In this section I wanted to look at artists who have taken images that reveal a sexual content. This falls into the traditional scopophilic perspective where the images are less ambiguous in their content.
Born 1926 in Kyjov, Czech Republic, Miroslav Tichy had studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and was well on his way to becoming an accomplished painter before finding a passion for photography.
Tichy would stalk the street of his hometown armed with a homemade camera, a collection of bottle tops and cardboard tubes which most people did not take seriously. Here he used it to capture images of local people relaxing, sunbathing, swimming or caught in a revealing state unawares.
The poor quality of his images was in part due to his equipment and also a deliberate act by the artist who believed that to be noticed or famous you need to do something more badly than anyone else.
The soft focus blurry images add to the voyeuristic quality and there is a debauched and corrupt atmosphere. Knowing that each of the subjects were unaware they were being photographed invokes a feeling of guilt by just looking at them but perversely this increases the desire to see more.
Tichy eventually began to suffer from dementia and died in 2011, it is believed that he destroyed much of his work prior to this (Photography 2012).
Japanese photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki accidentally stumbled across a fetishistic practice in Tokyo’s local parks. He was initially drawn to a couple that were lying on the floor and became surprised to discover that they were engaged in an intimate act for public consumption. Around the couple were lascivious onlookers engrossed in this lewd display.
Intrigued Yoshiyuki decided to investigate further by becoming part of this voyeuristic community and faking his own interest. Whilst watching these performances play out he used a Kodak 35mm film camera and infra flash to capture the scenes before him.
By stepping back Yoshiyuki captured the entire scene before him. Here we have a series of sexual voyeurs being watched by a photographer voyeur and then by us, the person viewing the image. For each person the emotional experience is likely to be different. For those in the scene they went for the specific reason of sexual stimulation, subservient to their own primal desires. For Yoshiyui it was artistic curiosity and the need to document this rarely seen paraphilic performance and for us is the opportunity to look into a world we would never see from the safety a photograph provides us. This is not to say Yoshiyuki did not derive sexual pleasure from the process although not one he admits to nor that the person viewing the photo will not experience some form of erotic stimulation. For each person the experience is unique and personal making these images compelling viewing (Bohr 2011).