September 16, 2012

Welling's "Ecoporn"


            Welling’s article on “Ecoporn” was a term I had never heard of before, and the concept itself was something I had given very little thought too. Welling gives notion that individuals like myself, who are nature enthusiasts and lovers of the environment as a whole are being lied to in a sense. Like propaganda or product placement advertisement, individuals are seeing the nature from our living room television sets, and the environment that “they” want us to see.
            Beautiful nature calendars on sale in the mall promoting the protection of the rainforest, with every page photo shopped to eye pleasing perfection. The sunset, blues and reds dancing across the evening sky to make it seem as if the most picturesque place on earth, these are the calendars that line cubicle walls and keep us day dreaming during the mundane hours of the day. Now Welling is telling me that all this time I might be being ripped off and some of the money I donate to environmental protection, might not even be going there?

            It appeared that Welling depicts that “ecoporn” is alive and well-flourished nature photography practice of our generation. Some of the best animal central television programming is apparently cruel and over controlling and doesn’t depict the “real nature”. Shark week I suppose could be an excellent example in Welling’s case. When they show great whites off the coast of South Africa leaping out of the water for seals, the producers and video photographers are all capturing it, in a controlled setting. Using fake seals as lures to make sure to get the shot they need. At the same time all of shark weeks programming is always in promotion and species conservation of the shark. Showing the animals natural and unique beauty. Given, they center on the sharks ferocity and power, but that’s what the audience desires to see isn’t it? Sharks swimming would be boring.
            I am not entirely sure what Welling wants to change, or if he just wants nature programming to go in a different direction. Is Welling suggesting the rhetoric that nature photographers have been using for decades has finally gone stale? This is what confused about his article on “Ecoporn”, and probably why I haven’t given much though to the subject at all in the past. 

1 comment:

James Lannon said...

I too was a bit confused what Welling wanted changed, but I'll take a shot at making sense of it. I think what Welling is saying he wants changed is the dichotomies of male vs. female and the similar civilization vs. nature. Welling is pointing out that both our image of nature, and that of the female, are commodified, objectified and over sexualized. For instance, your shark week example, the sharks are being manipulated for an action shot that the omnipotent viewer (male/civilization) will find pleasing, much like in pornography the director manipulates the porn stars to please the viewer. I think Welling is saying that he wants’ an unedited, real depiction of nature that is unaffected by civilization (male who only wishes to objectify, and control to meet his own standards of satisfaction). How to do so effectively without literally immersing yourself in nature is beyond me, I ended up asking a similar question in my response.

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