Photography and sex.
Erotic photography is a very special medium for me as the photographer. I love taking ordinary people and getting them to do extraordinary things. I usually use everyday people, not professional models and when I shoot couples they are real life couples. It is a unique chemical formula containing the elements of vision, trust, playfulness, risk, sharing and of course a large dose of naughtiness.
In some ways one of my shoots can be like sex itself. It starts with an idea, an impulse. Everyone involved anticipates the act before the shoot and the excitement mounts. Then there is the foreplay where we discuss ideas and tease each other into compliance before we begin. As inhibitions are slowly released and inner emotions realised and exposed, the real action starts. Sometimes it is purposeful and metered other times frantic, sweaty and abstract but always climactic in some fashion. We all know when we are done, when we have reached that pivotal moment when everyone is feeling euphoric but spent after the act including me. We usually say goodbye and not see each other until a few weeks later when we access the results.
One of the most challenging things for me is to capture and portray sensuality and eroticism without feeling I have crossed my own self imposed boundary into porn.
I have no problem with porn as such but it has a totally different aesthetic wavelength to erotic art when done correctly. I was honoured when Jack Gilbert from Michelle7.com elegantly summed it up for me by saying:
"Keith Banham is an art photographer traversing
the fine line between art and porn with absolutely amazing results.
His work is stunningly beautiful and so unbelievably sexy! ..."
That was sort of like the Vision Statement I should have written but from the pen of another.
Photography and Bondage I frequently like to incorporate an element of restraint or implied restraint. I think it adds an element of sexual tension and mystery where the viewer is never sure whether permission has been granted or not. Whether it is pain or pleasure or both, seamlessly blended into one. I like to keep my rope and bondage work reasonably simple, as for me, the main focus is the restrained person and their situation and response not on the complexity of the bindings. Once, when I was exhibiting, an elderly lady and two leather clad girls were all studying one of my shibari (Japanese rope bondage) images. The elderly lady approached me and commented “You know, I don’t really see the point of all this bondage stuff but my God doesn’t it make for interesting photography”. A great example of the power of an image to not only cross cultural and possibly moral boundaries but to the credit of the viewer that she could isolate and appreciate one of the ingredients from a potentially complex mix. The point being that as image creators we sometimes get surprised by the diversity of viewpoints and reactions from people viewing the same image. I have indeed found my life’s passion.