Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sexually expilcit photo?

I was sent an email the other day by a member of the Christian community. I don't remember who it was. Someone in the greater Triangle community that thought I might want to sign a petition. The topic of the petition intrigued me, so I simply clicked the embedded URL link and ended up on this site http://www.movethepicture.com/(the site is now down)

You can see from the site that this gentleman has one desire. He wants Abercrombie and Fitch to move a large advertising framed photo into the store where it cannot be seen. He tells his story here http://www.movethepicture.com/background.php(the site is now down)
This father sees this picture as a sexually explicit photo. I disagree, it may be provocative, but it is not sexually explicit. This father feels a need to protect his children, for that, I applaud him. I just don't know if he needs to protect his kids from this photo.

Let me have you do this. Click the picture of the head of Michelangelo's David at the top of this post.
What did you see?
Was it sexually explicit or was it art?
A certain number of you are going to see one of the greatest pieces of art as sexually explicit because it shows a naked body. A certain part of you are going to see the art created out of a giant piece of stone.

Did you notice that he hands are out of proportion?
They are larger than they should be, so is the head for that matter.
Do you know why?
The statue was originally going to be set high on a church. From that height, the hands and head would appear the correct size due to the angle of the view. That was the genius of Michelangelo and he created one of the most perfect sculptures ever carved.
Is it sexually explicit?
Just because it shows a naked human body does not make it sexually explicit, nor does it make the picture vulgar. It is a beautiful piece of artperiod

I know A&F is not attempting to produce great art, they are trying to sell over priced jeans and t-shirts. With that said, the photography and lighting of the shot and frame in store is dramatic. The art director should get a thumbs-up for a great display. Their advertising has been controversial for years, they could be trying to glorify a loose sexuality, but why would anyone be surprised by that. I cannot find anywhere that they claim to be a Christian company with a Christian worldview. For that reason, I do not expect them to have my view of art or advertising. I truly have no way of claiming A&F to be any less Godly than the concerned father, if it is based on advertising photos alone. The company could be crawling with Jesus people and regardless, they have illustrated the beauty of God's creation by some great photography. If you want to see what could be called sexually explicit photos in the mall, cruise down to the Victoria's Secret. There is a pic or two there that could be classified as soft porn by some. I am surprised that the several dozen folks who protested at the mall last Saturday, did not seem to be to bent out of shape by those photos. As the father of daughters, I am much more concerned about the devaluing of the female form by sexual ads. Even some of those are great photography for the art works sake.

I see no New Testament biblical mandate that requires a culture without Jesus to make me happy or comfortable. I do not think a godless culture should not offend me at times. I do not think Paul went around Athens decrying the naked statues that were all around the city. I do think he pointed folks to see and know the Jesus of the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He did this by entering their culture and speaking their language and yes, enjoying their art.

Our community of faith was meeting on Sunday morning. In the beginning of the "sermon", this controversy came up in conversation. I made a snap decision..."Let's all go to the mall and see what this mashup is all about." All of us piled in our cars and drove from Creedmoor to Raleigh. We looked at the photo and all came away saying the same thing....as usual many Christians just don't get it. The time, energy, money spent on this protest has not made the name of Jesus bigger at the mall. A&F is the same as it always was and our culture moves further away from knowing how great Jesus really is.

Check out a few more words on this matter:
Elder Larry
My daughter Katy


  1. I have to admit this is a tough one for me. I don't go to the mall to look at art of any variety. While I think the human body is beautiful and enjoy art that shows that ("masterpieces" or nice photography included), I don't really have that on my mind when shopping. If I'd seen that photo in an art gallery, I'd think it beautiful and appropriate. When I see it at the mall, I think it's beautiful and inappropriate. I think the Victoria's Secret adds are rarely as artistic or beautiful...mostly exploitive and also inappropriate for a family oriented shopping experience.

    The A&F photo is provocative. I can't help but speculate on what I'm not seeing. I've always thought that some clothes much sexier than no clothes. So I guess I'd prefer this not to be on display in my local mall....along with the Victoria's Secret ads. Maybe it's a bit hypocritical to add I'd like seeing this at a gallery, where I could stop and enjoy the view. ;-)

  2. For years and years I have said the greatest sadness would be to be on our knees at tribulation and having the person next to us turn and say.. " you told me not to have an abortion... you told me not to drink... you told me to take down pictures of half naked men..... but you never told me about Jesus..."

  3. Why am I 'Elder' Larry:) I have no such qualifications, just a fellow traveller who's learning that religion is not a relationship with the Father.

    What's important to me is that I was able to enjoy this art with my friends and didn't come away scarred for eternity. Envious maybe.

  4. It is pretty simple, if they call me Rev, you must have your own moniker...it could be deference to your age and experience;)