I’ve been working on a few things lately which are primarily or casually explicit. I suppose this comes as a sensible statement for one who makes a living as a pornographer. But, depending on who you ask, pornography is not ever and always explicit, and the explicit is not ever and always pornography. I’ve been excavating some layers of thought about explicitness and how we talk about it and how it affects us.
For some people, explicitness is the problem with pornography – I hear regular complaints from the folks who don’t want to ‘see everything’, who want some things left to the imagination, who are confronted in one way or another by the genital close-ups which grace your average RedTube video. And that’s rightly grounded. If our understanding of the explicit is shaped by our exposure to the gynecological approach taken by most mainstream sexual imagery, which is unsatisfying to a seemingly growing percentage of the porno-watching populace, it’s going to be difficult to create terms upon which the explicit can be freely enjoyed.
In some ways the explicit posits itself as truth. You can see everything with you very own eyes, so it must be the most true way of seeing it. There is no room for doubt. But explicitness as it’s commonly presented to us seems to me to be a bit of a half-truth, and the empty space can be filled by other ways of creating and seeing the explicit. Shining a light on something and moving closer to it are the methods by which we are taught to consider the explicit. In my very recent experience trying to experiment with explicitness (mmm hmm), I’ve just sort of tripped over some new ways of doing and seeing it.
Sometimes you don’t actually see something until you turn off the goddamned light. This is a basic principle of looking anyway – if you are accustomed to noticing looking you know this. But that’s generally abandoned when we’re creating something explicit. Maybe it’s one of those ‘forbidden’ things – because we’re generally not allowed to look at each other’s genitals we really clamor for those images when we have access to them, and we eat up as much of what we like about that image as possible. Gobble gobble, as fast as we can.
We all have our own things we like about the explicit and what I’ve noticed with my own work of late is that I can dissect all of the elements of the explicit that are pleasing to me and play with ways to present them in ‘explicit’ detail. Colour, size, shape – all of the things that compose the corporeal aesthetic – can be dealt with in ways that create emphasis but not obsession, that show you exactly what’s there without getting out the magnifying glass and the anatomical diagram. There is more lust over large, plump labia presented in silhouette than on any ‘this is a tour of my pussy’ micro-study.
I will re-visit explicitness here, and work on collecting some images that show you what I mean, and if/when the things I’ve discussed above are released into the wild I’ll tell you where to go looking. My own eye and head is ridden with contradictions about how I personally approach the explicit, and what I enjoy is not always consistent with they way I theorise about it – if it was I think my sexual consciousness would be much less interesting.