Feb 042013
 

So the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, opposes gay marriage?

That’s fine…The Bible is the word of God and Leviticus 18:22 states that homosexuality is an abomination and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. No more argument needed… I’m sorry that I argued ‘for’ gay marriage and tolerance for homosexuality when I was at Alpha meetings and suffering a crisis of faith.

However, I’m going to write a letter to Justin and ask him for answers to the following questions I’ve also worried over recently:

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my new neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter Faye into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what does he think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking a few, but most women take offense.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to the French, but not to Germans. Can Justin clarify? Why can’t I own a German?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath.. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can Justin settle this?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that as I grow older and perhaps due to my diabetes I now wear reading glasses. Does my vision really have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, (I’m actually a skinhead!), even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? Should I kill myself too?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? I also enjoy pork scratchings with a pint. I’m guessing this is a double sin?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I’m sure he’s researched these things extensively, so I am confident he can help. I’m going to also thank him again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging…


Sep 012010
 

Right now I have no idea where or what I should be doing. I feel I’m in that burned out place once more, I don’t want sympathy, I don’t deserve it, I have made the bed I lay in:

I’m numb, I’m angry, I’m angsty, I’m confused, I’m short tempered, I’m looking for something I can’t find, I’m down with a few of my so called friends that promise to call or visit but don’t, I’m searching for inspiration, I need a studio, I need work, I can’t decide whether shock value is relevant any more, I can’t decide whether glamour is relevant any more, I want to see and do but can’t, I want to move on with the business but feel like I’m swimming in tar, I want to increase my meds but the doctor says I’m on the maximum dose without seeking the advice of a psychiatrist which he won’t do until I start counselling again, what I thought I knew I don’t, things are positive, things are bleak, there is good, there is bad, I can’t help comparing past and present, I hate the past, thoughts of self harming have come back, I’ve found in my dad a man I like and it’s confused me, I want Faye here, I see my past in Jo, I don’t want to, I have violent outbursts, I am laid back, I bury my head in the sand, I see too much, I love living by the sea, I want to make more of it, ultimately I think I’ll fail, I can’t give up trying, trust no-one, accept people for who they are warts and all, I’m positive, I lack motivation, my website gets over a 100K hits a month, my website generates no income, I accept me for who I am but I wish I were different.

I have 6 local girls I can shoot right now but I lack inspiration. I actually want to shoot Hollie but she’s incommunicado right now. I can’t offer the 6 anything when I feel I’m just going through the motions. Unlike my London apartment, although much bigger, my Cornwall house is set out differently and doesn’t make for good studio space. To do these girls and my own work justice I need to be able to set out my lights properly.

Maybe I need to get back to Church? But…

Part of the Church work is definitely the shock value, though in our time, the beginning of the 21st century, shock is hard to come by. The only people shocked by what I do are the devout. Most people are desensitised to shock, to religion, to horror. I questioned what shock is and how far I need to go to shock and I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that unless I find what I’m doing obscene myself I doubt I’ll shock many others. I don’t want to push myself that far.

We live in a world where car crashes are entertainment… How can I compete with that? Death is entertainment… How can I compete with that. Humanity is desensitised. Look at the horror and macabre gallery  on deviantART, people find the work beautiful. Tanya, the gallery moderator, does a great job every month showing us the best of the best of blood soaked photographs; people sucking on razor blades, syringes hanging from drug riddled skanks, hangings, mutilations, fake dead bodies washed up on the shore of life. I myself have dipped my toe in these waters. To really shock I need to immerse myself and take to swimming in these waters.

Twenty five years ago, in 1983/4, the British Board of Film Classification decided that video tapes needed to have the same age classifications that film had. Video at the time was a free for all without censorship. Overnight, what became known as the video nasty act was made law and a whole bunch of films became illegal to own or rent. I made a mint, a really pretty penny selling these films as pirate copies. I was already selling pirate porn, a few horror movies added to the mix couldn’t hurt.

