  • “Once, pornography was acceptable only if it was sold in fancy, expensive editions that claimed to be ‘erotic art'”.  This is a really key quote, as it links in well with my project. However I do feel that both Igor Amelkovich and Helmut Newton’s works can be seen from different perspectives, they are classed as erotic photography however hold similar aspects of pornography. 

Having read this forum there is defiantly some very interesting points of view. However I  have decided that they are not all totally relevant to my research project.

These next two quotes are directly influenced by Helmut Newton –

  • “This quote is taken from Aryeh Neier who is a former national executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, “Consider Helmut Newton’s photographs: they treat women as objects, they are violent, they are sexually explicit. Yet they reflect a certain level of talent, more talent, certainly, than is on display in the pornographic magazines one can buy at newstands. And so Helmut Newton’s photographs are called erotica instead of pornography”.
  • Feminist Brown Miller replied, “I find Helmut Newton’s photographs quite offensive, and I think they are part of the fallout from pornograph. Vogue’s fascination with S/M derives from its popularization in hard-core porn”.

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

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