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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Frodo's Birthday Mathom ... and the use of film-Frodo's image for erotica

Posted on 2005.09.22 at 22:58
Tags: , , , , , ,
Before the Fire-TEASER

*drum roll*

AND NOW, for more than a "Glimpse"....

Greetings, hot Frodo fans, I finally am back from work. I was crushed, crushed, crushed to have to leave this journal entry in a state of "hobbitus interruptus," but it couldn't be helped.

Well, here goes....

Happy Birthday, Frodo!!!!!!

Now, I promised in my "glimpse" notice (re-posted above), that I would be serving up a hot Frodo manip in celebration of his birthday. I think I have one on my hands (so to speak). Bear in mind that although it is not actually pornographic, it is erotic and NOT WORK-SAFE (unless you work in a pretty liberal place!). I would rate it a mild "R".

After the Bath: Frodo Before the Fire....


*Sigh*... Although it is not a literally faithful illustration (the towel is of a modern sort and he is not dripping wet), I thought it would make a wonderful illustration for Ch. 11 of Threshold, "The Fire Upon the Hearth."

I find it utterly, utterly swoon-worthy.

Edited to add:

A reader of this LJ entry who doesn't know me wanted to know if I'd done any other Frodo manips. I had put a link to my stuff on my User Info page, but I suppose no one looks at that. *rolls eyes*

For you who don't know of it, I have done a several manips in which I finesse a film-Frodo face into a work of art -- a painting or sculpture -- in order to highlight what a classical beauty I think he is. Some are rather funny; some are beautiful. Some were made just to see how film-Frodo looks in the dress of other eras.

Here's a link to my 9-page album of "Frodo Art Travesties":



There is another version of this manip. I will post a link for it below. I would rate it, "NC-17", and, I would call it porn-ish. Bearing that in mind, if you found the "R" version not work-safe, the "NC-17" version would be work-safe only if you worked in a bordello.

The trials and tribulations of looking for the right body...

Credit must be given to Shoesparks in the making for both versions. The inspiration to make them at all sprang from seeing a manip she made the other day. I was browsing my Friends list when I scrolled past an entry in which she said had made an EW manip that was "Mature! Not real! A manip! NC-17! Not work-safe!".

Naturally, I simply had to look at it.... (If you want to see her very racy EW manip, it's "friends-locked." But on her User Info page, shoesparks does say that she is quite open to friending people.)

Her EW manip was definitely, explicitly ... hot. As very racy erotica goes, I really liked it. I thought her manip was far more explicit and, happily, far less "prettified" than what most makers of Frodo erotic manips produce (such as the sort a fan presented to EW during a press conference and which was flashed onscreen when Graham Norton interviewed him before the Oscars -- racy but rather artificial looking; perhaps because of all the airbrushing and the mismatch of facial expressions).

What Shoesparks did was simply to put an Elijah Wood head onto the body of someone who was a fairly good match for him, a nice one. The body wasn't the usual sort available -- if you have ever tried to Google up images of naked men. I did -- for hours -- when I was looking for a body like the one Shoe used in her manip. All the "naked men" sites seem to cater to gay men and feature herky, body-builder guys with a ton of muscles. If I looked up "naked boys" I also got gay sites, but filled with non-descript snaps shots of pimply, stringy older youths with forced or nervous "Come hither" looks on their faces as they posed on beaches or their bedrooms. None of these would do. I wanted a nice-looking body of a young adult male, but not herky. Was that so much to ask? I wanted to do a Frodo manip, after all, not one of Boromir or an Uruk-Hai.

The body Shoesparks had used was verrrry nice in a lightly-built way. He was shown seated, just from the tops of the thighs up. I knew it wasn't Elijah Wood's body, of course. Not only would EW never pose for such a shot in a million years, the torso was nicer than what EW displayed in Cirith Ungol (cute as it is with his little tum-tum). When I could not find a comparable body on Google images, I finally e-mialed Shoesparks and asked if I could make a Frodo manip using whatever she used for her EW manip. She is such a kind person, she sent the original image along and gave me a lot of good manip-making advice, too. (* See OT note about Shoesparks below.)

