Does this photo turn you on?

Or do you find it disturbing? Would you describe it as moving or peaceful? Or does beautiful come to mind?

We showed eight photographs to six very different people and asked them how they responded to these images. Their answers, shown here and overleaf, provide a revealing insight into how age, sex and background affect what we see, how

we feel and the way we think


CC: Peaceful

The sand angel is peaceful. Like angels in the snow.

OJ: Peaceful

This is like when you lie on the grass, as I used to do in Cornwall, on your back looking at the sky, looking at nature. It's a very peaceful thing to do.

TS: Beautiful

The boy chilling is beautifully relaxed even though there's tension in his feet. You can feel that he's slowly but surely giving in and letting relaxation flood his soul.


CC: Moving

This is moving. It's brutal, but that's what childbirth is like. When my two were born it wasn't like this because there are usually women doing the delivery, not scary men like here. It's moving because birth is just such a fantastic phenomenon.

IF: Beautiful

Birth is beautiful. I've got two children. I don't remember the details of the birth of one because I had a Caesarean but I certainly remember both experiences as positive, beautiful and exhilarating.

MM: Beautiful

The baby being born is beautiful in artistic terms. because of the texture and abstract pattern. The diagonal of the baby, the wiggly umbilical cord, the patterns on the gown, the texture of the glove. It has a rubbery quality and the baby has a beautiful face.

Tim S: Disturbing

This baby is disturbing. It's got a really skinny stomach and a reptile body. And those black hands holding it - it's quite sinister. I am squeamish though; I've got a four-month-old son, Alfie, who was born by emergency Caesarean and I couldn't watch when he came out.


CATH CALDWELL, 33, lecturer.

ISABEL FRIEDLANDER, 50, social worker.

OLIVER JAMES, 45, psychologist.

MARTIN MALONEY, 37, artist.

TALVIN SINGH, 29, musician.

TIM SOUTHWELL, 34, editor of `Loaded'.

Interviews by Ursula Kenny

Main picture (left)

CC: Erotic

It's supposed to be erotic. It isn't.

IF: Erotic

I don't actually find this erotic, but its intent is erotic. It's boring. If I'd taken it I'd have thown it away.

OJ: Erotic

It's clever. The white sand is like a thigh, like skin. It's supposed to be a woman on her side with the sky behind. It works.

MM: Disturbing

This seems like a post-nuclear holocaust scene to me. I know it's supposed to look like a female mound but it doesn't look erotic. Anyway I'm gay.

TS: Erotic

The land looks like skin and the overgrown cacti like pubic hair. I find it highly erotic, it's a beautiful picture.

Tim S: Erotic

The sand dune looks vaguely sexual. In a way though it's quite unpleasant - it's stark and not subtle. Pictures of women with attitude and confidence are more erotic. Men are quite predictable - they like suspenders.


OJ: Beautiful

This is a beautiful photograph of a beautiful scene. It says a lot about the capacity for Indians to get on with each other in large groups, to rub along harmoniously. British people are so bad in crowds, we need personal space.


CC: Moving (not)

I think I'm supposed to be moved by the dolphin but I think it's incredibly naff.

IF: Peaceful

Reputedly dolphins have therapeutic attributes. In Florida they take autistic kids out to swim with them.

TS: Peaceful

I feel very at peace in water and always have done; I wouldn't get out of the bath when I was a kid. I recently did a diving course in Bali and it was incredible, a whole new world. Water is a fantastic substance. It's soft but unbreakable.

Tim S: Beautiful

I just find this is intoxicating. I love it. It tugs at my heart. They're knowing dolphins, majestic. They save people and they're amazing.

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