Of Nudity & Art

The fetishising of the female body by male artists or photographers is so toxic. For them women subjects seem to exist solely as objects for their own desires or that of other male viewers. This isn’t art. I can’t see how it is.

Artwork: Rohan Rane
Artwork: Rohan Rane

This particular fetish isn’t to achieve anything other than do these three harmful things:

1. Serve as a prop for men to gaze at (understandably, since a lot of these photographers go on to shoot for brands who target men; the economically dominant gender).

2. Tell men that this is the sort of body (aided by the ‘Come here’ or similar provocative poses these models are asked to adapt) that they have the right of access to.

3. (Thus) also promoting toxic body image issues among women.

I wonder how all men would react if we exclusively started making a brand out of naked images of men, gyrating, sticking their crotch out, posing seductively. Nearly naked. All naked. Just one hand, barely covering their penises. Cupping their balls. Staring into the lens with deer-in-headlights, while we shamelessly stare at their genitals.

I wonder how all men would feel like if Instagram or the feed of every single person who puts the word ‘photographer’ in their bios was populated with this kind of nudity. Uncomfortable? Most likely.

I wonder what music videos would look like, with men in the background, wearing sheer underwear and dancing in the shower, so the outline of their organs begin to show; then have the cameras zoom in to examine the details of their ‘manhood’.

I wonder how it would feel like to have your bodies served on a plate for consumption by the opposite genders.

A note then, to the photographers to probably read and most importantly realise:

If you think your ‘art’ would only make sense with naked women in it, you’re only a terrible, repulsive rip-off who wants to appropriate the label of a photographer. You’re looking to grab eyeballs by offering breasts. But, of course, if someone were to ask you, you’d say “you’re against rape”, “against the objectification of women”, “you’re only doing this for art*”, wouldn’t you?

There’s nothing wrong with studying the human body for art, or having women as your muse. But there’s everything wrong with objectifying women and mind you, there’s a very, very fine line between the two.

So, where IS the line?

Gauge your art, what are you making your subject do? Pose to seduce/tempt? Pucker her lips? Put her hand inside her pink, lace panty? Cover her breasts as she lies across the floor, naked? Or giggle naked?

If you were to photograph a man, would your photos show his 5’clock stubble, his brooding eyes or his side profile as he gazes off into infinity? Truth remains, he would be afforded the respect your female ‘muses’ are never going to.

Art can exist in beauty, to make a statement, to be political, to make a point. And while art can also exist to seduce, this bread-and-butter variety of nudity isn’t doing anything productive, really!

And if you’re on Instagram and other photo sharing websites solely for that, you should probably examine yourself and come to terms with the fact that you’re simply aiding objectification and thereby – rape culture.

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You’re An Explorer 

You are not a traveller. You are an explorer

Artwork by Rohan Rane
You’re an Explorer; Artwork by Rohan Rane
There are, believe it or not, hardly a few left like you. You are not unhappy per se; but you are not content either. You are always on the lookout to explore life, anticipating its last and final secret. You explore yourself each day, to understand why you behave the way you do and do not. You like long walks on the beaches but also can’t stop brimming with joy at the chance of staying in a quaint cottage in the woods. You feel the rush of your adrenaline at the thought of conquering mountains on your trekking expeditions, but are also drawn by the calmness of the ocean, taken by its power, the uneasing motion, the mysteries that surround it and the magnificent beauty, not to forget. You like the lush green jungles, the hidden rivers, the unconquered mountains, and the comfort of your own home at the same time.. Your sadness is as much part of your life, as is your happiness. 
You are power hungry; for life. And for everything else it comes with- terms and conditions applied. You sure do love and want to be loved, you want a relationship that doesn’t shackle you of your wandering or take from you whatever little is left of you. 
You are a paradox within life, a wanderer, a fantasist and a lover; you are that crowd of lonely men and women who dare to venture out beyond the possibilities of whatever life has to offer. You are that community who look beyond the grays of blacks and whites. 
Believe it or not, the ‘you’ here is in each one of us, guided and strong!

Until next time, love. 

Let’s Stop Making Rules

It’s not that every single time you witness the sunrise or sunset, you have to be moved to tears or that you have to be filled with awe. It’s okay to not feel something just because you felt something once or just because somebody else said you should feel a certain way about something. My favorite song needn’t be your favorite song. Lovers needn’t hold hands. Goodbyes can be left unsaid. You don’t have to like me because I like you. Everything doesn’t have to make sense and mean something. Let’s stop making rules.

