April 30th, 2008

Zivity, the “community- powered showcase promoting female beauty,” may not be the ultimate combination of web 2.0 and sexy imagery it sets itself up to be–but when it comes to presenting alternative bodies, it’s actually pretty impressive.

The site, which I featured in a Click Me last year, posts photo sets of female models–photo sets which, Zivity’s PR insists, are not porn, despite their flirty nature and, well, nudity. The way the site works is this: members buy votes for a dollar a piece so they can vote on which photo sets they like. The models and photographers then get a cut of each dollar voted.

Interesting idea, but since you can see all the photo sets without paying a cent, what’s the real incentive of buying votes? The site is still in closed beta, so it’s hard to say for sure, but it seems the economic thinking may not pan out. For exampe, at the moment the top model has 926 votes–and that’s for seven sets. Since Zivity takes 20 cents of each dollar as commission, that means the model, “Pearl,” and her photographer are splitting between them $740.80: only a little over a hundred bucks a set.

With that said, I have to admit I’m enjoying looking through the 100+ photo sets that are already up. What I like most is the variety of models. While there are plenty of busty, blond beauties, there’s also a nice selection of forms we don’t normally get to see in erotic photography. In a set titled “Breaking a Sweat,” a young woman shows off her lean, muscular body as she trains for a boxing matching. In another, a pale girl with dreadlocks, two lip rings, a polka-dotted dress rolls a collection of marbles across her bed–and her nearly flat upper half.

Of course, not all the sets are perfect. Many could use trimming (no, we don’t need to see the same picture three times from minutely different angles), and some do a better job at telling a story than others. In the overall though, all are well-light, well-framed: high quality. And the number of women I’ve seen in cabaret gear and kinky corsets is enough to make up for a whole slew of other issues…

If you’re interested, you can go to Zivity and sign up for the closed beta. I’ll also be sure to let you know when the site officially opens its doors to the public. Pretty girls with dreadlocks for all!

Tags: porn

10 Responses to “Beautiful Alternative Bodies at Zivity”

  1. Tablesaw Says:

    Really? I’ve been seeing almost exclusively thin white women.

  2. Courtney Taylor Says:

    Dreads are pretty sweet… I’ll have to check the place out.

  3. The Guy Says:

    I don’t understand why people automatically assume something’s porn if it has pictures of naked people. It can be slightly “pornographic”, but it’s not porn (as the Village Voice puts it.)

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Tablesaw, you would be right up until the last few weeks, when these more unique photo sets have been introduced. I’m hoping the trend will continue, and include more women of color and more women with non-traditional body types.

    The Guy, the issue isn’t that all images with nudity are porn: it’s that denying the label of porn so vehemently implies that there’s something wrong with being porn in the first place. What is porn if not images meant to arouse. And if you check out these photo sets, they certainly are meant to do just that…

  5. The Guy Says:

    But that could be applied to just about any image. Not to mention the double standard when it comes to male and female photosets of a similar nature.

  6. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    You think that images of men slowly stripping off their clothing wouldn’t be considered pornographic? My point is we should embrace the label, instead of being hypocritical and shying away from it.

  7. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    Gotta appreciate a girl with a Smashing Pumpkins tattoo on her pelvis ^_^

    The divide between “porn” and “erotic art” is an interesting one. Arguably, the understood difference is that porn is intended to get the viewer off, while erotic art is meant to stimulate the mind more than the genitals.

    I agree with Bonnie that we shouldn’t shy away from the pornography label, but I do believe that the label is appropriately defined by the intent of the photographer or website, and I don’t feel that Zivity intends to serve the same role as, say, Abby Winters.

  8. Tim Says:

    How does this site compare to Suicide Girls? That’s been around for ages.

  9. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Suicide Girls, to the best of my understanding, specializes in alternative girls–though not necessarily alternative bodies. Also, the suicide girls are a community of paid, regular workers, whereas Zivity models might only participate in one or two photo shoots, and not blog, etc.

  10. Andre M - photography Says:

    I’m convinced the Zivity licensing model, based on member’s votes and associated $, will attract some amazing models and photographers.


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