These Photo Portraits of People Watching Porn Are Funny, Sweet and Very Awkward

Apr 12, 2016
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Last week, we looked at a project from a Brazilian photographer who invited friends over and took their photos after one, two and three glasses of wine. That seemed like a fun exercise in shedding inhibitions.

This week, we’re featuring a project from Trinidadian-born, New York City-based photographer Patrick Struys that was surely a lot more awkward for the people involved.

For the “Porn Portraits” series, Struys had his subjects sit in a viewing booth and watch five and a half minutes of pornography—a video he assembled personally—and took their photos by positioning the camera lens through a peephole. The reactions are pretty amusing, ranging from laughter to shock to sheer embarrassment.

The subjects knew they were being photographed, which was part of the concept. And that created a complex dynamic—the subjects are reacting to being watched watching porn, as much as they are reacting to the porn itself. This makes them charmingly vulnerable, which they each deal with in their own way.

“Being photographed for the whole duration of the film addressed head on the way the subjects expressed themselves when faced with sex in a nonsexual or ‘public’ situation,” Struys tells AdFreak.

Struys says he tried to make the video as inclusive as possible to every person’s sexual orientation and/or tastes. The subject themselves appear to be naked, too, though actually they weren’t. “The women were actually wearing tube tops, and the men were shirtless,” Struys says. “The intention to have them appear naked was driven by the fact that people usually are in some ‘state of nakedness’ when they are being sexual—whether that is participating or watching in private.”

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