From the Author
(Or how I went from Penelope Cruz and Will Ferrell to Katsumi and Lexington Steele)
It started back in 2002. My wife and I were invited to the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards Show in Las Vegas. She works in the television industry. "It's the porn Oscars," she told me, "it's totally wild; you'll love it." I was immediately fascinated by the notion.
For many years, I've toiled long and hard shooting high-end, elaborate layouts for magazines, advertising campaigns, movie campaigns and television shows. Of course, I knew the adult film business was huge but it wasn't until I attended that event in Sin City that I knew just how crazy and amazing this subculture of fascinating people truly was. The women, the fashion, the energy and the chaos; the very moment I arrived I knew I had to take this world on as a major photographic project.
The depth of characters demanded the same production values as a mainstream assignment and I was well aware that making it happen was going to be a challenge. It took me three years to find a sponsor for the project and get all the elements - budget, crew, subjects, etc. - in place. In 2006, with a team of 22 people, the adventure began. We headed off to the desert with a grip truck full of props and gear and a belly full of excitement.
We set up three backgrounds in a conference room near the AVN convention floor. This served as our so-called erotic enclave where we'd grab and shoot literally hundreds of individuals over a three-day period. We also constructed two setups backstage during the awards show itself to capture the winner's fresh from victory - and defeat. We left Vegas in January '06 with the bones of a book, total exhaustion and many wild memories.
But that wasn't enough. After almost a year of examining and editing more than 9,000 digital images, I felt we still didn't have the whole picture. So with a stripped-down crew, a spirit of serendipity - and the significant addition of seasoned journalists Lonn Friend and Rob Hill - we returned to the Venetian in January 2007 to procure another 4,000 frames as well as editorial content required to complete my vision. This book is an experiment in journalism, using portraiture and still life photography as a document of an event, a time, and a culture.
What you hold in your hands represents the end of a five-and-a-half year journey. Hope you dig it.