Controversial

To me, it is ages ago when I decided that my basic themes would be gender and sexuality.

I was quite ignorant then, because I thought I would cover most of what I was looking for in about five years. It became a project with no end in sight.

Social media came and the world changed. My first profile on Facebook was deleted. I wasn’t banned for a week or longer. My whole profile with a lot of followers/friends simply vanished. I cannot recall the reason for those harsh actions. Something really serious. It took me a while to figure out that posting a picture with a nipple on it was a deadly sin of some sort. I was still very naive. Or maybe FB moderators are quite naive.

I got used to that. A few years later, my son came home after he had shared my work with a friend. This friend had called my work pornographic. That was new to me. In my perception, pornography was something quite different. But soon I found out that Millennials have very broad ideas of what is supposed to be pornography.

I quickly adjusted to that, and I accepted the fact that my work was pornographic. So I sent some material to a very successful porn site, but they refused my works, stating they had no interest in fine art photography.

From then on things got confused, but I stuck to my theme. Last year there was a very large exhibit of my works in Amsterdam and the curator told me that she wouldn’t invite her parents to this show. I asked her why, and she needed some time to come up with an answer. Finally, she said: ‘Your work is too risqué.’ Actually, she used a very old Dutch word that nobody uses anymore in that context. Pikant. To my knowledge, there is no adequate translation for this word.

I was stupefied. Still, the exhibit was a success. Lately I am confronted with a completely new phenomenon. Traffic to this site increases and my Google ranking drops. I sincerely hope we are not heading towards a situation where search engines are actively filtering sites for possible nipple sightings. This was quite normal in the 1990s. Google earned part of its success by not filtering sites and images as Yahoo! and others did.

Wish me luck!

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