Photo Sex-Fine Art Sexual Photography Comes of Age
edited by David Steinberg
foreword by A. D. Coleman
published by Down There Press
the publishing arm of Good Vibrations
128 pages, 9 x 12, 115 duotone photos
paperback $35.00 hardback $60.00
Photographs by Michael Rosen, Jan Saudek, Barbara Nitke, Mark I. Chester, Paul Dahlquist, Mariette Pathy Allen, Charles Gatewood, Phyllis Christopher, Tee A. Corinne, and others
The Nation’s laws and traditions in the past half century are most relevant here. They show an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
Lawrence v. Texas, June 2003
Much has been made of the politics of sex during the past decade – Supreme Court cases, presidential peccadilloes, Internet legislation, Surgeon General statements. Antisexual outcries notwithstanding, the sexual sensibilities of mainstream Americans have continued to expand in recent years, artistically as well as in personal practice and belief. Fine art photographers, in particular, are increasingly addressing sex as a complex, legitimate, and fascinating subject, producing a broad body of work that is striving to find exposure and recognition in these sexually-contested times.
David Steinberg, a noted sexual photographer with a “cutting-edge reputation for erotica” (KRON-TV, San Francisco), has assembled an elegant collection of this emerging sexual photography. Thirty-one talented photographers unapologetically expand the definition of sex and the boundaries of fine art photography, in 115 duotone images that take sex as their central subject.
From the woman playfully striking a pose at the top of a stairway for her delighted friend, to the aroused man exuberantly celebrating a bonfire-lit ritual, to the woman enthusiastically masturbating at a New York erotic art gallery opening, Photo Sex provides a stunning sampler of the range of activities that individuals consider sexual. Observers of these photos will find reassurance that others share their sexual proclivities, and encouragement for their further explorations. Photo Sex offers a stunning testament that all sorts of “ordinary” people are truly sexy and sexual.
Steinberg writes in his Introduction, “How we think of sex, and how we think of ourselves as sexual people, is shaped to no small degree by the images of sex and sexual attractiveness we see around us. Images that trivialize sex encourage us to relate to sex in simplistic ways. Images that portray sex as naughty and forbidden encourage us to think of sexual desire as inherently suspect and dangerous. Images that portray sex as joyous, loving, intimate, and ecstatic encourage us to think of sex as a source of warmth, pleasure, and emotional satisfaction. Images that portray sex as complex, intimate, profound, and mysterious encourage us to open ourselves to sex in all its depth and power.”
David Steinberg is the editor of Erotic by Nature: A Celebration of Life, of Love, and of Our Wonderful Bodies, and of The Erotic Impulse, as well as other titles. He writes a monthly commentary on sexual issues, “Comes Naturally,” and has photographed dozens of sexually active adults. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A. D. Coleman has written extensively on photography and sexuality, censorship, and freedom of vision. His pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Artforum, and many other publications. In 1998, American Photo named Coleman one of the “100 most important people in photography.”
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