Friday, November 14, 2008

Behind the Stoya Portrait

I photographed Stoya, a 21 year old porn-star from Delaware who now resides in South Philly, for Matt Stroud's City Paper cover story on her life in the adult industry. My initial concept was to create a narrative series of images in a high end hotel room, but I was unable to find a hotel that would collaborate (I guess the Four Seasons isn't interested in tying their brand to the adult industry). I ended up using Bruce Schimmel's apartment in the Society Hill Towers. Bruce founded the paper and is always willing to help in any way. He wrote his weekly column on the experience of hosting our shoot. Its a good read and accurately describes the atmosphere. Bruce was very curious about what was going on in his bedroom so he tended to pop in frequently to see what we were doing. I was drawn to the sheen of the 70's wall paper in his laundry room and used it as a backdrop for one of the sets. As I was working with Stoya I noticed, through my lens, Bruce peeking around the corner to see what was going on. I released the shutter and then told him to get out of my frame.

It's easy to make pretty pictures of Stoya.However, by wandering into the photograph, Bruce helped me make an image that transcends the useless flow of sex imagery that fuels our sexual obsession with porn. There's an emptiness, a loneliness in his expression that represents the ugliness behind the industry. It represents the countless amount of men who masturbate in secrecy to Stoya's sex scenes, behind closed doors, away from their daily lives. I'm not a stranger to porn, but as a photographer, I'm happy to make an image that speaks to the ugly truths behind the beautiful facades. At first, I was bummed I didn't land the high end hotel room; in the end it couldn't have worked out better.

Here's a slideshow of the outtakes:

STOYA Photographs by Michael T. Regan

1 comment:

Jon said...

Nice dude. I love the shot with the dude in the background.