People that had never even heard of Last House on the Left, Driller Killer, I Spit on your Grave and Faces of Death suddenly wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It was a media frenzy; watch Zombie Flesh Eaters and Cannibal Holocaust the tabloids stated and you’ll all become serial killers. We must be protected, we mustn’t have free will and the right to decide on our own what is good or bad for us. The now protected masses, probably unaware beforehand that these films even existed were now unable to make up their own minds unless they came to me, or people like me. We pirate film dealers had a captive audience.

The average person becomes immune to stimuli rather quickly. If I take myself as an example; selling porn. I became bored of it almost instantly. I had banks of video duplication machines running day and night. I watched a lot of what I sold not for titillation but to make sure what I was selling was of good enough quality for my customers to keep coming back for more. To this day I cannot sit down and watch a porn movie. As I’ve said before on other pages; whatever way you swing it, whatever way you film it, whatever the combinations of sexes and numbers it all comes down to fucking and sucking. It is only; fucking and sucking.

I am completely desensitised to it. However pretty the cast, whether male/female, female/female, male/male… Whatever hole is being filled with whatever body part or kitchen utensil it bores me. Who then needs the stimuli? The young and inexperienced? Curiosity is part of humanities make up. The highly sexed and those lacking the ability to get sexual partners? It caters to a need.

Once one becomes desensitised to normal (ish) sex where does one turn to for kicks? Animal Farm? There was always a call for Animal Farm. I refused to deal in it. I could never decide whether the people that asked for it were genuinely turned on by the idea or whether there was a car crash mentality surrounding it. The same with Scat and Watersports. What in fact had happened was that I had become the censor myself. I couldn’t understand how people could get turned on by defecating on one another so refused to give people the opportunity. To be completely honest, it didn’t bother me but I didn’t like it either.

Then I discovered the Japanese porn market. As with all things, the Japanese had turned porn into an art. While watching a drugged Danish girl get fucked by a pig or a Great Dane left me cold, watching a Japanese girl trying to stuff a bucket load of baby eels up her vagina amused me in some odd way. While the Danish girls always looked forced, drugged or coerced into what they did on the farm the Japanese girls seemed willing in some way. While just as perverse, the Japanese films were so out there they almost seemed like parody. They seemed comedic in some way. Perhaps eels are funnier than dogs? Perhaps because the eels were unwitting participants and the pigs and dogs seemed only too willing? Perhaps the absurdity of watching a bucket full of eels escaping all over the set was more like Benny Hill and National Lampoon than Hostel?

Oh those crazy Japanese… Not content with eels, anything with tentacles became game. Anything from the sea in fact. You have to love the twisted morality… While it was illegal to show pubic hair and the genital area was more often than not blurred out or covered with a mosaic it was alright to fill a vagina with live fish.

What we in the West made sordid, the East made art. While bondage in the West during the 70s and early 80s comprised mainly of badly printed booklets showing men in inflatable rubber suits and hoods or Wellington boots and rubber Macs the east had Shibari; Bondage as an art form. While in the West we were training German Shepherds to fuck drugged women wearing dayglo wigs and overly large sunglasses to hide their identities the Japanese had Wakamezake and Nyotaimori. While in the West, forced sex films tried their hardest to be as brutal as possible; where rape was taken almost to the level of snuff and made to seem as unpleasant as it would be in real life the Japanese take on this was Chikan; rubbing of the genitals on unsuspecting teens on the subway and the odd crafty boob grab.

To this day, one of the funniest things I have ever seen though in no way sexually arousing is a video of two Japanese girls indulging in emetophilia or Roman Showers. The thing that amuses me most about this short clip is the humour… Neither girl seems forced, in fact the girl actually vomiting seems to be enjoying herself no end and giggles helplessly all the way through.

So back to the story; questioning my own need to shock through photography and feeling completely numb and uninspired I went on a soul searching mission to uncover my motives and find something to nudge me back into a world where I felt something. I wanted to be horrified. I wanted to be shocked. I wanted to feel revulsion. Fuck, I just wanted to feel. Something, anything, other than the stress and anger I have been feeling. Sickened to the pit of my stomach has got to be better than nothing right?

