• Tomás Brandão

Eroticism, porn and Photography

Of all media available, I've never felt an attraction as strong as I do for photography. Portraits, street, commercial, fashion, architecture, you name it. I love it deeply. I like to believe I'm pretty decent in some of these areas as well.

But there was always one type of photography that made me feel a bit iffy. The artistic nude.


Yeah, nude representation in art is nothing new, but for some reason, in the photography medium, it never really got my attention. It had this aura of guilt and restrictiveness that always pushed me away. This is sorta ironic since as I was averting my gaze from erotic and artistic photography, I was starting to consume pornography.

I would say that this is a weird result from a mild religious upbringing, a discomfort of my body image and the general "tabboness" of nudity and pornography in my environment.

As my teens progressed and I ventured through my twenties, this continued being my stance, a hypocritical stance, I reckon. But as I started approaching my thirties, as I began studying photography and started building my own path in it...did I start viewing the artistic nude as a valid and unique part of photography.



This process started when I decided to get some photo books to study and expand my horizons. To my own surprise, I resisted getting a street photography book; instead, I went with a Taschen tome containing photo work by the Japanese photographer Araki.


And Araki's work surprised me a lot, not only his work in portraiture and street. But the relation he and his models conveyed through the lenses.

And to my amazement, I found some of his street photographs more sexually charged than some of his works that not only involved sexual acts or bondage.


It was more or less when I started researching Portuguese photographers and thought a few friends I found the work of Nuno Pinheiro.

Having found his Instagram, my old habits surface quickly; I was thrown about, "This is so raw, so strong....it is too much for me.", this time I couldn't really blame my upbringing. So instead, I criticised the platform. But nonetheless, I followed him.


His work kept popping in my feed; sometimes, a milder picture would come up, and I got interested again. This little dance lasted a few weeks until I decided to dig a little deeper and decided to get to know his work a bit better. And just like Araki entrenched and changed my view, so did Nuno.

But Araki changed my view with his pictures alone and juxtaposed erotic photos next to street life and flowers. With Nuno was when I started to get to know the man behind the camera. Throughout his Instagram lives and QA sessions, I came to grips with his ethos, and just like that, even the most provocative and sexually charged photos began to shine with an artistic flair.

Together they taught me how to look beyond the nudity and what society deems worthy or unworthy.


I could now delve into a more in-depth analysis of their arts, but I rather talk about one of my favourite traits of Nuno's photography. Activism.


In the climate we are currently living taught more, more photographers and artists shrouded themselves as "artists" exposed as human garbage (I'm trying to hold my tongue). Still, just like it happened during the "Me Too" boom, many photographers felt the same fate, careers destroyed, and portfolios now valued at nothing. Why? Cuz their art was a way to get in women's pants, blackmail them, or just for shits and giggles.

On the other hand, Nuno fights against that, and from what I know, his subjects like working with him; they feel at ease with him. Not only that, but in the six or so months I've been following him, I've read countless activism initiatives that he was part of. For example, fighting for equality, rights, liberation and free sexuality.

As I said before, his approach to the art and the issues surrounding it made him one of my favourites of all time.


If you are interested in Nuno's work do check his website https://nunopinheiro.net/ you wont regret it, as for Araki Nobuyoshi Araki | Artnet

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