I was in New York a few weeks ago as the city became embroiled in the “Weiner Weener” controversy. Since I was a fan of Weiner, and couldn’t believe that a public official would be stupid enough to put numerous racy photos of himself out on the internet (especially a guy named Weiner), I first assumed it was some kind of silly mistake. Though my wife and I prefer to trade pictures of our yellow lab, I could envision that a couple that had only been married a few months might be exchanging very personal photos, and perhaps a “cock hacker” had invaded their digital domain. But sadly that was not the case.
I suspect it is best that Weiner go – though there seems a great inconsistency in the punishment doled out to politicians that succumb to their carnal desires. Tweeting photos of your junk seems less severe than, say, trying to pick up other men in airport restrooms, the “cigar as phallus” trick with an intern, using public funds to go “hiking” with your mistress, or dumping your cancer-ridden wife for a younger model (this is a popular one with both political parties). That being the case, mass sexting (especially to teenagers) is just creepy, and there is nothing wrong with expecting our elected officials to behave with a modicum of good taste and control.
But there is another important issue here that the press is not addressing. As one who makes a living making clients’ products look incredibly appealing – I could not have been more disappointed in Weiner’s salesmanship of his own unit. Lets face it – they were just bad photos! If he insists on being a perv, many of us would have at least appreciated a little craftmanship to his efforts.
A caveat here…. I am certainly not an expert on genital photography. Those younger than 25 probably don’t appreciate the complications involved with nude photography before the advent of digital cameras. In those days you had three options if you wanted racy photos:
- Build a darkroom and learn to develop your own photos – a major investment of time and effort.
- Buy a Polaroid camera, which delivered a weird sticky photo that always looked a bit nasty. Perhaps not a bad option depending on what you were going for – but in my college years I did not have enough extra money for these kind of extravagances.
- Trust that the seventy-year-old guy at the Walgreens photo counter won’t turn you in to the authorities.
Since all the above were unappealing to me I did not get a lot of experience in nude photography, but I do know quite a bit about how to make kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, fitness equipment, various tools, and other products look so appealing people can’t wait to buy them. Accordingly, if you must do it, here are a few suggestions I have on photographing your penis:
- Don’t photograph yourself. This may defeat your objective – but if you are taking shots of your own genitals you will not do them justice, you have probably had too much to drink, and you are crossing the “weird line” which could have unexpected consequences. I have never seen a photo of a naked person taking a photo of themself in the mirror, or an overhead view of a floating phallus that looked the least bit appealing.
- Prop the shot. Much of advertising photography is just putting the item being marketed in an appealing setting. Gucci likes their models to be on yachts or beach chairs. Cosmetic companies place their miracle bottles on beautiful bathroom countertops expertly lit. So put your penis in a favorable setting. Perhaps the shocked “what are you doing” look as you emerge from the shower partially covered by a fluffy white towel (this one is also easier to explain if it gets out, and also allows you to cover those love handles). In advertising photography we sometimes make the product look bigger or smaller by placing it next to something else. Since I would assume most men would like this particular shot to make them look bigger – you could prop accordingly. Maybe put some tiny doll hands near the object, or a shrunken ruler that is actually 1/2 it’s real size to make the object look huge (wait – that might be a really bad idea – I take that one back).
- Take into account the “angle of the dangle”. Perspective is everything in photography. For penis photography perhaps a low shot with the camera facing upwards would be nice, making everything look a bit more substantial.
- Consider air brushing or a body double. Most of the gorgeous celebrities you see hawking products have been so airbrushed that they only faintly resemble their real selves. This is perfectly acceptable in advertising. Personally, if for some reason I ever am inclined to send out a naked photo of myself, I plan to Photoshop my face on Bradley Cooper’s body.