I started in the past…

What was considered vile enough to ban in 1984 is now freely available at any good video store. Zombie Flesh Eaters is now branded ‘UNCUT’ and ‘REMASTERED’ you can now experience it in the comfort of your own living room in 5:1 surround sound and HD video. We who now watch real war on prime time TV in HD widescreen can also watch the beauty of Rape and Revenge that is I Spit on your Grave. Better than that… Why watch the originals of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House on the Left when we can watch the bloodier, more violent remakes? There seems to be a fashion right now… Take a classic horror from the 80s and bring it up to date for the desensitised. Which is the better film? Carpenters Halloween or Rob Zombies Halloween?

I started in the past; over the past few weeks I’ve watched; Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Last House on the Left and Nightmares in a Damaged Brain. I enjoyed them as much as I did in the 80s.

What the general public never knew was that while the media pounced on the horror blockbusters, if they can be called that, was that there was an underground movement producing art house movies far more shocking. From Japan came the Guinea Pig series… Flowers of Flesh and Blood, The Devils Experiment and He Never Dies. While Faces of Death was reviled few people knew the Mondo genre had spawned far more shocking films like Traces of Death where nothing was staged unlike Faces and Japan’s The Death Files. Love it or hate it, Tobe Hoopers Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a classic piece of film making. Dealing with Cannibalism and Necrophilia it touched a raw nerve in many people. It was all the more shocking in that it was based on the true story of Ed Gein. Take then the little known films from Jörg Buttgereit; Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2 where necrophilia becomes romanticised and the protagonists fall in love and run off with their corpses preferring them over the living. 1976s In the Realm of the Senses went a little further giving us unsimulated sex and a castration to boot.

I dipped my toe here too. Still I wasn’t moved. I’d seen them before… I needed something new. Oh font of all knowledge that is Google, show me your wares, lead me to the forums. “Come” said Pinhead “We have such sights to show you”.

I need not go into detail regarding the films here but I found and didn’t find what I was looking for… It seems (unless anyone can tell me otherwise) that the most shocking films of all time are as follows; August Underground, August Underground Mordum, August Underground Penance, Salo, Requiem for a Dream, Irreversible, I Stand Alone, Tokyo Gore Police and Visitor Q.

While not easy watching, some for their graphic content, some for their depressive subject matter and some for being just shock for the sake of shock I can honestly say that I am still unmoved. If I am moved in any way it would be the need to question why some people have gone to the lengths of say “Mordum” to utterly repulse the general public. A public that won’t search out these films anyway.

To bring it back into context I cannot compete and don’t want to compete with these movies. If the general public want to be shocked they need to see these movies. The lengths I would have to go to to surpass them would be far out of my comfort zone. Maybe comfort zone is the wrong phrase? I feel desensitised to the point where I could portray as bad as or even worse images as these films but why would I want to? What would I achieve and what point would I be proving? I need to rethink my motives and desires.

What would you like to see from me in the future?

May 022010
 

Whatever you thought of Malcolm McLaren as a man you couldn’t have not had an opinion on his impact on music and fashion. Whether you considered the man a fake, a genius, a svengali or a con man there is no denying he had way more than his allotted 15 minutes of fame. For a short while he managed the New York Dolls and with his business partner Vivienne Westwood he revolutionised fashion through a small shop in London’s Kings Road; Sex.

He was the man behind the Sex Pistols, he delivered them spitting, pogoing and swearing onto the London gig scene during a time when ABBA and Brian Ferry were topping the charts and the British youth had nothing to look forward to except another year of unemployment, strikes and misery. He gave anti-establishment a fashion, a voice and heroes at exactly the same time that the establishment was celebrating the queen’s silver jubilee. The timing couldn’t have been better.

He revelled in and courted controversy; Who else would steal Adam Ant’s backing band and front it with the then unknown, 13 year old, Annabella Lwin to form Bow Wow Wow? He would then be investigated by Scotland Yard when the group’s second studio and arguably biggest selling album: ‘See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah! City All over Go Ape Crazy!’ Featured the 14 year old Annabella naked on it’s cover in a tribute to Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass. There would be further Bow Wow Wow controversy later as to whether Malcolm and the group plagiarised Burundi and Zulu cultural music…

…loooong before Enigma did the same with Gregorian chanting and Deep Forest made off with the Baka pygmies but by then the road had been paved.

