For a book project, photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders took photographs of 30 stars of adult movies, each pair of photographs in the same pose, clothed and nude. This film records the ... See full summary »
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XXX is a short film that tries extracting the best of its title. Triple exposed in camera, the film represents the distinct feelings, senses, wishes and thoughts of the same characters at ... See full summary »
For a book project, photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders took photographs of 30 stars of adult movies, each pair of photographs in the same pose, clothed and nude. This film records the photo shoots and includes interviews with the performers and commentary from eight writers (and John Waters). The actors and writers discuss economics, nudity and exhibitionism, careers, and private lives. Written by
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders wonderful new documentary, Thinking XXX, was made in conjunction with his new book and art exhibition, where he took two portraits of thirty porn stars, one naked and one clothed, both in the same pose. The portraits were published in a large coffee table size book with essays by pop critics to accompany the pictures. The documentary follows the portrait shoot, and allows the large cast of stars to talk about their experiences and thoughts on the industry. The stars talk from experience, while pop culture critics give their own views of the industry. If you have a negative view of the industry, you might have a change of heart after meeting the top stars of the industry. Moral traditionalists would have you believe the porn industry is a brutal, mob driven industry that attracts only the most anti-social individuals. Well, it certainly has a dark side, as one just has to look at the sad fates of Savannah, Bambi Woods, Shauna Grant, and Lisa Deleeuw. However, the stars featured in Thinking XXX prove it is an industry where an ambitious young person can find success, run a business and not wind up damaged. These people are well spoken, sincere, amiable, normal types who just happen to make a living having sex in front of a camera. Yet they have goals and ambitions just like anyone else. Thinking XXX is amazing in that it challenges our notions of glamor. It pierces the veil of an underground industry to show a silver lining in which these not quite celebrities come across as having more charisma than the biggest Hollywood stars. Thinking XXX has a diverse range of performers. The one common thread linking than seems to be that all his subjects are household names in the porn industry. The two stars who come off as the most interesting are Nina Hartley and Sharon Mitchell, who have some surprising things to say about the business. Hartley and Mitchell came into the business decades ago, and there was much more of a stigma attached to the industry. Mitchell went on to earn a PhD and now runs AIM, which is where adult stars routinely go for medical checkups. Many of today's stars come off markedly different than the older, more experienced performers. Two of today's hottest stars Sunrise Adams and Jesse Jane remark that since they grew up in a generation that was so well versed with porn, they viewed adult stars in the same light as they would a major Hollywood celebrity. That's typical for most people in their age bracket. Sunrise was so ecstatic to have done a sex scene with Jameson that she asked people to "smell her face" after her first scene! Jesse Jane does most of her interview naked in a pool. Even by porn standards, this woman just oozes sex and has a body that is almost beyond belief. It's worth mentioning that female stars compromise about 95% of the interview footage for the documentary.
We learn from watching the documentary that porn used to be hard for women. For years the industry was run by men for men and so it was understandable that women would feel threatened by porn, but it seems that more and more these days it is an industry where women are coming out on top. Female porn stars are usually much more highly paid than the men and, at the top end of the market, really do call the shots. Female directors becoming more prevalent, and others even setting up their own companies to produce a more female friendly product. To further emphasize this point adult star Chloe is prominently featured. Her success shows how the industry is changing for the better. She is one of the pioneers of the last decade, when women began to direct porn. Chloe is not augmented with breasts implants; she is not blond. There is nothing false about her, which emphasizes the unmistakably authentic orgasms she has in her videos. Chloe is a small woman, nearly flat-chested; her ability to orgasm has made her one of the most famous porn stars in history. This is an incredibly important evolution in porn. Because she is so good at what she does, not because of what she looks like, she is a superstar
If you want to take a feminist perspective, you would have to say that things have never looked better for the female adult stars after seeing Thinking XXX. Exploitation does still happen however, but this is no longer the norm. I feel that it is a mark of how society has progressed that women are no longer afraid to embrace their sexuality, and have a great many ways to do so. I find quality porn a turn on and feel that women all over the world also benefit from porn either by profiting from its sale or enjoying an improvement their sex lives, so why not seek to eliminate the bad parts rather than attack the industry as a whole? You can love it, or loathe it but there's no way to deny that in a time in which sex is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our society, the porn industry is influencing our culture just as much as any other form of media is, whether that may be the world of music, television, or film. It's worth mentioning that about the same time this documentary premiered on HBO, I saw in of all places a major grocery style chain an issue of FHM with Tera Patrick on the cover. Patrick was the first adult start to ever grace the cover of a mainstream men's magazine It instantly became their highest selling issue ever. I sincerely hope that FHM's decision to feature Patrick on the cover is only the beginning of mainstream America's embracing the performers shown in Thinking XXX as well as their fellow peers in the industry. They sure deserve it.
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