NSFW: A Student's Hard-Hitting Trump Quote Photo Series Goes Viral

NSFW: A Student's Hard-Hitting Trump Quote Photo Series Goes Viral

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Ad hominem is often the type of fallacy rolled out when Trump has come under-fire for his misogynistic quotes in the past. The problem is, Trump's words about women and his political acumen are not easily separated out. This wide-spread difficulty has lead to backlash manifesting itself in a number of ways. One of the recent and most powerful ways has been Student Aria Watson's photo series.18-year-old student of Clatsop Community College in Oregon created her photo series titled "#SignedByTrump" as a project for her photography class, but it has unexpectedly garnered a worldwide audience and consequent debate.

Used with the permission of Aria Watson.

Political satirist Jonathan Pie commented on Trump's campaign by noting that the frequency and magnitude of the scandals that kept making it to press desensitized people to just how awful some of them were. Where as any one of the many misogynistic quotes would have landed other candidates firmly in the soup, Trump had developed a sort of armour from scandals made up of the corpses of other scandals. This resulted in outrage but so much fell on deaf ears. Aria's series has done wonders to apply the gravitas these quotes ought to have through making his words visual, visceral and each quote distinct from one another. If the sheer volume of misogyny was the numbing agent, then Aria's series is doing a fantastic job of bringing sensation back en masse.

Used with the permission of Aria Watson.

 

Aria started the series a few weeks prior to the election taking place but Trump's victory ignited her enthusiasm to finish the project. Aria explained to me how she is worried that the quotes in this series do not yield the appropriate consequences stating that "I'm afraid that words, and even actions like this will become a social norm." As important as the series is to Aria, it didn't come without its ordinary photographic difficulties, chiefly finding models.

I could not have done this project without the help of my models. I had such a difficult time finding people who were willing to model for me. Not only is it hard for people to strip down in front of someone and let them paint on their body, but it’s hard for a lot of people to be open about their political opinions.

One element to the images that struck me as a photographer was the choice not to include the faces of the models. With faceless portraits, there's always a chance that you will lose a connection with your audience as it is in the face where a lot of the subject's "story" lies, but it's effective here and before I mentioned to Aria why I thought that, she articulated that thought as one of her two reasons.

I decided to keep everyone's face out of the photos and keep them anonymous for two main reasons. For one, anonymity in art can be powerful, people can picture whoever they want on those bodies. The second reason is that these girls are not just models to me. They are friends, family, and one is even a self portrait.

Aria admitted that she has even come under fire for not including enough of an ethnic diversity in her series but given the sensitive nature of the project's subject, the partial nudity and the fact she lives in a small town, it was not entirely possible to branch out as much as she may have liked. Despite some criticism, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive towards Aria, even sometimes "moving her to tears".

Used with the permission of Aria Watson.

In closing, Aria wanted to thank her photography professor, David Homer, for all of his support on this series and she also has a message to all of the people who have rallied behind her project:

To everyone who has supported me and “#SignedByTrump.” don’t let anyone silence you. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you are passionate about. I don’t know why Donald Trump is in office, or how this even happened, but he is. What we need now more than ever is to come together. We are stronger together.

If you would like to see Aria discussing her project, here's a Youtube vlog she recorded yesterday: 

While there has been a lot of support for Aria, such a contentious and politically motivated project is going to usher in a lot of unpleasantness. While healthy debate is welcomed, I'd like to remind you to keep your comments reasoned and relevant. Whether you support Trump or not, this project was conducted by an 18-year-old photographer in her Introduction to Photography college class with the intention of expressing her feelings towards Trump's comments and she did not expect the series to go viral, so feedback ought to have an appreciation of those facts.

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Hans Rosemond's picture

The words of the president (or president-elect in this case) are not just bluster. They have a tangible effect on our day to day lives. Whether it be just a subtle swaying of public opinion or a sweeping change in policy, these words do, in fact, matter. To reference the specific quotes above, if misogynistic attitudes toward women are minimalized as "locker talk," it's easy to see this shifting attitude morph into shifting action as well.

Anonymous's picture

In the same way President Obama's words increased racial divide in America but I'm sure THAT was different. I'm not defending Trump but you guys can't see the hypocrisy.

I hear that refrain often. I'm honestly curious as I was never an Obama fan but never saw him as racially divisive, what statements or actions did he take that gave I'm such a reputation amongst conservatives?

Anonymous's picture

Being a much smarter politician, Obama's words never fit into sound bites like Trump's.
He consistently prejudged people accused of racism, never giving any of them the benefit of the doubt. Conversely, he always deflected blame away from all minorities in every situation.

Don't misunderstand. I don't hate President Obama or Hillary Clinton and I'm not in love with Trump. I just wish people, on both sides, were honest.

Hans Rosemond's picture

I'm having difficulty parsing where you're getting this blanket opinion of Obama. Are there specific instances?

Anonymous's picture

Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." (obvious bias)

Henry Louis Gates/James Crowley: "... I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately." (while true, if his comments were "separate and apart from this incident" there'd be no point in stating them)

Ferguson Missouri: "There's no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment Rights." (I have a hard time equating looting, vandalism, and other destruction with the First Amendment)

BLM protest at Dallas police officers memorial: “None of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune. And that includes our police departments. We know this.” (while he states "None of us" he only calls out the police)

In each of these cases, he called out the non-minority (except George Zimmerman who is half white) but said nothing about the culpability of the other(s) involved. I'd like to give more examples but I'm kinda lazy. :-)

Hans Rosemond's picture

Interesting.

