On tuesday the 2nd of April I drove half way across the country to meet erotic photographer China Hamilton. Below is an image of China Hamilton.
After spending six and a half hours with him chatting about erotic photography in general, I had written a great deal of notes about the subject matter and the many historical links and issues that surround this type of imagery not to mention the strong links to pornography that erotic imagery holds. Here are my notes below –
- Look at 19th century photographer – Vensental Galdi
- The techniques that old fashioned photographers used to produce imagery led to exceptional quality – sunlight cotact print exposures were very long 5/10 minutes.
- Good prints should be made using 3/5 minutes
- stand and actually look at the subject – this is a detached view !!
- China’s little chop (the authentic stamp that he uses on all of his works) is in mandarin and has a poetic meaning.
- All perception is a very personal thing!
- It is in the art of producing processes that make your prints original and authentic.
- A bulls pisle is a type of whip which is made out of a bulls penis.It is very rare and can be found as a flagellation tool.
- The suppressed world has changed a lot. – This is something to bear in mind when making your images. SUPPRESSION is key to helping me uncover where the line lies between porn and erotica.
- Erotica history was born out of the pleasure/pain correlation, and this can be widely acknowledged through out history. > Sexual Cruelty.
- Religion holds a strong historical and present place within erotica. Sexual cruelty is known to have been evident within many religious groups. Catholicism holds a nasty historical link between cruelty and sex.
- BDSM plays at this ^ but in a safe and consensual way.
- Pornography is evident through out history and as early as cave paintings.
- The innocence of nudity with children has become forbidden > this has been destroyed – the beauty has been lost.
- Coveting – covert > The dominant wants to own it, posses it and this is a very powerful motivation for people.
- Torture and grim things have always fascinated people, as human beings (an inquisitive mammal) we are drawn to these type of things.
- The rarest erotic photographers are the ones that can place a subject into an extremely explicit position with out making it seem genealogical.
- A woman should often view herself in this way ^ a balanced image of this works and it portrays beauty & sensitivity.
- Art is a complicated thing, you must produce something that gets to people, that effects them emotionally and shocks them.
- Seeing some of this work may change some of the viewers life’s/opinions on the media. It may liberate them, allowing them to bring out their own sexuality and fantasies> thus finding themselves.
- To record a fasciae of someones sexuality = repotarge.
- To translate a sexual fantasy into reality – a fear of fantasy causes people to be aggressive > this is when people are terrified of their own sexuality.
- If a person gets angry about it, it’s because it is string something in their Lyons that they are terrified by – so many taboos in society.
- Just as pain & please come hand in had with each other so does fear & anger.
- Sex and the city shows this well in a scene where the women are talking about looking at their own genitals with a mirror and one of the women is horrified by this > therefor she fears her own sexuality – THIS IS A KEY CONCEPT.
- What one person sees as beautiful, sensual, erotic another person sees as positively grim.
- EROTIC ART EXPLORES THINGS THAT ARE TABOO ! – through imagery, written words, moving image, paintings, drawings and many more.
The image below encapsulates one of China H many intriguing scluptures.
When asking China about his opinions surrounding feminism, equality and the female form in general his opinions were clear:-
- Women are wonderful – strong independent woman.
- Women are superior to men. Everything begins it’s life as female this makes the female sex more powerful and intern gives the male sex more insecurities.
- Women should be women and men should be men. Equality is stupidity.
- In old England woman knew their place, yet they wanted to be in their place.
- Envy and greed in society comes into feminism theory.
- Literature leads to knowledge.
- A lot of people have an incredibly blinkered view on life. Humans have a great weakness of tunnel vision > this is risk awareness.
The image above is another one of China H sculptures, with an unknown image as it’s backdrop.
Personally I feel that the both the image and small figurine define each other well.
China Hamilton’s definitions –
- Pornography – stimulates the genitals (graphic).
- Erotica – stimulates the mind (artistic).
Erotica is an intellectual stimulation.
– Both pornography and erotica link to peoples sexual fantasies :-
- Intellectually sophisticated fantasies = erotic > as it requires the mind to produce the ‘material’ – KEY it is not just visual.
- violent hevily agressive fantasies (basic sex) = pornographic > as it is a crude ‘visual’ sexual act.
It is a very complex well of interaction between porn and erotica, and it is the visual memoirs of sexual fantasies that define porn & erotica.
China Hamiltons – Five Top Tips For Aspiring Erotic Photographers
- Define what it is the person is doing. Erotic world – mutual honesty and re-pore with you’re subject and the photographer.
- Have to know what it is you are trying to do and it has to be original/a new angle for you’re self.
- Don’t fall in love with you’re own work. You have to look at you’re own work with a dispassionate & critical eye, don’t accept any slip up’s.
- MUST dot the eyes and cross the T’s.
- Constantly delve into literature to learn more each day.
The image above is one of China H many interesting book shelves.