Back in 2014, I was travelling to Rajasthan in a semi sleeper bus. The roof of the bus was lined with balloons. I was on the upper berth. The balloons were pretty much in my face. Four of them – green, orange, white and blue. I like balloons, but I’m scared of them because they burst without a warning sign. I asked the conductor if they could be taken off or moved to the next light panel because I couldn’t imagine spending the entire night next to these balloons knowing they’ll burst. Because he looked so puzzled, I explained this irrational fear of mine to him. He did a terrible job of controlling his judgmental laugh and convinced me the balloons weren’t going to burst. I could see the remains of a burst balloon at the end of the bus. I told him they would. He repeated the same thing. “Don’t worry. They won’t burst.” I had no option but to trust his conviction. I stayed up for hours with my hands on my chest and earphones blasting the loudest songs on my phone and not looking at the balloons. 

And just as I finally drifted off to sleep, I realized they’re just balloons. Balloons pop. Hearts break. Minds sleep. Dancers dance. Fathers cry. Mothers leave. Things happen. Things are made of atoms. That’s all life is. Atoms and things.

The Flag Theory 

Today I’m going to tell you about my flag theory.

There’s an Indian flag on top of the building a few lanes near my school building. For 5 years, every day on my way to school, I’d stick my head out of the auto/bus and look at the flag. I was fascinated by the way it moved with the wind, the way it folded around the pole, the way it hung low in rain.
Over the years I started to notice a pattern. I realized that flag was an indicator of how my day would be. If the flag was waving away like a mad fool, I’d end up having a very happy day. If the flag didn’t move at all, I’d end up having a sad day. And way back then, a sad day meant not acing some English test (Yes, I was a nerd at that who was fascinated by English and Physics and wanted to become a nuclear scientist. Thank God that changed!) Sometimes, sad days also meant coming back to family drama which would break my heart and make me cry myself to sleep. And in sadness, I wouldn’t be able to study which would make me even sadder (I’m not kidding about the nerd bit). So you can imagine how much I dreaded the flag telling me it was going to be a sad day. But it helped, because I’d be prepared.

Even after my schooling, every time I passed by that building, I found myself looking up to see if I’d have a happy day or a sad day. Because sometimes, a windy day is all it took to heal a broken heart and to calm a confused mind.

Back then, I did not know happiness and sadness and everything in between is what we make of it. Now I know. But I still found myself looking at the flag sometimes. Not as often, but I still did until today when out of the blue I noticed there’s a whole new building that has covered the flag and has made it practically impossible for me to have a glance at it. So that’s the end, I suppose?
I’m sure this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard/read because by this theory, every windy day should be a happy day and every cold, rainy day should be a sad day. I won’t argue because it is hard to argue with logic. But I can tell you this from my 11 years of observation, the flag is never wrong!

And just in case you are wondering, today is a sad day. Or so says the flag or maybe it doesn’t, who knows?! =) Oh, I won’t blame you for thinking I’m cuckoo in the head! 😛

Until next time, love!

Purpose of Life

I was once asked to recite an inspiring “What’s your purpose in Life” story for an event in college. 
Truth be told, I feel like I have no written purpose as such. I’m just here to be. At least that’s what I’m learning. There are desires and dreams that are unfolding as I grow older. There’s an undying need to make something a little better for someone. There’s an undying need to share what I have learned through good and bad. There’s an undying need to explore, to learn, to live, to love, to reach out, to get lost and to be everything else life has to offer. Why? I do not know! Call it purpose if you will, but I’ll call it living.

The Internet Is A Strange Place. (P2)

Nobody, I repeat, nobody can explain why certain memes go randomly viral on the internet. 

I mean come on, what’s with this purple headbanging pigeon, or better “Trash Dove”? Like, hello, meme creator whoever you are, were you so embarrassingly out of work to come up with something as silly (and funny) as this? Did someone call it funny? (I didn’t, I swear)

Maybe it’ll die in a couple of days but is it even worth it? Now, pardon my ignorance cos I now have a stable job which I dedicate my 30 hours of the day to. So social life has gone down the drain and for the better, i come across memes quite late after they’re generally done and dusted to death. But this, this one was shoved right into my face with all the lameness possible from the very beginning and for what? 

So, hi again trash dove meme creator, I find pigeons dumb too but I wouldn’t create a meme for it. Heh, no one even laughs at my joke, my memes would not even stand a chance anyway. 

But thank you for the momentary spurts of funnies and laughter. My day at work went 1% better because of you and your trash meme. 

So, you’re a misfit. 

So, you’re a misfit. Your ideals never aligned with your family’s. You never related to the people you grew up with. You never really fit in anywhere. Until this misshapen Tetris, found a spot. A coalition of misfits. A bunch of people who mirrored your crazy. Who shared the same vices. Who were just as fallible. Just as lonely and yet, just as independent. But, then one day, you had to move on. And maybe that’s not entirely a bad thing. Maybe, you are meant to be this cracked and flawed only for a little while, so the rest of the world could see a healed and perfect version of you.