Erotica or soft-core?

In my manips, both versions of "Frodo After the Bath" were made from the same raw materials: a famous film-Frodo headshot, and the body from the picture she sent me: a young man with a forgettable face but a very nice, lightly-built torso who appeared to be posing for soft-core porn or a "male pin-up" site.

For my "R" version (the "tasteful" version, LOL), I cropped off the naughty bits from the original and did some additional colour work. I also painted over the model's leg, which, in the uncut version had been thrown over the arm of the chair in which he is seated. Once the pubic portion of the image had been cropped off, it made the bit of leg that remained look extremely odd. So I added extra towelling and painted over the rest of his leg to match the abdominal area.

The end result of the changes was to produce a manip that looked far more like a painting than a photo. That is why I think, although it is erotic, it is erotic in a tasteful way. Even more does it come across as "tasteful" because there is no sense that Frodo is thinking any sexual thoughts in it. The viewer may have all the sexual thoughts she wants, but, in the image, Frodo could be thinking absolutely anything at all.

In the linked "NC-17" version I made, below, that claim cannot be made, since the subject is touching himself sexually. It is not just that a portion of the genital area shows. After all, David's genitals show even more in Michelangelo's famous sculpture, yet few people think the statue is pornographic. But in the statue, although David is completely naked, he is not portrayed in an eroticised way. He's just standing there, not fiddling with himself, as if he were trying to sexually excite the foes of Israel into submission, for heaven's sake.

However, I have defused some of the "porn" flavour of the original photo I used by not using direct eye contact. In the original photo the model is handling himself while looking directly at the viewer. This immediately reads as pornographic, since the implication is that the model is handling himself because he wants to excite the viewer. In my version, since I have used a contemplative Frodo face that is looking away, the resulting photo implies that the viewer is observing Frodo unawares. The picture does not suggest that he attempting to excite the viewer, merely that he is pleasurably fondling himself. That makes a very different sort of effect, in my opinion. The resulting manip comes off for me as "erotic," more than "pornographic," although it is explicit.

After the Bath: Frodo Before the Fire ~ NC-17 Version....

Note: I had posted a link to this image then got cold feet and deleted it, asking people to email me, instead. In the morning I thought I was being silly. "Who reads these entries other than about a dozen people, all of whom know that I have a penchant for Frodo erotica, all of whom are of age? They can make their own choices." I restored the link. But, what do you know? I decided to delete the link again. *sheepish face* The fact is, who can resist a link, even if they are sorry they looked once they have clicked it? I never can resist, personally, and have seen things I wished I hadn't. Anyway, if I feel this conflicted about it, I guess I should take it down. If you just "must" see it, here's my email address again:


My apologies for my shilly-shallying.

The only thing I have done to "tone down" my own "NC-17" treatment of that porn shot is to trim back the view of the sexual parts slightly and to warm up the colour a great deal, to produce a "firelit" look. Most of all, it has been de-porn-ized by choosing a head shot that is not looking at the viewer. If I had used a Frodo head shot looking right at the viewer, it would be a straight porn shot. For him to be looking away, unaware of the viewer, softens the effect of the picture quite a lot (I think).

I wanted to address a touchier subject than what makes a picture erotica or porn, however, which is the prickly affair of using the body of a real person (as opposed to a painting or sculpture) to produce a manip. For me, it changes the "feel" of looking at this NC-17 version of my manip, to know it has been made from a photo of a real person, and not from a work of art. I know that I am looking at somebody's real stuff, even if he's a paid model. Of course, someone posed for the David, but that was ages ago, and it wasn't an erotic depiction, anyway. This photo's model is probably still around. And the photo is clearly meant to arouse the viewer; it was never intended to be "art."

Using film-Frodo's image for fanfic or fanart.

