What is the difference between erotic art and pornography; and why is it that the change of medium changes perspective?
These are questions Los Angeles based photographer Rowan Metzner is presenting in her latest photography book collection, Erotic Masters: A Photographic Exploration of the Provocative Works of Rodin, Schiele and Picasso, a collection of photographic representations of erotic works by modern masters Rodin, Schiele and Picasso. Each scene is photographed as if the original artists had done so themselves, inviting the viewer to contemplate the ultimate question: is photographed erotic art viewed as pornography?
“As part of my research of erotic art and porn, I asked many people what they thought the difference between the two were,” says Metzner. “The overwhelming answer is the same: intent. It seems that what they think while viewing an image is the crucial defining factor.”
A masterful photographic representation of the art world’s most iconic artists, Erotic Masters is coming out to the world at a perfect time, on the cusp of the 100th anniversary of celebrating Schiele’s work, featured exhibits of Picasso and Schiele's erotic works happening now at the Met Museum and during a time where women are continuing the fight to express their bodies as they please. A loaded subject at a time when gender equality is on the front burner.
Rowan Metzner is a native of New Orleans, earned a BFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design in 2007. Before Hurricane Katrina, Metzner worked with traditional 35mm film in black and white, concentrating on abstract portraits of the body reclaiming the human form and its beauty. After returning to New Orleans to help her father clean out his storm-damaged house, she decided to use color photography to show how the hurricane had changed the landscape, making it almost void of color. Upon returning to RISD, she spent a year in Rome, where she continued to work in color. Troubled by the drowning and destruction of her hometown, she evoked a sense of foreboding and doom in her post-Katrina European series.
Returning to her photographic roots, the human body, Metzner’s current work focuses on revealing its beauties in new ways. Be it fashion or portraiture, her photography remains concept-driven first, inviting viewers to unearth truths about themselves, their ways of thinking, and her subjects.
Erotic Masters is now available online at https://www.rowanmetzner.com/erotic-masters