Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Case of the Penis and the Pope

This story you might have missed becasue it took place over seas but I had to write about it.

It seems that Pope Benedict XVI was to visit the predominantly Catholic Malta, and it seems that there is a statue that he would have passed that resembles a large penis.

In January 2006 sculptor Paul Vella Critien erected a statue "The Colonna Mediterranea", or Mediterranean Column. It was installed on a traffic circle at the entrance to the village of Luqa. He said the statue was of an ancient Egyptian symbol.

The sculpture, which mayor John Schembri described as "obscene" and "embarrassing", should be removed "as a sign of respect" for Pope Benedict XVI, he said.

Similar works by Critien have been erected in Germany, Italy and Australia. OK, sorry erected is the only good word to use and it is funny.

I do agree that the sculpture is in poor taste but to remove it becasue the Pope was visiting is also artistic censorship.

I think that the mayor wanted it removed not becasue the Pope might see it and get offended but becasue the reason for the Pope's visit was to set up a "response team" after the Maltese Catholic Church in 1999 had received allegations against 45 priests of pedophilia. So a large erect penis in the middle of town just wouldn't do.
You know the whole worshiping false idols thing is against the Catholic religion!

The Pope's visit was earlier this month but I haven't been able to find out if the statue was actually taken down. If you have the answer to this I'd love to know.

Too Much Cleavage for ABC

It has been a while since I posted on my blog, but lately there are too many things that I just have to comment on.

Let's start with ABC refusing to air Lane Bryant’s commercial becasue it shows too much cleavage. Lane Bryant wanted this ad to run during "Dancing with the Stars", but ABC, a Disney owned company said no.
A source said, ""The cleavage of the plus-size models, they said, was excessive, and we don't think that's the case. It certainly appears to be discrimination against full-sized women."
In a statement ABC stated, “Their statements are not true, the ad was accepted. Lane Bryant was treated absolutely no differently than any advertiser for the same product. We were willing to accommodate them, but they chose to seek publicity instead."
So right now it's a he said she said right? Well not really. Have you seen the outfits the dancers wear on "Dancing with the Stars"? They show more cleavage and bare chested men than any hot drama on TV. And what about the Victoria Secret ads they run. Just becasue they choose to use skinny, bony models doesn't make their ads any less sexy.

Lane Bryant chose a very attractive, full figured model, Ashley Graham, to advertise their new line of lingerie to full figured women. The ad was sexy, eye catching and also cute and tasteful. Meanwhile ABC will run Victoria Secret ads and their so called fashion show during prime time or any other time.

It does seem that ABC has a problem with healthy looking women.

While watching a really awful TV program, "The Insider" (only the last 10 minutes I was waiting for NCIS), they interview Kathy Lee Gifford who said the ad was in poor taste becasue of the message it sends to women? This comes from he woman who is not only so skinny her neck bones are a weapon but who has also had some cosmetic work done. Oh and by the way for a time she was employed by Disney. Bad message, look in the mirror Kathy Lee.

I do believe we live in a country where obesity is out of control and children need to eat right and need good role models. An attractive, full figured model who is not obese, who is healthy and happy, Is a positive roll model for women. Much more than Kathy Lee or the anorexic Victoria Secret models.
A woman who is a size 16 is a regular size, why do we consider this too big? The key to the size issue is healthy, there is a weight high and low, that a person just isn't healthy and that should be the ideals we teach to our children.

Click here to view the Lane Bryant commercial

After viewing the commercial, what are your views?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Film is not dead...really

When I decided to produce my next exhibition without the use of my digital camera systems I didn't think much of it. I knew it would be more work, cleaning up my darkroom,buying new chemicals and paper and buying more film.
Film is kind of like record albums, we remember what it is and how good the quality was but CDs and downloads are much easier.

The quality and the characteristic of film and real silver paper is unmatched by digital technology. The subtle tonality I can get with film is so beautiful especially with skin tones. So when the offer of another show came up I jumped at the chance to shoot it on film, go back to my roots.

Then came the process of buying my supplies. Kodak just discontinued the film I liked to use even though they have a wonderful film still available it is in shorter rolls so that just means more money in processing and chemicals.
Then there is the chemicals. There is a wonderful camera store in NYC that has what I need but they can't ship it since 9/11. Not sure why, didn't know terrorist were making bombs out of photography developer. And then there is the photo paper, for once the paper I use is still being made. Maybe becasue they are not a US company but I can still get what I need.

So what does someone who wants to be true to his art do? I mean, there is no question that film and silver paper printing is superior to digital so why hasn't some niche company kept up with film production? Why has Kodak basically abandoned the artist?