Which brings me to what has been an even touchier subject (for me, anyway): the legitimacy of putting film-Frodo's head into such pictures. Film-Frodo is the creation of a real person using his real face and body. Should I feel so free to use his image as Frodo in these ways? Ever since I saw those manips that appeared on the Graham Norton show, I have been thinking, "His head may make a hot manip, but is it right? Is it respectful or courteous to use his film image for erotic pieces?" I haven't finished thinking about it, but here's a bit of what I think at this point.

Originally, I had been shocked and offended to see and read things portraying Frodo in compromising situations, which explicitly used film-Frodo's image -- that is, not just manips or drawings, but fanfics, too, in which the Frodo depicted has clearly been made in the image of film-Frodo. I thought it was wrong to use a real person's face in this way.

I have modified that opinion since then. Perhaps it is merely a matter of becoming more jaded, but I think I have come to agree with what a certain poster said at K-D on this issue. She wrote that at this point, she no longer closely identified Elijah Wood the actor with the character he created for the screen the way she once had; the actor and his portrayal were now two different entities for her. EW has moved on, she said -- she could finally see it. His film-Frodo would remain in glory, no matter what he did or didn't do during the rest of his career, but film-Frodo now had a life of his own. I thought about it and decided she was right. For example, when folks see a picture of film-Frodo, they don't say, "I just loved Elijah Wood as Frodo!" They say, "I just loved Frodo!" Screen Frodo is a separate entity from his actor now. When I see an image of film-Cowardly Lion in an ad or sequel or a spoof, I don't think, "Ah, that's Bert Lahr [as the Cowardly Lion]," I think, "Ah, that's the Cowardly Lion." Period. Bert Lahr created the role, but the film portrayal has became a separate thing; the screen interpretation of the Cowardly Lion has had a life of its own for generations.

I think this now is true of film-Frodo. It is clear that some version of film-Frodo stars in much fanfic -- and virtually all erotic fanfic. Why should I be surprised to see film-Frodo's image being used, in a visual medium, to depict fanfic-Frodo (i.e. eroticised Frodo)? Few seem to mind this, in principle, when I think about it. I rarely hear objections made against artists or writers using film-Frodo's image (or personna) if they are using it to depict Frodo in a gen work (whether written of visual). The use of his image is only decried when the Frodo in the piece is depicted doing something highly rated (whether het or slash).

When I put it that way, it seems to me it should amount to the same thing. Nevertheless, I still have a lingering sense that it is indiscreet (if not wrong) to use film-Frodo's image for highly rated work (whether by the use of words or by the use of line and colour). Some are offended on Elijah Wood's behalf ("What must EW think so see his image used that way?!?!?"), some are offended on book Frodo's behalf ("How could anyone depict canon Frodo that way -- as if he would ever do such things -- especially looking like that!"). Some hate Frodo portrayed in anything highly rated no matter what sort of image of him is called upon for the purpose.

I suppose I just wanted to say that I am aware that what I have done in my fanfic and even my "tasteful" manips takes liberties with film-Frodo's image and personna, and with Tolkien's Frodo. I suppose I am confessing that I although I am going ahead and doing it, I feel the ambiguity of it. Maybe, for me, how uncomfortable I am about it depends on the degree or tone. When I read or look at work that features Frodo erotica I find that if it is well-done, and does not demean or trash its protagonist, I enjoy it. When I feel that it does seriously demean or warp Frodo, I don't.

But, having said that, I guess it's still a matter of preference. My "tasteful erotica" is someone else's "smutty trash."

Well, it's late and I wasn't supposed to have fiddled with this all night. *looks around to see the pub is empty*


*Important OT note on the goodness of Shoesparks ... I don't know her, really, but she must be a big-hearted person. Here is a link to one of her recent entries, scouting around for anyone who knows of Hurricane Katrina victims who have become homeless and are looking for somewhere to live. She and hers live a large piece of rural land with room for others to come and stay. It sounds as though her wider community would be welcoming to refugees of the hurricane, too. I am posting her link, in case any of you know of any folks looking for shelter after the disaster.

