I never thought I would ever make a documentary film, let alone one where my leading cast would be some of the biggest names in the Porn industry. I am a photographer, and yes, I have always felt comfortable shooting nudes, having a keen sense of light and how it touches the body allowing the lines of the female form to dictate a sensual note dependent on the elongation or recoiling of the arms or neck in front of my camera. As someone once asked me, "What is the difference between erotic photography and porn?" and my answer then and now continues to be, 'lighting."
After having shot many A-List stars for numerous magazines, rock musicians for album covers or interior artwork to adorns the walls of some of the biggest hotels in the world, I found myself facing the challenge of taking the 'porn' mask off 16 women who use their bodies to make money to capture them for my third book of photography. In finalizing the concept for my latest project, I decided to document the making of the book, as I had a feeling that more would be revealed beyond just their naked skin.
As this was my first foray into the world of feature filmmaking I might have chosen a subject that would have been less of a talking point and more of a visual challenge. But no, to be able to explore the lives of these women and humanize them was a gift and I jumped in with all my heart.
As soon as I moved into preproduction, it became even more apparent that sex is everywhere and not just downloadable on your computer after clicking the "18 years of Age" button. Beyond the Internet, sex is everywhere and helps sell all kinds of products the world over. The notion is that if YOU are sexy this certain 'product' holds value to you, if not, then you buy yourself a push up bra from Victoria Secret and that will do the trick!
I realized that I had this opportunity to meet some of the most desirable women in the sex industry and this was a moment that not many people would ever have, so I felt the need to ask them why they do what they do and how they felt it is effecting the rest of the world. This allowed for an open dialogue to take place and created a platform for these women to be heard. Needless to say my friends offered dozens of other questions as you can well imagine and from this Aroused was born.
Beyond making a film that I am proud of, I created a safe place for these 16 women to sit with me and talk about their lives unlike ever before. From one woman to another, it became more of a conversation rather than a Barbara Walter's moment, as they lay naked in bed just for me. Never would I have thought that this was going to happen nor did I think they would actually tell me who they really are behind the 'porn' mask. Shot mostly in black and white with finite team of creatives, Aroused is the balance between an arty documentary and a commentary of mass proportion. It changed the way I look at these women and definitely made me see how we have lost our innate sensuality in this overtly sexual world that we are all now living in.
Aroused opens in limited released on May 3rd and is now available on VOD.