Abigail Solomon-Godeau
[Writer and theorist, b. 1947, New York, lives in Santa Barbara, California.]

 That erotic and pornographic photographs were produced almost from the medium’s inception should come as no surprise. That it does so is a testimonial only to the near-total elision of this fact from the standard histories in the field... Indeed, it seems reasonable to assume that almost as soon as there were viable daguerreotypes, there were pornographic ones. 

God (Judeo-Christian Version)
[Omnipotent artist, critic, creator and destroyer, before time, lives everywhere and nowhere.]

 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or likeness of any thing that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them; nor serve them... (Judeo-Christian version of God; Exodus 20:4) 

Jesse Helms
[Politician and U.S. senator, b. 1921, Monroe, North Carolina, d. 2008, Raleigh, North Carolina.]

 I do not know Mr. Andres Serrano, and I hope I never meet him. Because he is not an artist, he is a jerk. Let us examine exactly what this bird did to get $15,000 of the taxpayers’ money through the so-called National Endowment for the Arts. If they have no more judgment than that, it ought to be abolished and all funds returned to the taxpayer. What this Serrano fellow did, he filled a bottle with his own urine and then stuck a crucifix down there—Jesus Christ on a cross. He set it up on a table and took a picture of it. (1989) 

Robert Heinecken
[Photographer, b. 1931, Denver, d. 2006, Albuquerque, New Mexico.]

 I was never in a school situation where someone said, “This is the way a photograph is supposed to look.” I was completely open to cut them up, or do anything like that. I think if I had been in touch with people earlier, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that. It would have been too bizarre. 

Susie Bright
[Writer, feminist, and activist, b. 1958, Arlington, Virginia, lives in Santa Cruz, California.]

 Photographs have always been the tar baby of censors and obscenity laws. Literature can certainly (if it’s any good) conjure up the most pornographic imagination. But photographs dare to be “real.” No matter how contrived or constructed they are, there’s that damn body staring you in the face. 

Rankin (John Rankin Waddell)
[Photographer, b. 1966, Glasgow, Scotland, lives in London.]

 At the end of the day, it’s only a photograph and if someone is going to get really upset about a photograph, then they have a lot of issues. I just roll with it and see what happens. 

Judy Dater
[Photographer, b. 1941, Hollywood, lives in San Francisco.]

 I started photographing men in 1964. Fourteen years later I got a Guggenheim, even so no one would publish the male nudes. 

Camille Paglia
[Writer, b. 1947, Endicott, New York, lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

 I’ve often said the best pornographers were raised Catholic, which gives you an intense sense of taboo. I know I have it, as did Mapplethorpe and Warhol, and so does Madonna. Without taboo, you can’t get the supercharge of porn. 
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