This week’s Photoboxing theme is “Taboo” and the very word alone brings about so many creative ideas. What’s challenging is that so many things once considered taboo are now commonplace — tattoos, piercings, hair coloring and drag to name a few. I think the challenge would be to capture that same feeling of shock that once accompanied a photo of something taboo.
Here are some inspirational photos and links to help get you motivated:
What would it look like to have your physical and mental scars in full view to the world? Maybe it would look something like these face drawings by artist Pinpin Co. Working closely with her subjects, she often spends over 5 hours drawing intricately on their faces and striving to bring out the deeper aspects of their inner and outer landscapes. The results of her work, created with a fine 0.38mm gel ink pen, are often beautiful and sometimes a bit disturbing.
How interesting is it, for example, that many of the women look completely at home in their male counterparts clothing, while the men often look ridiculous by societies standards? One could conclude that while we have come a long way in accepting many forms of stylistic expression from woman, men often have much stricter social norms to follow when it comes to fashion.
(above photo is the artist covered in his wife’s menstrual blood)
Many of Serrano’s pictures involve bodily fluids in some way—depicting, for example, blood (sometimes menstrual blood), semen (for example, “Blood and Semen II” (1990)) or human female milk. Within this series are a number of works in which objects are submerged in bodily fluids. Most famous of these is “Piss Christ” (1987), a photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist’s own urine. This caused great controversy when first exhibited. The work was sold for $162,000 in December 1999 in London, which was far beyond the estimated $20,000 – $30,000. Serrano, alongside other artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe, became a figure whom Senator Jesse Helms, and Senator Alphonse D’Amato, as well as other cultural conservatives, attacked for producing offensive art while others, including The New York Times, defended him in the name of artistic freedom. (See the American “culture wars” of the 1990s).
“A YouTube video of a chainsmoking Indonesian toddler inspired me to create this series, “Smoking Kids”. The video highlighted the cultural differences between the east and west, and questioned notions of smoking being a mainly adult activity. Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to isolate the viewer’s focus upon the issue of smoking itself. I felt that children smoking would have a surreal impact upon the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing the act.”
- Photoboxing! (supercheyne.wordpress.com)