With his album ‘Duck Rock’ Malcolm was an early pioneer on the Hip Hop scene popularising it, at least in the UK with two tracks from the album; ‘Buffalo Girls’ and ‘Double Dutch’ both of which reached the top ten in the UK’s singles chart, highest positions 9 and 3 respectively.

Love or loath both him and his impact on the world you couldn’t have ignored him… On the 8th of April 2010 he died of Mesothelioma, a rare form of Cancer. He was buried at Highgate Cemetery, London on the 22nd of April. Rest in Peace Malcolm… I hope God took you in!

Could a man like Malcolm have gone to Heaven? A man steeped in controversy, a man who made money through the sale of bondage goods and clothes? A man who made money by promoting anarchy and supposedly ‘lewd’ music? A man who featured a naked 14 year old girl on an album cover, was cleared of child pornography charges but wasn’t allowed to label Lwin as a ‘Sex Kitten’ in the same vein as Marylyn Monroe? Was Malcolm accepted through the pearly gates?

Will I be let into Heaven when I myself die?

Regardless of my own controversies the Church and I have become friends. Honest friends; they don’t condone my work in any way and I won’t promise not to repeat the work I started. But we’re friends. Friends with differing points of view both trying to get the other to understand us. I’ll freely admit I upset people and The Church as a body but I’ll repeat to my dying breath that that wasn’t the intention. Even Christians are divided as to whether my work is art or blasphemy.

The Bible is ambiguous on the subject; Taken out of context there are passages that condemn what I do and passages that imply there is nothing wrong and that nudity is Godly. Bricks and mortar are not holy, man makes them holy by designating them as a place of worship. A church is literally a congregation of people, God says that whenever a group of Christians meet then He will listen intently. God is not in a particular church anymore than He is in my own house or in a sun dappled woodland grove or on a moonlit beach. God is all around us. He surrounds us and penetrates us. He binds the galaxy together.

I no more offended God by shooting in a church as I would have if I’d shot in my own bedroom or the models living room. If one believes, then the beauty and architecture of a church is man made but from a God given talent. If one shoots nudity in the great outdoors then one is actually shooting amongst the beauty and nature that God himself created. Which place is more Holy?

I was once caught mid-shoot in a church near Derby. As the church caretaker screamed at us to leave while literally beating on us with a broom and calling us all kinds of Satanists, the model I was shooting, while hurriedly dressing, asked the caretaker mid-broom-beating what her problem with nudity was and weren’t Adam and Eve naked originally and weren’t we all born naked? I kind of think she had a point. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that ‘nudity’ per se is wrong. Rather it says that nudity that promotes lust is wrong. One has to be subjective though, what kind of nudity promotes lust? One mans art is another mans porn and vice versa. The Bible has so many meanings and translations it is not a book to be read with objectivity, it can’t be.

God created Adam and Eve naked, only after they ate from the tree after being tempted by the Devil did they gain self awareness, conscience and the notion that nudity was somehow wrong and they should cover themselves up. If God created the original man and woman and the Bible is a book that helps us overcome evil and return to the state that God created us then isn’t the overall objective to return to a form where nudity is good again? If we were to return to the state that God created us then we would see no wrong in nudity and see the beauty in human body as God given.

The soft curves of a womans breasts, her hips, her mons pubis and the softness and folds of vaginal skin are all beautiful. The curve where a womans neck meets her shoulder, the curve where her shoulder meets her arm, all beautiful, all created by God. The hardness of a mans well worked and maintained chest, of decent biceps, abs, thighs and calves can all be considered to be beautiful. Even an erect penis can be… Well, if not beautiful at least artful if looked at from an abstract point of view.

Rule 34 states: Pornography or sexually related material exists for any conceivable subject.

Does that mean I should stop shooting Champagne bottles, Celtic crosses and skateboarders?

Rule 34, though created for the internet is generally accepted now… If people look hard enough they can find sin and lust anywhere. There will always be people that find my work lustful, I personally don’t. Surely it is not for man to judge me but for God alone?