And one more interesting fact, I am going to have to teach the models actually how to hold a pose. You see film is a bit slower, I can't bang off 20 to 30 shots in a row and catch the model as she moves around. I am actually going to have to pose the and teach them how to work with a film camera. The pace is slower and much more deliberate. In a 90 minute shoot I used to take 300 digital images, now I'll probably shoot 30 to 40 shots.

As my wife has told me, this is what I used to do so why should it be so difficult, right?

So we shall see what transpires. I am excited and slightly stressed and I hope come August 14th there are actually prints on the gallery wall.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My View on Religion

Before I get on my soap box I need to preface this post.
I want to thank all who sent me their the well wishes and prayer about my wife's battle with cancer.I appreciate all the kind words I received from everyone who has contacted me on Facebook and other social networking sites.
I do not wish to offend my friends and those who really know me will understand my thoughts.

As a child I grew up in an Italian-American household. Roman Catholic icons were all over my grandparents house. I went to Catholic school for 9 years and did my duty as an altar boy. Needless to say, religion was a big part of family life.
First Holy Communion.
Church on Sunday.
No meat on Friday.
No goodies during Lent.
These were the rules that were going to get me into heaven. I got married in a Catholic church, teaching love, honor, till death do us, etc. But then it happened, I got divorced. A Roman Catholic doesn't get divorced, it's a sin. I'll go to hell.

No wait, all I have to do is go to confession and it's all better, and even though my ex and I had a child she got the marriage annulled. Neat trick.

After a few years I tried the church again. I went to church with a very devout Catholic girl. During the mass, the priest stood in front of the congregation holding a blow-up sheep trying to talk about something or other. I sat there thinking, "What the fuck is the priest talking about?, this is religious enlightenment?"

After many years of pondering religion in my life, trying to get something out of a church service, I have come to realize that organized religion is like a crutch. It helps you when you need it, and when everything is ok, you can discard it. In recent years the talk of God has flooded the media. People killing in the name of religion, saying it is "God's will". A young child is struck down by a stray bullet from some crack dealer's gun, and they say, "God works in mysterious ways". Now a Christian militia is trying to gun down police officers becasue they don't agree with our government and want to start their own based on the 10 commandments. Maybe they forgot to read the one Thou shalt not kill.

Recently my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and I am supposed to believe that an all loving God would create such a nasty disease. Or that now since she has had surgery and is recovering it's becasue of God? NO, it's becasue of medical science that she is recovering. Cancer is just a diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. And our goal has been to find the best team of medical doctors to help us fight and win the battle. Science, plan and simple.

So now, here is my belief; Life is what you make it, not what some spiritual deity has destined it to become. You set your course and you determine the outcome. It's not pre-planned, it's not fate. Like the T-shirt says "Shit happens".

Sometimes the shit is good, other times it fucking sucks. But what you make of it defines you as a person. So live life to the fullest, enjoy every minute and love, laugh and be kind to those around you. Not becasue you'll go to heaven but becasue it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

As many of you know there are two things that I will constantly fight for and talk about, censorship and sexual freedom. I have done some things for these rights but really not much, until now.

Recently I have joined the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom as a coalition partner. They are a not for profit group who fights for equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternate relationships.

From their website:
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom was founded in 1997 to protect freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults. NCSF works through media advocacy, outreach, legal initiatives and educational efforts through our Educational Outreach Project to promote understanding of the SM, swing and polyamory communities.

There are lots of great projects NCSF is working on:

1. NCSF filed a lawsuit against the Federal government to overturn the obscenity provisions of the Communications Decency Act. NCSF is working to be sure that educational and personal SM-Leather-Fetish, swing and poly websites don’t get closed down.

2. NCSF helps people when they've lost their job or child custody because of sexual expression. Thousands of people have called NCSF for help because of discrimination or persecution.

3. NCSF educates the media when events and groups are attacked by religious political extremists, supporting SM, fetish, swing and poly practices so that our community spaces are safe.

This is a group who is speaking up for people whose lifestyle may not be "main stream" but in no way should be discriminated against.
As a photographic artist whose primary subject is fetish and fantasy, I see that this group can only help the acceptance of my work. I feel it is my duty to put my money where my mouth is and stand up and support the cause, and you should too.

NCSF has lots of helpful information on the

Go there and see all the work they are doing with media outreach, incident response, and proactive initiatives on sexual issues.

I will be promoting NCSF on my own website, at appearances and also at my next exhibition on August 14th at the Art House Lounge in Harrisburg, PA