Berth Milton Senior, founder of Private magazine, was the first in the world to start a full color sex magazine. The year was 1965. An aunt gave Berth Milton Sr. his first camera when he was six years old and he demonstrated a precocious faculty for persuading women to shed their clothes when he took a girl called Carol and his baby Brownie into the nearby countryside: "I was nine years old and Carol was twelve. It came out just natural; She wanted to show herself off."
Helmut Newton's photographs are characterized by an atmosphere and style which immediately identify his work. German by origin, Australian by necessity, and French by choice, this uncontested master of fashion and beauty photography has provided Vogue, Lui, Playboy, Marie Claire, and Nova with photographs that are celebrations of imagination and spirit, sparkling with eroticism and provocative sensuality. A lover of the demimonde, of the artificial and the superficial, Helmut Newton is uncompromising; He understands himself completely. He is a rare example of that perfect accord between fantasy and photography, that total dedication that is absolutely necessary for creation. In this interview, originally published in the 1976 April/May issue of Penthouse Photo World, Newton clarifies, in abrupt terms, his artistic stance.
Instagram has become the medium of photographs. No posting how many times you went to the bathroom or why you hate your girlfriend. Though, you can post pictures of you going to the bathroom and/or of your girlfriend, but it is totally up to you. Though one might think that photography is a dying art, it is actually more popular than ever. Thanks, in part, to Instagram. Now everyone can fancy themselves a professional photographer. Those snaps you take of celebrities that you post? Well, that makes you bonafide paparazzi—congratulations. For the "real" photographers, the ones who make a living with their art form, Instagram has become holy ground. A place to share their visions with the masses. It gets their work out there on a very public platform. The images are vivid, life affirming and beautiful. Every photographer has their viewpoint, and Instagram is the perfect place to share those views.
Sight is a powerful sense. We are blessed with the ability to take in light and shadows, color and shape. A truly skilled photographer has the gift of bringing real life into still form, without losing the reality of the subject. Erotic photographers have an even greater ability. They transform the naked image or the subtle implication of sex into an artistic medium. For decades, photographers have been bringing iconic images of all genres to the forefront, teaching us lessons of history, glamour, and seduction. Erotic photographs have caused controversy and prompted discussion of what art truly is. The answer is simple—it is what you desire it to be. Choosing to use a book of photographs as a coffee table decoration is yours, but erotic photography books will serve you better if you look at the pictures and take in the genre and all it has to offer.
There is a quiet little revolution brewing in the world of art photography: People are starting to make photos—imaginative, artful, complex, perceptive photos—of sex. Unlike other photos that have long been part of the art photography world, these are not photos where sex tiptoes around the edges or makes its presence known only by hint and innuendo. These are photos with sex as their central and unapologetic subject matter—photos that invite and even compel us to acknowledge and think about sex outside our customary attitude of mixed horror and titillation. These are photos that represent sex as the subtle, paradoxical, ironic, profound, humorous, often mystical phenomenon that it really is.
"We are selling sex darling." —Suze Randall
Times Square, circa today. You are walking down the street and the Statue of Liberty waves to you. Then he solicits you to take a picture because what is entertainment if not a means to an end. Perhaps it is a little bit disconcerting, but it is art. Living sculpture has become the new wave amongst performance artists. These living statues have the capacity to scare the artist out of you if you aren’t expecting them to start moving. Technically, living sculpture is any sculpture made of something that requires oxygen; plants in the shapes of animals, humans painted to look like mannequins. And while topiaries, the plant sculptures, are very nice to look at, a human form of art is so much more intense. Since art is so subjective, you never know what the creative mind will come up with.
Since the beginning of time, or at least the dawn of the daguerreotype, one subject has captivated artists of all mediums and movements alike with its beauty, intrigue, and mystique. It is the female form, and for many, there is nothing more beautiful than a naked woman. Erotic photography has captivated artists, theoreticians, and consumers for over 150 years. Prior to 1839, nude renderings were namely produced via drawings, paintings, and engravings, all of which lacked the detail and veracity of the photograph. Thus, there was something inherently more illicit about an erotic photograph than a painting of the same subject, for they were considered closer to real life. Kid Richards is inspired by the same subject matter and his photographs are unique in not only their genre, but also by the film he uses, which has an underlying tone of romance. Much like Bob Guccione and the other masters that came before him, Kid Richards embraces the beauty of the female form.
The following text is an excerpt from David Steinberg’s This Thing We Call Sex: A Radically Sensible Look At Sex in America.