Heads up, Bree, since you are down in LA and have been volunteering in relief efforts.

Shoespark's entry regarding offering Katrina victims asylum:


~ Mechtild


(Anonymous) at 2005-09-23 08:43 (UTC) (Link)

Really beautiful.

Thank you Mechtild,

That manip is, imo, both tasteful and swoonworthy. Remember the saying regarding the eye of the beholder. I feel that it applies here.

mechtild at 2005-09-23 12:27 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Really beautiful.

((((Estë)))), I am so glad you liked it.

I keep saying, "this is my LAST manip!"-- but then I saw Shoe's manip had "had to" try it.

*sheepish grin*

~ Mechtild
wendylady1 at 2005-09-23 19:03 (UTC) (Link)
Well..I'm shocked !!!
Not only do you take our innocent Mr. Frodo and make him out to be some kind of SEX SYMBOL, but you don't even have the grace to use the original actor's body to do it ...

Disgraceful !!!

( Can I have the NC-17 rated version...pretty please !! Otherwise I might just have to stamp my foot and sulk...)
mechtild at 2005-09-23 22:35 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, for heaven's sake, Wendy. I'll send it along. *grin* The image does show partial "silmarils" and "tent peg", though (ask a regular Haremite for a translation). The manip's effect is saved, I think, by using a facial shot that does not have direct eye contact. If it had (had direct eye contact), it would have looked thoroughly indecent. (Instead of almost thoroughly indecent. *winky*)

It's not as though Frodo Baggins is the sort of hobbit who would pose for on-line erotica, now, is it? But it's quite another thing to, "catch him unawares."

~ Mechtild
maewyn_2 at 2005-09-24 14:45 (UTC) (Link)
Hmmmm. You have been busy! It's funny you know, the first thing (or maybe it the second thing?!) I thought when I looked at your link was, "Hasn't he got skinny legs"!

I can understand your reluctance to show it, there being such a fine line between porn and erotica. I think this picture just tips the balance to erotica because, as you said, he's not looking at the camera, as well as the artful editing that limits the view of "the goods".

Besides all that, I really like the chest. Very nice.
mechtild at 2005-09-24 15:31 (UTC) (Link)
Maewyn, You're RIGHT! I was so busy admiring his face, torso and *parts*, I never noticed -- that leg does look skinny. And I always pictured Frodo having fairly sturdy legs from all the hiking (and, in fanfics, from shagging). But his chest and arms I pictured as being whatever they would have been with only natural health and strength.

Frodo doesn't work out and he's not a manual labourer. There's no reason for him to have developed his upper body muscles. I know some fics feature a miserable childhood working like an indentured servant, but I see no reason that the real Frodo lifted his hand to any physical work more demanding than preparing meals and using a quill pen. Not on any regular basis, anyway.

~ Mechtild
(Anonymous) at 2005-09-24 16:55 (UTC) (Link)

Oh lala, Mechtild!

What an amazing manip, again! *rubs eyes*
I have to say, I like the version that shows only his upper torso best. (Like Maewyn said, nice chest!) - For a moment I wondered, if I am prudish? But I don't think so - I've done lots of nude drawings in my life, that is, I had more than plenty opportunity to study male body parts in great detail, and I always found the more or less cloaked version more inviting (call me Christo) - but that is just me, and a matter of personal preferences anyway. So, whichever of the three variations will appeal to someone, every single one is great. Thanks (((Mechtild)))

~ Greetings, Whiteling
mechtild at 2005-09-24 17:08 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh lala, Mechtild!

Yes, I like the chest one best, too, by far (that is, the one with the full torso). Not just because of the skinny leg, either, LOL.

The full torso one is just so ... painterly. And I love the atmosphere of it. As you say, the cloaked version is more inviting. It is also more evocative. I said it lamely in my rambling entry, but the face I used is so inward and so contemplative and the "painting," look is so subdued, it allows for "applicability" on the viewer's part. The viewer is free to let the picture be for her whatever she imagines.

