Photography is the gift of freezing time, and of documenting life, good, bad and ugly.
Most artists would love to avoid politics and getting wrapped up in cultural battles, so we can have our time devoted to realizing our visions, but in a world where evil oppressors will take advantage of the poor, the weak and the sleeping, we have to shine our lenses, paint brushes and performances on injustice and those who prey on those who can't defend themselves.
If artists want the freedom to create, we have to use our art to fight against those who want to silence our creative voices, and if we don't, we face censorship and possibly worse.
I often explore free speech and censorship in my work, since I have been attacked by both sides of the political spectrum because they don't like what I do. (One such idiot and her henchmen, have made a funny little game out of harassing my wife and I over our nude photography because they feel like it hurts women. They waged a multi-year campaign that included negative reviews online under aliases, of my photography which led to me losing work in the small community I live in. Some have suggested I ignore the idiot and forget about it, but the damage it did to my reputation was significant enough that my ability to earn an income was infringed and I don't tolerate bullies, so I am pursuing recourse against the individual(s).)
My detailed account of my battle with censoring trolls will be posted soon, but my intention in this post is to address the blending of art & politics in the current conservative cultural climate under our new "president."
It is hard enough for artists to make a living in the age of digital piracy and an over abundance of new artists, but we all find ways of making our work pay even in the smallest ways.
It is typically not a good idea to take a stance politically when you are in business, and art is a business (I sell books of my work, and t-shirts for my company Art Bomb Tees, but not enough to buy a car or house, by any means.)
Though I didn't think Trump's win was a good thing for our country, I was going to remain optimistic until I had reason for concern, but in less than a week, Donald Trump and his cronies gave us all plenty of reason for concern. He attacked the arts, immigration, and women's rights and environmental protections almost instantly, and the nation rose up with a resounding "WTF, dude!?!"
Living in a bubble is proven to produce small-minded, idiotic behavior. We need the cultural cross-pollination that immigrants provide, and locking down the United States so that only Christian whites have a majority voice is against everything that makes this country so amazing.
Donald Trump's Divided States of America takes the slow burning hate and unrest that has been stewing since a black man won office and has turned it into a movement, the tea party part has devolved into the more obvious and revolting alt right movement, which is really just a thinly veiled moniker for the New Nazi Party.
Now, the ultimate weapon against hate is love and education, and artists everywhere need to use their tools to spread that message and bring America to a new level of acceptance and tolerance.
So, for those of you have enjoyed many years of fine art nude photography from me, we will be interrupting the flow of erotic art, nudes and fine art conceptual work to bring you some protests from time to time against oppression.
I might create some graphic and controversial work from time to time, but aside from being an artist who creates work for adults, I wear many other hats, and one of those hats is as a father, and I want my child to grow up in a country that celebrates diversity and that protects the rights and freedoms of all people, regardless of where they were born.
The United States of America has always been an asylum for the rebels, the thinkers, and the freedom fighters, and we must maintain that delicate balance for the potential and protection of our planet's future. There is more at stake here than what can be trusted to a bunch of rich, white dudes whose decisions and actions won't affect them because of their advanced age, but it sure as hell is going to have a dire and dangerous impact on our children.
Don't apologize for your opposing point of view and don't be afraid to let it be known, but be respectful and peaceful. We win by taking the high road, and we win by advocating equality and peace.