Artistic versus Erotic Photography
Erotic photography and artistic photography art are two distinct photographic forms. Nude photography has nude content but no specific sexual aims except an exposure of one's sexuality and potential freedom on film. Erotic art is sexually, although not pornographically so, and has tones of sexual explicitness. Erotic photography is not pornographic in nature in that the same sexual explicitness is not shown.
Artistic photography is a creative expression of what could be a multitude of thoughts and feelings. Artistic nude photography is a depiction of the human form in its creation as a whole, as was shown from the earliest expressions of nude art created centuries ago by the Greeks, and before that in the statues of the nude Venus of Villendorf that were buried in the ground outside the caves of Neanderthals. That has morphed into other areas over the centuries, and what one person considers art may be quite different than another person's idea.
The erotic photographer's main objective is creating a print that conveys a sexual and sensual atmosphere. While the print itself might be considered art, the motive behind the photography was sensual or sexual, therefore creating an erotic piece of art. The eroticism conveyed in the print, whereas an artistic print can lack sexual tones completely, is what labels erotic art "erotic".
Gay photography was considered pornography for many years and is still stigmatized today. The erotic images of men and women taken for their lovers or for publications catering to the gay community are often thoughtfully done. Culturally speaking, gay photography has influenced much of the way photography in the erotic (and advertising) sense is viewed today. Dianora Niccolinni was an Italian photographer who photographed male nudes. Her photography influenced many of the popular portrait artists of the last 20 years at least, ranging from Herb Ritts to the Calvin Klien ads. Robert Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts and many other prominent photographers are gay and have contributed many fine pieces of erotic art to the art world.