- Tom- Tom
Whenever you hear those words, fasten your seat belt. You are likely to be slammed by someone about to make a cutting statement that they want to appear above saying. Felixpath’s last comments on Fine Art Sex begin on that note and he cloaks his criticisms (as does Dorn) in the guise of “people will make these accusations.” Felixpath adds: “Bianchi does not seem inclined to – or capable of – denying them.” This is not the sort of thing one says to someone who was a trial lawyer for a decade before becoming a writer and artist. And it certainly is not the sort of thing one says to someone who has written a book exactly on the topic I’m supposed to be incapable of addressing.
I’ve specifically addressed the accusations he makes (or in his words just “repeats”) in many books, articles, and interviews for over two decades. This “elitism” charge goes to the very essence of my work and philosophy of life. He says that I live in a “hyper-exclusive world reserved for the beautiful . . . and, possibly, the easy lay.” IN DEFENSE OF BEAUTY published in 1995, addresses the charge that I’m an elitist because the subjects of my work are beautiful.
That book excited lengthy lively discussion in the press over the years. My thesis was and is: we all create ourselves and the world we live in. My advice: take responsibility to make yourself and your world beautiful. I repeat the Biblical insight – Man is Created in God’s Image. What those words mean to me is that we have been given the gift of co-creation. That book has been taught in university level philosophy and religion courses for its application of this principal in our lives. And men have told me that they keep it bed-side to refer to for inspiration.
In short – yes, the men and women I shoot are beautiful. And yes, some people have a problem with that because they read it as a criticism of themselves. On more than one occasion I’ve been asked if I might do a book of nudes of “ordinary” people. I ask the question: Were I a choreographer, would you criticize me for staging dances with talented dancers?
His suggestion that I might choose my subjects because they are an “easy lay” is at best atrocious manners. The comment has nothing to do with the subjects of my work and everything to do with the sex negative judgments our culture is mired in. It’s the kind of thing a Republican presidential candidate would say. Enough said.
Anyone interested in a more full discussion of the mindset that underlies the “elitism” charge can read my book. The question really is – why do we fail to recognize and express beauty in ourselves? Why do we criticize others for cultivating this quality? Limited number of copies of IN DEFENSE OF BEAUTY, which sold out its two editions years back are available at amazon.com. We plan to reissue it because obviously, the subject remains a hot button issue.
I believe this wisdom worth repeating. Man’s dilemma is not the “reality” of his limitations. Man’s dilemma is that we are divine beings who share unlimited powers of creation and we are terrified of that truth. Many people prefer to complain of their victimhood. If we embrace the truth of our divinity – we must also embrace our responsibility to change our world.
My world is not a “hyper-exclusive” world reserved for the beautiful. But it is a world that includes many beautiful souls who share the belief that we all can be better if we attempt to address our insecurities with action.
One night in Sydney, Australia at a huge Mardi Gras party, I was approached by a man in the crowd. “You’re Tom Bianchi. I just bought your book, IN DEFENSE OF BEAUTY. I was prepared to hate it. But I read it and thought, maybe I should take better care of myself.” Then he hugged me and was off in the night.
Other posts in this series: