According to encyclopedia.com: Erotic photography consists of images produced with a photographic camera that inspire sexual feelings. According to encyclopedia.com: Erotic photography is a style of art photography of an erotic, sexually suggestive, or sexually provocative nature.
So, we can all agree on one thing, photography has to inspire sexual feelings to be erotic photography. When we consider that sexual desire and erotism are the things in the core of our existence as human beings, it is no brainer to see erotic photography as one of the most popular genres of photography. The history of erotic photography starts with the history of photography. The day a man had the camera in his hands, he pointed to a woman and took her picture without a doubt just like we drew naked woman figures on canvases since we invented paint and brush.
Erotic photography needs to be distinguished from some other types of photography that have sexual nature such as nude and pornographic photography. Not every photo of a naked subject can be categorized as erotic photography just like pornographic photos do not claim to pursue any artistic or aesthetic merit to be considered as erotic photography. Art, itself is a very subjective matter. Although we have categories, definitions that tell us what is what, in the end, each and every artwork is a personal experience for us. What we see when we look at an art piece, when we see a photo, our experiences, and our own mind interprets it for us. One might try to inspire erotic photography with a shot but some might find it pornographic and some might find it not enough to be erotic photography.
Erotic photography has branched out to specific subcategories in time.
Glamour photography: This genre started with the pictures of beautiful Hollywood actresses around the mid-1900s showing well-defined curves, beautiful cheekbones carved with shadows, the classic beauty of a star in the most glamorous ways. But glamour shots extend beyond the traditional portraits of Hollywood stars in time. Today glamour photography is generally a photo of a professional model or actress beautified by the use of the combination of cosmetics, lighting, and airbrushing techniques to produce an appealing image of the subject. They are normally intended for commercial use, including mass-produced calendars, pinups, and men’s magazines; but amateur subjects are also sometimes used, and sometimes the photographs are intended for private and personal use only
Pin-up photography: The term was first used in 1941 and referred to as the act of “pinning up” the art to the wall. In popular culture pin-up art is closely associated with the soldiers of WWII who were known to carry or pin-up images of beautiful women on postcards, calendars, or magazines. Pin-up art, however, actually began to be created as early as the 1890s and many artists participated in the genre. The genre had it`s most popular days during WWII. Many pin-up models were celebrities who became some of the first sex symbols due to their mass-produced images which could be seen hanging in bunkers or the lockers of soldiers. Some of the most popular pin-up girls of the 1940s were Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, Ava Gardner, and Betty Grable. Pin-up art continued into the 1950s with such famed pin-up models as Bettie Paige and Marilyn Monroe.
Fashion photography: Photographs in this genre are devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. But using mostly female subjects for this purpose paved the road to use women in erotic ways enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories.
Boudoir photography: This photographic style features intimate, sensual, romantic, and most of the time erotic images of the subject in a studio, bedroom, or private dressing room environment. Primarily intended for the private enjoyment of the subjects and their romantic partners. It is separated from glamour and art nude photography in that it is usually more suggestive rather than explicit in its approach to nudity and sexuality, features subjects who do not regularly model and produces images that are not intended to be seen by a wide audience, but rather to remain under the control of the subject. The term “boudoir” comes from the French verb bouder meaning “to sulk” and was primarily attributed to women’s dressing rooms or sitting rooms and private salons. Nude or sexualized female forms have been a theme of photography since as early as 1840. Early erotic photography, such as French postcards from the late 19th and early 20th century, pin-up girls, and Hollywood culture has influenced the visual style of boudoir photography.
Of course, art being a subjective matter there are a lot of misconceptions about erotic photography naturally because the nature of the genre is sexual.
Erotic photos are porn: It is only natural to mix porn and erotica considered that sexual subjects are taboo for so many people. Erotica and porn are so far from each other. Pornography (often shortened to porn) is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. There is an explicit sexual act in pornography. Erotica, on the other hand, aims for mental stimulation and visually pleasing the human mind.
Erotica is only for men: Time is changing. As women gain more power and independence in our society entertainment industry is not only catering to men anymore. Women are more vocal about their needs and their place in society. So it is only natural that photographers creating more and more content to serve women.
Erotic photos are vulgar: Definitely not. The main purpose of erotic photography is to create artwork that is aesthetically pleasing and mentally stimulating. So labeling erotic photography as dirty, vulgar is only because of the sexual nature of the artwork and people`s approach based on the things they consider as taboos.
As a photographer who is specialised in erotic photography, I enjoy working with the human body as my subject. It is who we are and creating art showing how amazing we are is what I love doing. I feel that is my job to show people so they also can enjoy the beauty of the human body.
The Dirty Archangel is a New York City based photographer. His work has been published in several magazines. He is a self-published poet, hedonist, and philocalist. But photography has always been his biggest passion. With his completely self-taught photography, he`s been taking pictures around NYC for more than a decade. He finds the female body as the most poetic subject in our world; in every form, every shape, every size, every color. His unique and poetic approach drives his photography which is focused on erotic, bdsm, fetish, kinky styles. His art doesn`t fit into standards, he doesn`t care about taboos while searching for mind-boggling, disturbing ideas to bring to life.