Cajsa Lilliehook covers the best in virtual world screenshot art and digital painting
A friend of mine once insisted there was no difference between erotica and pornography, other than the class of the consumer: “If you’re rich, you enjoy erotica. If you’re poor, you’re into porn.”
I disagree. For me, pornography is boring. It leaves nothing for the viewer to imagine, and has no other purpose than arousing sexual appetite. There is no wonder, no pleasure at how very human it is. Of course, this is subjective and non-binary. After all, there is also the merely aesthetic, such as Michelangelo’s David, a full-frontal male nude that is neither erotic nor pornographic. For me, though, the erotic is interesting. How do virtual world artists imbue their digital work with the emotional context that divides the sensuous from the sexual, the erotic from the pornographic? (Even if Google’s content filtering AI may not care either way.)
Many more examples of virtual world screenshots turned into erotically-resonant art after the break. (Warning: While none are pornographic, some are mildly NSFW.)
Sated by lannewise is a perfect example of erotica. After all, many people argue that pornograpy is about objectification of parts over person. Here we don’t even see her face, but does this feel like it’s about parts? Yes, her nipples are shown, but isn’t the story the angle of her back and her leg, that post-coital, open relaxation? Isn’t it about the light on her skin, her freckles, that light sheen that might be sweat and the fullness of satiation? To me, there is not the least suggestion of pornography -- it’s about beauty and human satisfaction.
Blue by JJ Goodman would probably classify more as beefcake than erotica except he seems to be looking at someone -- there is a human connection that makes this more than a photo of a man in the shower at a gym. By the way, while Laundry Day is not a fit for this article, but I can’t resist linking to it as it's such a fun (and very NSFW) story-telling photo.
This photo from Anouk A. is a reminder that erotica does not mean it makes you feel comfortable. Anouk has many photos that challenge my sensibilities, but they are always beautiful and intriguing. This one is intriguing, but does not challenge me as much as some of her work. While clamps, piercings and other forms of algolagnia make me a little queasy, I know it’s a real fetish that people enjoy. So much of what makes her work fascinating is the lighting, how she crops and frames her pictures in ways that make it beautiful even though it’s not my thing. Her real fascination is with light, form, and beauty and that dominates.
The erotic is not always nude. Look at Shadow Play by Trixie Pinelli. This gets its erotic charge from the play of light and shadow on skin. Of course, the pose is also suggestive, langorous and extended, arched to highlight her shape. It is slightly off balance, suggesting vulnerability which is often an erotic element. Erotic is a mood as much as a subject.
Damion Theas’ Fever is a beautiful photo with striking light and shadow. It is erotic because it portrays the emotional connection between them. It’s also beautiful aesthetically, with how their bodies form the frame of the photo.
Cleansing by kes.myas is extraordinary. This is more of an aesthetic photo, but there is something erotic about looking at the human body from a different angle, seeing it new again.
Bling by Davi Sperber is another erotic photo of a couple that suggests a emotion and passion but without anything explicit or blatant. I also like the humor of the title and the bit of bling that is its focus.
What is erotic and arousing is always subjective. While I can appreciate the aesthetics of henpai and BDSM, my mind wanders to thoughts of embarrassing home safety accidents and wondering what happens if the participants get a charley horse.
On the other hand, Warm Night by Peeter Tamerlane is perhaps my favorite in this collection. (And a bonus eighth image!) This is a photo that moves me because there is such intensityin his gaze as he looks at her, and so much connection that she stretches her neck so she can look at him. The light is incandescent, so beautifully bright and the shadows so deep. This is a deeply erotic photo and yet it obscures far more than it reveals.
It would be great if you share your own favorites in the comments. Erotica is so subjective, I am intrigued to learn what other people admire. I am always looking for recommendations and more streams to follow.
Cajsa Lilliehook joined Second Life in 2007 and has been enjoying the art of SL ever since. Disliking the common practice of critiquing poor photos, she decided to highlight good ones and explain why they work in hopes of inspiring with praise instead of criticism. Follow Cajsa on Flickr, on Twitter or on her blog.