Monday, August 10, 2009

Inappropriate Content

I am signed up for a "History of Photography" class that starts in 2 weeks. I'm not really sure whether it will be helpful to me, or even interesting. But I do know one thing: the book is going to drive me mad.

I ordered it just on Tuesday, and it came on Friday (amazing!) I started flipping through it and it looks pretty dull. And then I started seeing photos of unclothed women. And 2 men. A few of them were blatantly sexual (1 involving a manipulation of an image of Marilyn Monroe).

Let me clarify. This is "History of Photography." Not "Art History." Not "Portraiture." And certainly not "Life Photography." My Art History class was full of "au naturel" paintings and sculptures. I knew that going into it. If this was a science class, I would have no problem with it, nor with an anthropology class.

I did not sign up for a class to learn about unclad human beings. I would not be nearly so offended if there were 1, maybe 2 images. Sure, I hear lately that the Playboy industry has had a big part in photography. That is not what I signed up for. But this textbook has 16 images with women and 9 with men (and I don't mean bare chested for the men), including 1 of a child, all exposed. Some are self portraits. I don't want to see it.

And what does not make sense to me about it is that none of the images are really that great. None of them are what appears to me to be a great work of photographic art. The majority of those shots are people standing in a cliched pose.

I am planning on writing and complaining. I don't know who to contact. The school? Definitely. But who after that?

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? I'm not sure I am willing to drop this class on moral grounds, because I do need the elective credit (It's a 300 level one) I hope I didn't step on too many toes =P