Every year, ESPN’s Body Issue is mocked for being low-brow smut masquerading as high-brow art.ESPN is being disingenuous, many people argue, selling soft-core porn but being too high and mighty to call it porn.
There’s definitely some truth to that, especially when they publish a photo of Rob Gronkowski wearing a candy necklace and a football pinata over his crotch.
But the reality is that each Body Issue includes a solid number of legitimately interesting, artistic photos that have value beyond the mere nakedness of the athletes.
While some of the magazine may exist purely as eye candy, photos like these show that the Body Issue isn’t all porn.
This photo of soccer player Carlos Bocanegra not only shows off his incredible physique, but is a beautiful work of art
In this photo, we see how sailor Anna Tuncliffe has to use every single muscle in her body while surfing rough waves
The expression on Olympic decathlete Aston Eaton's face combined with the dirt flying as he lands his long jump is a true testament to the difficulty of the sport
Instead of having football player Maurice Jones-Drew just pose with a football, photographers added an artistic (and very cool) effect with a blue powder. (Side note: Jones-Drew's legs are incredible)
This underwater photo of surfer Maya Gabiera shows a completely different view of the sport we don't normally see
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