1 Cor. 10:29: For why should my freedom be determined by someone else’s conscience?

Titus 1:15 (New International Version): To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

Taken a large step further one could argue that porn has it’s place in society. Sure it’s been argued to me that it’s addictive and has destroyed lives but so is and have sugar, alcohol and chocolate. People become addicted to porn without doubt, porn has destroyed lives, porn has broken marriages and porn has corrupted people. The porn industry is greedy, it can be abusive, it can be immoral and totally lacking in respect for either the models feelings or her body. These are the very reasons I pulled out of the porn industry early in my career.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to shoot porn though. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to satisfy a need for some people, I just want to do it in the right way, my way. Put bluntly I would rather a man (or woman) wank over my images of naked 18 year old girls than sit looking out of a window wanking over schoolies standing at a bus stop. I would prefer he found consolation in my work rather than finding consolation by force in the real world.

As much as there is an argument that violent films and video games create violent people there is an argument that people that fantasise over porn take their fantasies into the outside world. Neither argument has definitive proof. On the flip side porn has actually been used therapeutically for some sexually related psychological problems.

I was once involved in a porn shoot where blatantly the first time model hadn’t thought through the implications of being an adult model. She was shy, she was lacking in confidence and ultimately she didn’t want to be doing what she was being paid to do. It was primarily a video shoot but my involvement was to shoot the stills that went along with the film. Both the director and the videographer had utter disregard for what the girl was feeling. In their minds they were there to do a job and the girl was being paid to do that job regardless. They talked to her, they cajoled her, they played on her conscience and they put her into such an uncomfortable position that she felt obliged to carry on.

At the first opportunity I had to get her alone, while I was supposedly shooting my first set of stills I told her to get dressed. I told her to get dressed, stop crying and to tell the director that the shoot was over. No ifs, no buts, the shoot was over. I sat with her while she did so and stood up for her when needed. I ushered everyone involved in the shoot out of her house and into their cars, it was a long drive home with the director and I never worked in the industry for anyone but myself again.

Some girls have a desperate need to become models. Some girls want to model for fun, some see the glamour surrounding the modelling industry and the small fortunes that can be made.

Models will model regardless whether I’m working as a photographer or not. Surely then it is better that a few responsible and moral photographers are working in the field to help guide and teach new models the whys and wherefores, the paths and the pitfalls and help them further their chosen careers or hobbies safely?

As a man I am open about sexuality and my desires, as a photographer I am transparent in my working methods and explicit in my desires before, during and after a shoot. There are no surprises, the model knows exactly what the shoot entails and makes her mind up before I set the camera up. She knows that no means no and that she can stop the shoot at any time if she feels uncomfortable. She knows that before, during and after she can ask questions and get honest answers to them.

I hope during any shoot a working friendship is made and that a model can feel free to contact me any time after the shoot for advice or help. Each and every model can become my muse for a short while should she choose to. Each and every model can lean on that friendship and be entitled to the respect and encouragement that a muse deserves.

I work entirely within the laws of men but push those boundaries, sometimes past the point of comfort for some. That is the artist in me. Past that, only God can judge me surely?

As I see it; a lot of people and a lot of Christians (though not all) think they know everything. They read the Bible or get taught it’s words in church and they think they know how God thinks. The truth is, our human intellect is absolutely nothing, almost absent, compared to God’s. Who are we then to be so bold as to have the audacity to proclaim that we know what God thinks about an issue? Who is to say that what I do and what I’ve done is wrong?

I’ll leave you with the words of Pope John Paul II, make of them what you will…

“This by no means signifies that impurity of body is identified simply with partial or total nudity. There are circumstances in which nudity is not impure. If someone uses it to treat the person as an object of pleasure – even if it is by bad thoughts – he alone is the one who commits an impure act. Impurity of body only occurs when nudity plays a negative role with respect to the value of the person. One can say that what happens then is a de-personalization ….

Even knowing that nudity is not identical to impurity of the body, a real interior effort must be made to avoid assuming an impure attitude before a nude body. We should also add that impurity of action is not identical to the spontaneous reaction of sensuality that considers the body and sex as possible objects of joy. The human body per se is not impure, nor is the reaction of sensuality, nor sensuality itself”.