Below is the introduction to my art nude photography book "Torso and Other Works".
Forward: The Catalyst, Social Media
This book started as a personal reaction to me coping with social media as a photographer of nudes. My Facebook and Messenger accounts had been banned for 30 days because of a blurred female nipple. The image
was put back up within a couple of hours once they realized it hadn’t gone
against their community guidelines, but the ban stayed in place. I’ve had
similar prohibitions in the past, but they keep getting longer. When it happens, my contacts are not notified, and people falsely believe I’m not responding to their Facebook comments or messages in Messenger. We use social media as a public utility such as our phones, postal service,
and roads but it isn’t. The freedom of speech and reach that we mistakenly assume are our rights are not applicable when you are using a service provided by social media.
The goal of free social media is to make money for itself and its advertisers.
The more money spent the more likely the message is heard whether it’s
true or false. Rich voices get heard over poor voices. Our personal
connections and community relationships are being used to facilitate this
and it results in the spreading of hate, fear, and lies by some of the most
powerful organizations and companies in the world. This may not be social
media’s intention, but it is the result and they are unlikely to stop it if profit
is being made.
You are the product, not the client. Information is being strategically fed to you in order to get you hooked and it’s designed in such a way to make
you susceptible to their advertisers. Your behavior is being modified for
their interests and sadly as a society, we have traded our friendships and
personal data for convenience, memes, and political rants
As Sasha Cohen Baron said during a keynote speech for ADL, “freedom of
speech is not freedom of reach”. For artists and other content creators, it
can be a highly restrictive environment. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that he believes that the users of Facebook should decide what is credible and says he doesn’t want to limit free speech but that is exactly what is happening through censorship and the use of algorithms. Nude art and imagery are censored, and the reach is limited. Most of the content that you see is for the benefit of the advertisers, not for you, your friends, or your real community. False claims are allowed because it makes a profit through advertising. The algorithms confirm our biases to keep us online creating more division and polarization within our communities, spawning anger and resentment towards those who have different opinions.
Yet it’s the female nipple where Facebook and Instagram draw a line in the
sand when it comes to community standards. As social media has become more aggressive with censorship of the human body it’s of vital importance to me that we keep growing a healthy mindset. We need to, as a community, denounce body shaming, celebrate diversity, and not allow big money to dictate how we think and what we see. At a time when communication and information should be bringing us together, these companies and organizations are creating more division and polarization, strictly for profit. It’s our job to not let that happen by whatever means are available to us. That is why this book exists.
These pages contain a collection of stories, ideas, and images that can’t
be shared in this format on social media. Yet I feel this is what we need to
counteract so many of the problems it produces. I hope you enjoy this
book and appreciate the beauty and art of the human spirit. Book will be made available for purchase online in the near future. Subscribe to the blog for future announcements.