The more explicit a picture is, the less varied its "applicability." In the explicit version I linked, because of his hand, the image becomes clearly sexualized. The image without the hand lets the viewer imagine Frodo sexually, but in a variety of other inner moods and thought worlds.

Tell me, though, Whiteling, would you remove the link if it were you? I still feel very ambivalent about it. I know there is a lot more randy stuff out there, but it is not "my" randy stuff. I still worry that the picture demeans him.

~ Mechtild
(Anonymous) at 2005-09-24 19:21 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh lala, Mechtild!

Tell me, though, Whiteling, would you remove the link if it were you? I still feel very ambivalent about it. I know there is a lot more randy stuff out there, but it is not "my" randy stuff. I still worry that the picture demeans him.

Oh dear, Mechtild, that's one difficult question. I can fully understand your ambivalent feelings - where shall one draw the line between erotica and porn? Plus, there is the fact that looking at pictures is always sort of dialogue - a picture is nothing without a beholder. Your rendition is one thing, but you cannot know what the eye of the beholder will make of it. But you said it already, people who click on your link, are probably both old enough and self-responsible. They decide to see it (like I did, obviously ;) )
Remove the link? Well, that depends on your own feeling. If you are too uncomfortable with it, than take it down. Anyone interested in it will get it, all the same. (Just my humble opinion, of course!)

~ Whiteling
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2005-09-24 15:48 (UTC) (Link)
White Gull, I am glad you enjoyed the swoony manips. You can see why they couldn't go in the Harem. *grin*

On another note, Mechtild, you really do need to read my "Autumns's Gift" after the comments at the harem. Then, let me know what you think, if you find it as "dig worthy" as Ariel does. :)

About "Autumn's Gift," I know roughly that your story is based on Ariel's and Aratlithiel's "Autumn's Requiem." If I recall, that fic told the story of a tryst between Rosie and Frodo just before he left on the Quest but that when Frodo came back, he was a broken hobbit (in the amor department) and Rosie put her little crush aside, still loving him, but in a nurturing, non-eroticised sort of way.

In a thread or an email, I am sure you mentioned that your own story revives that affair between Frodo and Rosie, post-Quest. So, I am guessing Frodo is the father of Elanor in your story. Is that what you mean?

But then, what do you mean about Ariel finding the vig you posted in The Harem, "dig worthy"? Ariel has told me that she wrote a fic she really loves, in which Frodo leaves a child behind, so I know she sympathetic towards stories in which Frodo leaves offspring. She mentioned that child again in a separate fic (that I did read and liked a lot) in which Aragorn is remembering the Ring-bearer during one of Arwen's pregnancies.

But in The Harem, I thought her joke was about the likelihood that Frodo could have made Rosie pregnant if the child was born 12 months after he left the Shire (unless hobbits carry their infants longer in utero than humans do).

~ Mechtild
mechtild at 2005-09-24 16:00 (UTC) (Link)
Ah! White Gull, I just opened The Harem and see you answered my question about how Frodo could have fathered that child. So, there was special intervention in this case.

Silly me for not checking first! D'oh! I apologize for not reading the other post first, White Gull.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2005-09-24 16:28 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, NOT Elanor! That much be some fics by other people; I know I have heard of it as an explanation of Elanor's Elvishness more than once.

I haven't time to read a long story, is the problem, White Gull. I am terribly behind in my writing. Or do you mean that I needn't read all of Autumn's Gift but only need to read the story you mentioned in The Harem?

P.S. Important: since these last posts constitute spoilers for your story, should I delete them from this LJ entry? Or shall I leave them as a form of advertising? *grin*

P.P.S. On my "despondent over my writing" comment.

I have been pausing in my work (for two months, already - that's a BIG pause!) to revise Chs. 1 -7. (I wrote those in one block a year ago, later dividing them into chapters.) Anyway, after posting Ch. 12 in August, I decided I had so many details piling up, I really needed to go back and make chapter summaries so I could keep track of them. But, when I did, I found that I was not happy with the level of my writing in those early chapters. I didn't feel I could go forward, in fact, without improving them. Not just the writing seemed substandard to me, but some of the nuances of character no longer synched with how the characters had developed in the later chapters.

