Imitation is the sincerest form of unoriginality

naked1aI was flipping through Art in America magazine and came across an article about a show that Carol recently commented on, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ “XXX: 30 Porn Star Portraits.”

In the article Greenfield-Sanders claims that he was inspired by Goya’s La Maja Vestida and La Maja Desnuda to make pictures of porn “stars” fully clothed, and then in the same pose, completely naked.

Now, Greenfield-Sanders may well have been inspired by Goya, and I don’t want to second-guess someone of such obvious genius (um hmm), but he’s directly copying Greg Friedler, who did the Naked New York book back in 1997 (and followed it up with Naked LA in 1998 and Naked London in 2000).

naked3In Naked New York Friedler presented clothed black and white shots next to naked shots of a cross section of New Yorkers, listing only their ages and occupations. It’s fascinating stuff, and a powerful comment on how we perceive each other.

Greenfield-Sanders, on the other hand, fills the space between his copycat (color) photos with a lot of pontificating and tangentially relevant “essays” by commentators such as Gore Vidal, Nancy Friday and Karen Finley.

Listen, I know that there’s practically nothing that you can do these days that hasn’t been done before, and that’s fine. I’d rather see Greenfield-Sanders’ imitation of Friedler’s work than some utterly talentless twat who wired up some lights in a room to turn on and off, but a little credit where credit is due. I mean, how long did Greenfield-Sanders have to dig to come up with the Goya reference? How stupid does he think we are?

That’s a rhetorical question, because while most of us may not be stupid, we do have very short memories, and if you say something with enough conviction and repetition (like “the king of pop,” or “weapons of mass destruction,” for example) people will eventually believe it.

The point being, who gives a shit what porn “stars” look like naked? As if that is a great mystery. But your bus driver or the kid behind the counter at the coffee shop? To me, that’s far more interesting. And, by the way, Friedler had a porn actress in one of his books, so he had already gone there too.

If you’re thinking of dropping $35 on XXX: 30 Porn Star Portraits, go to source and pick up the Greg Friedler books instead.

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