Statement 1: It's fact. If he had a male child, he would have dark skin. Is that divisive or showing solidarity?

Statement 2: Also a fact. This isn't a judgement. It's fact.

Statement 3: Also a fact. Excessive force is against the law. That's why it's excessive.

Statement 4: It seems here that if anything he's being inclusive and not divisive. He's saying there is blood on everyone's hands.

You obviously have a right to your opinion, but I respectfully disagree that his statements have been divisive. I think we are all too quick to say, if someone is supporting one group, they must be against the other. But real life doesn't work that way. We deal in shades of grey every day, and I think Obama has done a good job of walking that tightrope.

I honestly don't know how to respond to this "examples". These are supposed to be "racist" statements?

Anonymous's picture

Clearly, you know how to respond. ;-)

Anonymous's picture

In each case, the facts were irrelevant to the subject he was commenting on. It would be like someone commenting on some of the same situations and stating that, 'based on percentages, African Americans commit far more crimes than white Americans.' Fact but irrelevant.

Except for your last sentence, I agree with your last paragraph.

Alex Cooke's picture

Statement 1: It's a fact. He's stating that son would be dark-skinned and thus exposed to the same racial profiling that you yourself admitted exists in the parenthetical note following your next quote.

Statement 2: "Separate and apart" not meaning "unrelated to this incident" but "in addition to and not part of some anomalous cluster," as in "this is a systemic problem (again, as you yourself admit), and therefore, we cannot dismiss this as an isolated instance of a 'bad apple.'"

Statement 3: He specifically said there was no reason for people exercising First Amendment rights in a peaceful manner to have excessive force used against them. First of all, as Hans said, excessive force is excessive; that's the point. Second, he was addressing those who were protesting peacefully but also being harassed; at no point did he equate those who were acting criminally as the same; that's a leap of logic you made by "extrapolating" his words.

Statement 4: He's being inclusive. He was at a memorial for fallen police officers; thus, if any institution is likely to be implicitly given a free pass with regards to these issues in that context, it's going to be the police, obviously. In fact, regarding that same situation, he said: "That's part of why it's so tragic that those officers were targeted in Dallas, a place that because of its transparency and training and openness and engagement has drastically brought down the number of police shootings."

I encourage you to read this article to truly understand just how remarkably balanced he has been: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/10/obama-calls-mutua...

Anonymous's picture

I will but I'm kinda busy right now. I'll let you know what I think...whether you want to know or not. ;-)

Anonymous's picture

Okay, I read the article. Sorry, I'm not buying it. I'm a Christian and you may or may not be but there's a saying, "The Devil will tell you nine truths to get you to believe one lie." I don't think I need to explain the point.

From everything Mr. Obama has said and done, I think his quotes from the article fall into that category. Nobody lives in a vacuum and while the article makes him sound balanced, taken together with everything else he's said, it's kinda meaningless.

But then, maybe I'm just clinging to my Bible (I don't have any guns).

You should watch Fox News more often...

Ever thought the sticks and stones phrase was complete BS?

Lloyd Grace's picture

. . . and this collection of comments here is exactly why he won.

Patryk M's picture

Last I checked he was NOT running for the pope seat... If only people heard everything we say... holy cow we would be in trouble. Just think some of the things that come through your head and out your mouth. Also, everyone knows he is an asshole... at least he does not hide it. Nothing worse than fake people.... they have the most to hide.

Eddie DaRoza's picture

You could write "young and beautiful piece of ass" on swimsuit model pics and it would have a completely different connotation. This entires series is pretty dishonest in my opinion.

Pedro Pulido's picture

i completely agree.

even if the author had the best intentions. i'm not judging his character here. I'm saying his work is really not strong at all... it's a wonderful idea if it's meant to make people really think about it,
hat's off for that... It has achieved one purpose.

But this work doesn't speak to me at all...there's nothing that makes me want to look at the pictures...
i just strolled down with no interest but the reading part.

sorry, just being brutally honest.

Anonymous's picture

post about a terminally ill photographer gets 1 comment this gets 40+. this site is weird.

stir photos's picture

Eminence Front

The worst part is not one of these chicks is better than a 5. Trump would grab none fvthem by the pussy. The man has standards.

Christos Dikos's picture

Self righteous moral indignation. I'm sure this artist is a Saint. Remember - Hillary and the Dems spent tons of money and resources, hired dozens of investigators going through Trumps past with a fine toothed comb. I've said worse things that I'm not proud of but I guess I'm not as Saintly as Jonathan. Good thing the internet wasn't around when JFK was in office.

In my opinion art like this serves only to divide people. Like we aren't already divided enough.

I was impressed with Fstoppers until this article.

I may be mistaken, but I thought this website was focused on the pursuit of high quality, inspirational photography and not the glorification of political trash via the use of extremely low quality imagery and even lower quality comments.

If Fstoppers has pride in, and any respect for this site and its readers, they should avoid this type of trash and spend their efforts trying to attract a higher class of contributors!

There is a time and place for political commentary and this is clearly not it!

There are enough trash outlets..... this is beyond disappointing!

Anonymous's picture

agreed. it seems this site has become something that just pushes quantity over quality. there are lots of shooters out there doing quality work that should be featured.

I'm sure there's an Alt-Photography website out there to pursue your interests. Google is your friend and foe.

Studio 403's picture

YEA for the freedom of the press. BOO for this post!. Its is forbidden to forbidden, I say. Come on FS, you are better than this "thing". Go to beach in SC and eat some crabs. You are causing us to get crabby PS, Lets keep these bloody UK bloats in check or we might build a wall and deport them to Ireland or Scotland.

hahaha cool