It’s happened to the best of us. Instagram decides to take down your beach holiday photo because it shows a hint of female nipple yet all the lads have got their top off. Or the artistic nude you took of a still life model is taken down while many twerking-in-a-G-string videos remain online. Censorship is a tricky thing and Instagram’s form of it seems to prevent a few artworks from being shared across social platforms.
One of those artwork, of recent, is a collection of nude photography by Swedish British artist AdeY. The censorship of his work has spurred his latest exhibition and an accompanying photo book entitled Uncensored which responds to such moves by Instagram. The photographer commented “I have been silenced, harassed, censored and removed by Instagram for sharing my artworks that aim to provoke and challenge the viewer. I implore Instagram to take social responsibility and engage positively in promoting art on their platform.”
Arguably, modern society and social media forget the line that exists between nudity and erotica. In that not all nudity is erotic and not erotica excites in the nude. AdeY’s work treads this line and asks us whether we should be the judge of what’s deemed as art.
AdeY points out the hypocrisy of social media, saying you do not have to look far to find accounts with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers who regularly post images that “sexualise, objectify and degrade, in the majority of cases, women”. He adds: “How can a picture of a naked woman with her legs spread and child’s teddy bear covering her genitals be acceptable whilst my image of two men embracing in a hug cannot?”
Experimental in his approach, AdeY seeks to highlight our vulnerability, loneliness, and strengths, whilst capturing those little moments of social oppression, isolation, anxiety, and depression that appear to play a central role in the human condition.
His series imagines a world where the human body is celebrated and ourselves united. On top of or inside washing machines, around door frames and grand staircases, in dirty, litter-strewn back alleyways, and in abandoned warehouses or factories, there’s often surprising humour to each photograph, perhaps hinting at the absurdity of the world’s obsession with modesty and keeping things covered up what is natural and beautiful.
In a letter to Instagram following the removal of his account in August 2017, the artist wrote: “I’m a British photographer whose work features nude models creating images that challenge gender roles and normative behaviour within society. The images I create are never sexually driven, never about sex and not sexually suggestive. They are about equality, love, connection, acceptance, and breaking down stigmas associated with same-sex relationships.”
The images featured were taken between 2014 and 2019 at locations around the world. AdeY’s Instagram account was deleted nine times in the space of 18 months thus inspiring him to tackle this issue.