Poking @ Instagram

During the portfolio reviews at the IOP Symposium I was asked whether any of my project images were on Instagram.
I have avoided it as a platform simply because of its strict rules on nudity. As the majority of my practice deals with disrobing the male it would not be the ideal outlet. The exception being the #beachtowelchronicles project which I created as a means to play against Instagram’s rules about showing anything remotely sexual (this project dealt with spaces after the act itself).

Bubble-Butted Rugger-Bugger
Chris Northey Bubble-Butted Rugger-Bugger 2016


There is a small amount of full-frontal nudity within my Concupiscence project but a great deal of the images are perfectly innocent pieces of naked skin. I have brought some eroticism into these as that is a large part of the intent of the project. And some of the images force you to question how sexual what you are regarding could be. So I am attracted to the idea of testing Instagram’s Algorithms when it comes to picking up on bare naked flesh. The fact the male body is a great deal hairier than the female form means there is the chance shots that are perfectly innocent could be removed for contravening their rules. This rather highlights the absurdity with blanket rules; much in the way the Victorian’s could be shocked by the merest glimpse of bare skin – there are many parts of the male (and female) form that could be considered extremely erotic despite their usual innocence (think foot fetishes or the eroticism of male nipples which can be displayed with all innocence while the female nipple will be removed from many Social Media platforms).

Chris Northey Instagram Post 2018

Not only is this a chance to raise questions regarding censorship and the vilification of the naked body – it also allows me to drip-feed the body of work and gauge interest as well as attract attention to the eventual exhibition.

In order to allow the Instagram images to retain some uniqueness over the final printed photographs – I shall add additional Instagram filters to the shots. And even though Instagram has now brought in the possibility to post landscape or portrait formats I will continue to use it’s square 1:1 ratio – this also gives me an interesting way to consider cropping those images that feature the phallus too prominently. With the careful use of select hashtags and posting an image every two or three days I can hopefully build up some interest for the project. With twenty-six likes and four comments on the Facebook post and another twenty-five like from the Instagram post with the first image in twenty-four hours it is a small step in the right direction.

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