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By Doug Brunell | May 1, 2006

There is no doubt that some people will view this documentary as pornography or obscene. Photographer Nick Karras would have a decidedly different take on the idea, however. He’s the man who has captured a hundred up close shots of vulvas and has presented them in a book called “Petals.” Karras sees women’s genitalia as one of the most artistic things in nature, like flowers and snowflakes. It’s hard to argue with his take, as his photos are quite remarkable, and they look right at home hanging in a fine art gallery.

This movie isn’t simply about Karras and his camera, though. It’s also about people’s reactions to his work and how modern society deals with sex. From man-on-the-street reactions to a meeting with “Hustler” magazine, Karras and others ponder why this particular piece of anatomy has been worshipped by some cultures and barely spoken about by others.

Anyone who watches this thinking it is going to be pornographic or even erotic (though Karras’ photos are erotic in one sense) will be sorely disappointed. This is a serious look at Karras’ work. It’s not titillating or prurient. If anything, it’s kind of scholarly, and it makes for interesting viewing.

This film is well worth watching for anyone who is serious about the artistic side of the vulva — nature’s ultimate representation of beauty, desire and power. The sexually repressed and masturbation material seekers will have to get their kicks elsewhere, though.

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