The guy from FHM magazine (also mentioned below ) may have been exaggerating about their limited-airbrushing policies. I "read" FHM occasionally while waiting at my barber's, and I saw a semi-nude shoot of the chick playing Meadow Soprano. This was airbrushed so much that to my eyes it looked more like paintings than photos.
To me, a positive quality has very little to do with perfection. Non-perfect things can be wonderful, and perfect things can be perfectly boring.
Letters to Domai
I was watching a Victoria's Secret commercial not too long ago. Between overdone images of Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen and Tyra Banks, all wearing nothing but pushup bras, micro thongs and body makeup, words flashed over the screen: "WHAT -- IS -- SEXY?" Interesting. I get the irony, of course (I'm not that dense), but I thought that was an odd question to pose in the middle of a lingerie commercial featuring some of the world's most renowned fasion models. Are Klum, Bundchen and Banks sexy? Yes, but that's not the question. "WHAT is sexy?" Indeed.
Lately, it's getting more and more difficult to define "sexy." I won't go into Webster's Dictionary and quote the English definition. That would be pointless and boring. All words have different meanings to different people. So the real question is, what is "sexy" to you, and what is "sexy" to me? Have you really thought about it before? (A rhetorical question, Eolake. I know you've thought about it, a lot!)
I watch show called Great Cars. It's a British show, so the slang is much different than the American I'm used to. One word stood out in particular: "sexy." I'd never heard a car called sexy before I watched that show. Sure, I'd heard Americans call cars "hot," but never "sexy." That may just be me, as American slang changes depending on what part of America you're in. As I continued whatching the show, I began to understand why the Britons use "sexy" as an adjective for cars. The lines, the shapes and curves, the overall form of exotic cars do remind me of beautiful, sexy women. ("Exotic." There's another crossover term.) But are cars actually "sexy"? Do they make one think of sex? And is conguring thoughts of sex the metaphorical definition of "sexy"? Obviously, not always, at least in British slang.
What about other things that are given the connotation of "sexy"? Considering the context of this site, I'll keep the topic limited to nude photography.
Are all nudes sexy? I don't think so. (I'm a heterosexual man, so I can't judge whether male nudes are sexy.) Many art nudes are not meant to be outright sexy, if at all. But, I'm specifically referring to those nudes that are meant to be sexy. One comes to my mind, in particular. It was a book of nudes by a famous photographer (I can't remember which one). The was model was tall, blond and very thin with very long legs (stereotypical). This nude of her had her in a very provocative pose. She was wearing nothing but knee high, rainbow colored tube socks. It was shot from behind her, at almost a worm's eye view (the camera was near the floor), and she was completely bent over. What's more, she was grabbing her buttocks and spreading them apart. This was in a book of art nudes, not porn, mind you. The description of this nude is sexier than the nude itself. I hardly found it sexy at all. In fact, it may have been a satire, in which case, it had the appropriate effect on me. But, there have been other nudes that are obviously meant to be sexy, but aren't. Maybe that's just a matter of personal taste. Or, maybe it's maturity.
And what about erotica, soft core and hardcore porn? Are they really "sexy"? Many guys (and some women) would give an immediate, "Yes, you moron!" I disagree. I've seen some sexy erotica, the most sexy was a photo of a woman with a more average body. Ironic, considering who I'm writing to. The nude was black and white, and clearly meant to be artistic. The model was standing in what appeared to be a city alley, possibly London. It was cloudy, about to rain, so the lighting was perfectly soft for her curvaceous body. She was looking up, and a little to her right, so it felt intimate, as if she didn't know the photographer was there. She had a black dress on. What was sexy was her pose. She was lifting her dress up just to her waist, to reveal her naked lower half. This was honestly one the sexiest images I'd ever seen, despite, or possibly because of, its tastefulness. The book this nude was in was stacked with other, lesser erotica, including one with a cover of a dated '80's nude, with a very soft focus reminisant of cheap porn, of a woman with black "big hair" and caked on makeup, wearing latex thigh-highs and hanging onto a dancing pole. It was totally tasteless, and not sexy, as it nearly destroyed the woman's actual beauty. I thought it was wrong that these two books had been put side by side, so I left the other copies of the tasteful erotica book on a nearby table, hoping that the next person in search of tasteful erotica would find them. What was going on with this poor quality erotica book is representative of why porn generally isn't sexy. It's sexually explicit, yes, but not "sexy." Lots of soft core tries to derive sexiness from focusing on women's genitalia, or having her display it. Anymore, hardcore doesn't often pretend to be anything other than what it is, artificial displays of sex acts to try to elicit a kneejurk reaction, no pun intended. What both typically fail to recognize is that women are inheritly sexy. Sexiness is not derivative!! That's the problem with many people's idea of "what is sexy."
Finally, how about DOMAI? Are the nudes of DOMAI sexy? Yes. I think they may be more sexy in the true sense of the word than most products claiming the title. The important thing about DOMAI is that it DOESN'T claim the title of "sexy"! I proved this statement to myself by doing a domain-specific Google search to see if DOMAI at any time actually proclaimed it's site to sexy. Result? Not once! DOMAI's nudes are proclaimed to be BEAUTIFUL, rather than "sexy," and beauty is the POINT! On DOMAI, unlike practically everywhere else these days, beautiful women are allowed to be beautiful, and not forced to be. The beauty of their bodies is captured, with no attempt to derive sexiness out of them. Sure, they wear some makeup and strike poses, but it simply isn't the commercialized "packaged sex appeal" ideal.
Once, I saw an airbrush artist who worked for a famous magazine, FHM I think, working on a photo of Jennifer Aniston. It was a regular looking photo, with her in a natural pose, fully clothed. Her shirt was short, and her jeans low-cut, so her midsection was exposed. The first thing this airbrusher did was spot a mole near Aniston's navel. He said, "That's gotta' go," and digitally zapped her mole out of existence. He then made a comment to the effect of, "We're not like other magazines. I'm just looking for little imperfections, not reshaping her body, wholesale." This truly disgusted me. Here was a photo of a beautiful woman, but every little "flaw," which were in actuality the very character traits of her body, what made her distinctively her, had to "go." And the airbrush artist claimed this was mild alteration by compairson to other magazines!
The women of DOMAI have moles on their body. How do I know? Because I see them! They haven't been air brushed over. And moles, like the rest of the models' body character traits, serve only to make their beauty more distinctive. To put it another way, DOMAI doesn't homogenize its models. Their bodies are exposed, their beauty is exposed, their NATURAL sexiness is exposed, but it's not at all mere exposition. Rather, DOMAI eloquently captures and shows to the world beautiful women for what they are.
"What is sexy?" Women are sexy. Beauty is sexy. LET IT BE THAT WAY, instead of trying to force it to be. That's what DOMAI does, and does so well.
-Joe in Kansas