Kodak Gallery: The Follow Up

I wrote last time about how the Kodak Gallery book printing service refused to print my book order because of one image that they found objectionable. That posting received more comments than any other I’ve done, so I thank all ten people who decided to write. Thanks for your support, too.

Now the follow up:

A day after I spoke to customer service at Kodak, I sent a message asking to be told what specifically was wrong with the photo and asking them to reconsider their cancellation of the book order. A day later I received a phone call from Kodak. The fellow on the phone explained to me that it is Kodak’s policy to not print any photos of people “touching themselves.” I explained that she was covering herself up and not touching herself in the way that they meant it, and that they should have some flexibility in these matters. It was to no avail, and when I said that Kodak would lose me as a customer, he said that he didn’t blame me for going elsewhere.

This is unfortunate, as – to be fair – my dealings with the people at Kodak Gallery had been good. When I placed an order for a some mini-photo books shortly after and shortly before 25% sales, I called up and was given a credit for 25% of my order. For the current order, because I’d had trouble receiving items from FedEx (their one and two day carrier) in the past, they gave me a credit for free Next Day shipping. Finally, as I said, they responded promptly to my inquiry about the book cancellation.

Still, when you get down to the essentials, none of that matters if the company refuses to do what you ask them to do. So, I’ll now be looking at other book printing companies to use.

As for the photo itself, the question is, does this image cross the line from art to porn? While I agree that this image is definitely closer to the line than my other images, I still don’t think it crosses it. (Stephen Haynes said the same thing in his blog comment regarding this photo.) As someone has written elsewhere about this image, the implication of something naughty can be more erotic than overtly showing it, but does that mean it must be labeled as porn and censored out? If I had not asked her to put her hand there, then it would definitely be out of bounds, so it seems like a case of ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’ (Damn!!!) I guess I need to take a fig leaf with me to all future photo sessions so I can cover things up ‘hands free.’

Quite honestly, I view this as a very graphic image – but by that I mean geometrically graphic rather than erotically/sexually graphic. The horizontal form of her legs are paralleled by the pillows on both sides of her head. Her torso is a vertical element connecting the two horizontal forms and her arms add some diagonal elements to the mix.

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This book project was really meant to be used as a portfolio of my nude figure work to show people, but also as a precursor to something bigger. When I find a good provider, I plan to put together something for purchase by the general public that will be a retrospective of my work in fine art nude photography. That will take a while as I’ll need to review over a dozen years’ worth of photos.

For the time being, though, I hope to enter the web publishing world by offering my first calendar of B&W art nudes this month. This morning I finalized my calendar with Lulu and ordered one for myself. Once I receive it and if I’m satisfied with it, I’ll make it available for general purchase. Stay tuned.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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