Reclaiming Erotica - My Manifesto
Firstly, thank you for having interest in my project. I believe, with the proper approach and execution, we can re-write the narrative of erotic photography.
A little history before we continue:
As some of you may know, the Austin and Houston artistic communities have been deeply harmed by the actions of past abusers masking themselves as photographers.
Back around 2015 there was a popular male photographer in the Austin community who shall remain unnamed. Some of you knew him, some did not, but he very quickly became renowned as a Dominant photographer specializing in POV fetish erotica. His work was raw, dark, and usually not even remotely facebook friendly; most of his images instead posted on FetLife or similar websites. But, truth be told, it was definitely sexy…and extremely popular.
Unfortunately, much like the individuals that became his copycats, he used the power dynamic he established with his models to his advantage.
His style portrayed either "the vulnerable young female model x older male photographer shooting alone" or "dominant x submissive" where he always took the dominant role. The first hints of the abusive tendencies regarding the relationship he expected to have with models became apparent when he would tell people “if you don’t have sex with me on camera, then you have to pay to shoot with me.” This escalated quickly as, during sessions, he would push boundaries and established limits to manipulate models into doing things they were not comfortable with "in the name of art". Because they were already in a submissive headspace (sometimes fully sub space), in a vulnerable position with a dominant man, and hoping for the images they'd been promised: they’d agree. Later, they would realize they’d been coerced into doing things they never wanted to do-and sometimes had outright requested not to do, and were filled with regret and grief.
Long story short, he used the power he had created through his photography and his selection of emotionally and physically vulnerable models so intensely and so frequently that, in the end, he was outed by countless people as an abuser and rapist and banned from the community.
That was years ago…but we have not healed. We have, for the most part, moved away from erotic photography and the expression of sexuality in such raw ways. I understand why this was a necessary response at the time and why people are shying away from that style still to this day. However, personally, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the type of photography he did-just the way he did it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with photographing a person you are having sex with-if everyone is enthusiastically consensual. And I don't think the community should be afraid of this type of photography, so long as everyone is respectful, responsible, and enthusiastically consenting.
To note, Austin and Houston are not the only places this happens. In all of my travels throughout the US I have found similarly abusive, manipulative photographers who make it nearly impossible for (especially female identifying) people to feel safe participating in artistic expression like this.
I want to change that.
For years I have wanted to shoot erotic photography in that style; as a way to explore my own sexuality and expression, and help others do the same. However, up until now, I have not attempted to do this project because I know far too well how this can go (and has gone) wrong.
But I believe the time has come to release fear and shed the last of this abuser's power over our community. It's time to embrace our own power and take command of erotic photography the right way.
I want to use this project to educate the community about safety and consent, and help us heal by providing an explorative, expressive, and SAFE space for people's sexuality.
Here is what I promise to provide to the community, and the models and participants in this project:
Safety & Transparency: Our emotional and physical safety are paramount. Measures will be put in place to make sure there are never any questions about limits, intentions, and consent. Including but not limited to a consent consultation and contract, check ins, safety words, escorts, and before and after discussions (and care) to reflect on the experience together.
Education: I will be releasing an educational video or blog to help teach both models and photographers who participate in this type of art so that everyone is better informed across the board.
I believe this will allow for the community to start safely and comfortably engaging in artistic sexual exploration of all kinds because, truthfully, what I will be teaching can be used outside of just within the parameters of erotic photography.
Exploration: I want to reclaim erotic photography for the community. These sessions should be a way for myself and my model counterparts to explore our sexualities and sensual expression together-whether simply through implication and creative posing or by true sexual engagement-in a safe and consensual environment.
I hope, eventually, the rest of the community will be able to use this project, and the educational media that comes from it, as inspiration and tools to aid in their own photographic and self explorative journeys.
I look forward to healing the community with your support. Thank you for reading this. Click below to be taken to part 2, the inspiration and mood board for this project.
Please be aware the following page is NSFW and not intended for audiences under the age of 18. It includes graphic erotic and pornographic imagery. If you are uncomfortable viewing such media please do not continue to the next page.