Black Label Magazine Publisher Opines on Value of 'Artcore'

LOS ANGELESErotic photographer Lincoln Mark Lease, who created Black Label Magazine as the exclusive outlet for his work, offers his thoughts on the "artcore" aesthetic that characterizes his photography in the essay below:

Hardcore pornography is everywhere. A new site pops up on the internet daily, from free tube sites to pay sites. Much of it is the same: brightly (and often flatly) lit, focused on getting the sex act from angles you’d never actually see in the bedroom. To see a vagina or a set of breasts just plug the slang terms for those pieces of anatomy into Google, and from there be overwhelmed with images to choose from. All of them are about the sex act. That hardcore scene or image is meant to stimulate the libido for ten or thirty minutes, and then it’s forgotten as soon as you search for the next one. What’s been lost is the stimulation of the mind and soul, the narrative, and the fantasy that you can carry on.

It is fairly undeniable the nude form of a woman is universally revered for its beauty. Over the past few decades photographers, videographers, and directors have sought to be more and more bold in their depictions of nakedness and eroticism, and that has led us to where we are now. That now is that it's really no longer bold to graphically depict explicit sexual acts or nudity.

What is bold now, and definitely more of a challenge, is to depict and convey the idea of eroticism and sensuality rather than to graphically depict the act itself. There is something to be said for leaving something to the imagination. Over proliferation of porn has made us lazy. We don’t actually fantasize anymore. Instead we watch the fantasies of someone else play out and allow that to be implanted in our brains, claiming it as ours. When the act is there in front of us, we don’t think and ponder and dream of what we would do when instead only a scene and a beautiful woman is presented to us.

With Black Label Magazine, I have attempted to revive this lost niche—artcore, not hardcore. The idea behind artcore is to create imagery—whether in still or video—that crafts the beginning of a narrative; these are pieces of work that are meant to be studied, absorbed, and allow you to unleash your erotic imaginings. Artcore sets a scene but does not direct the fantasy. You are presented with the situation, and you do with it what you will.

The female form is the most beautiful of nature’s creation—the very embodiment of eroticism. Part of its beauty and power is in its mystery. Both men and women can appreciate and indulge in this, perhaps even together.

I am presenting the challenge of creating something more cerebral, something that people will think about long after they’ve seen it, and something that stimulates more than just the libido. Artcore strives to provide imagery that begs to study, revere, and immerse.

Pictured: Olive Glass, photographed by Lincoln Mark Lease.