Anyway, it's taken forever and has made me worry that I will continue to feel disappointed with the story in this way. Being thrilled with it at first, but then looking back a year later and thinking, "I really am not happy with the quality," and wanting to fiddle with it all over again. I am not sorry I did this, for the story is really better, but it's very daunting and piles on extra worry that it is all taking so long, I'll be my only reader by the time I finish!

~ Mechtild
Map-Maker, Lighthouse-Keeper
marinshellstone at 2005-09-24 15:21 (UTC) (Link)
SUCH a beautiful icon...

I am so glad we are lj friends now!

Happy birthday, Frodo!
mechtild at 2005-09-24 15:49 (UTC) (Link)
Hadara! Howdy! I am so glad you liked the manip.

~ Mechtild
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2005-09-24 16:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, White Gull. I feel encouraged. ((((hug))))
breelee10 at 2005-09-25 04:39 (UTC) (Link)
*clears throat*

Must I really ask? My appetite has been duly whet! Send it on over!! And I, personally, refer to all of your works as tasteful erotica. We are classy ladies here; for really, only a truly classy lady would fall for Mr. Frodo.

And maybe I'll stick my pinky out while I view your works; I hear that's how the Queen drinks her tea. ;)
breelee10 at 2005-09-25 04:40 (UTC) (Link)
oh, and thanks for the link to shoespark's lj. What an awesome offer...
mechtild at 2005-09-25 20:02 (UTC) (Link)
Bree, I am back home and just sent you an email.

maeglian at 2005-09-25 09:42 (UTC) (Link)
Mechtild, I've been meaning to comment on your thoughts and worries in this, but time has just been rushing away from me. So here they are, though belatedly.

I do see Elijah Wood's *Frodo* as a separate and fictional entity by now. The actor has moved on, it's years since he donned the wig and costume for the last time. New film viewers will meet and hopefully love his Frodo for many, many years to come - and they will certainly mainly see *Frodo*, not Elijah the real person as he currently is. This is what made me feel sufficiently comfortable to start posting the real swoony stuff in the Harem, for instance.

I am entirely mindful of Elijah Wood's right to privacy and would not want to overstep any boundaries in that regard. I've always kept well away from RPF and RPS as a consequence - I think such things amount to speculation and innuendo and prying into an actor's life no matter how much the fic is labeled as "Fiction, not real". By now I also think that mooning and squeeing over RL pictures of him is far more intrusive that similarly enjoying Film-Frodo pics. Again, this is because Frodo *is* a fictional character - a product of the actor and makeup and film effects and script and direction. Frolijah is a character moreover that the actor has created and deliberately put up there on the big screen specifically for people to enjoy, ponder, interpret and be inspired by. And there are many forms of inspiration.

EJW's private life though he shouldn't have to see used likewise, nor do I think he's ever really offering it up for such use. And increasingly I'm seeing the more pushy and eager and overly enthusiastic fandom activities as too intrusive, as overstepping the boundaries to his right to his own life, time (and looks).

When it comes to Frodo manips, I am of two minds. (EJW manips I won't even look into - I'm certain they excist though, and probably in abundance.... )

Frodo manips..... well, your art manips are plain and utterly and nothing but delightful, even the racier ones, IMO. Not only do they have an element of tongue-in-cheek humour that softens any "drooling and ogling" aspect; - the viewer is being invited to smile lovingly at her own infatuation. They furthermore show the head of a fantasy figure included in yet another obvious fantasy world - one of flying gods and mysterious draperies, nymphs and knights or midieval peasants and gentry, or mermaids..... It has an overall air of inventive fiction, fantasy, imagination that removes the content very far from the actor.

When it comes to manips of the "Theban Band" kind, I'm a little bit more doubtful. Since EJW himself has gone on TV to joke about them publicly, seeming quite unperturbed, I assume that he, at least, isn't too disturbed by such things' excistence as long as they're not showed in his face at inappropriate moments. Still, be it because they show a very neutral background that doesn't add a fantasy element, be it because the manips do go out of their way to make it look like several very recognizable actors, made-up as their film characters, actually posed for the pictures: I still, personally, do not feel entirely comfortable with such images. Though in fact their actual content is quite decent, IMO: Erotic, emotional, filled with loving; - certainly far removed from anything hard-core pornish.

So to conclude rather lamely: I am not certain where I personally draw the line between comfort and discomfort. I think it's really based on judgement on a case-by-case basis, along the lines I've elaborated on above.

It's certainly a topic that should never go "cold" in the fandom, though. It needs to be examined and thought carefully through by fans - but there will be very many different answers and opinions as a consequence.

ETA: I deleted and edited some. Toomany words were missing for the first version to be legible.
mechtild at 2005-09-25 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I'm back from a spate of duties and family crises, but wanted to grab a moment to respond.

Maeglian, that was a great post. Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful answer. And thank you, too, for writing that utterly gorgeous vignette based on it, over in The Harem thread. I'm putting a link to it, just for my future reference!

Maeglian's vignette in "Frodo's Harem" Post #389, 9-25-05: http://www.khazaddum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=309598&postcount=389

You are, of course the "other poster" to whom I referred above, but I did not want to identify you without your permission, especially if I inadvertently misrepresented your views through poor remembering.

I think you made a very good point about the "Art Travesty" manips being as "harmless" as they are because they are firmly grounded in another imaginative universe – art from another era. Even when they were made from straight portraits, not mythical scenes, they clearly were art works from another era.

That very thing, though, was what made me feel so iffy about this latest manip (“After the Bath”). Although it ended up looking "painterly," it was made from a photo. A photo is only one step removed from reality, as compared to a painting or sculpture, which is an extra step removed (having already been rendered through that artist's imagination). Unlike the work I did on the “R” version, very little of the original image was changed for the NC-17 version. I did some finessing and softened the lighting, but, in my own mind I knew it was a photo … which made me feel very ambivalent about displaying it.

Still, I do love it, skinny leg and all. And, if you can believe me, Maeglian, I love it all the more because it inspired you to write that Harem vignette. It made the making of it that much more worthwhile, to have contributed to that.

About the Theban Band sorts of manips...

I think those most don't work for me not so much because I feel so iffy over whether it's justifiable to make the film actors/characters "pose together" in that manner, but because they often don't work for me as manips. The airbrushing used to finesse the seams and joins is excessive for my tastes, giving the images an overly sentimental, greeting-card look that I don’t warm to. But such work is undeniably pretty and many fans love that. The main important drawback to appreciating them as manips (for me), is their “posed” quality. I have assumed that this is the result of having to import two images into one composition in which they have to look as though they are relating intimately. The "art travesty" manips are difficult enough, and I only have to plug one face into an existing painted scene. To plug in two faces (or even two entire torsos) is much harder. The result is a lack of convincing eye contact as well as an artificially posed look, as if they are in a tableaux rather than an actual scene. The one piece of theirs that works well for me shows the characters with their eyes shut, so that it isn't so apparent that the two faces are imported in from elsewhere.

Your remarks about RPF art and fic are something I will have to talk about in another post. This is getting long (as usual!) and dinner is waiting for me to prepare it. But you made excellent points, carefully expressed. ~

theartoffic at 2006-05-16 15:24 (UTC) (Link)
Okkkaaayy this is soooooooo so sooooo hot *fans self* *needs more fans* omg! I want to touch him! Well i always want to touch him but like this!!! This has got to be the hottest manip i've ever seen of him, and i love it, and i think i'm a little in love with you too! Hope you don't mind all the squee in your journal :)
mechtild at 2006-05-16 22:32 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, there cannot be too much squeeing. We all have squeed for this one. It did come out beautifully. I love to gaze at him in it myself.
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