Here is a photographer making his own route through erotica. First of all, he declined an academic career in Photography in order to pursue life as an author. However ten years later, he’s returned to his first love – and has created atmospheric timeless images using extreme methods based on 19th century processes in his Parisian studio. His image production methods have involved soaking the negatives in all kinds of chemicals, burying them for several weeks at a time in plant pots. Later on, he began using a bichromatic gum process for the production. He describes this as "it is the best way to create a timeless world involving pornographic images. Pornography is often rather ´too direct´, even cold. Therefore, by torturing the negatives I manage to alter their perception."
He is inspired by the likes of Egon Schiele (reality), Rodin (sensuality) and Fragonard (rudery). And believes that sex is one of the few moments where instinct prevails.
He prefers to work with liked minded females and couples who have been excited by his work and wish to be photographed by him. He prefers real people to professional models "I do not seek to respect the standard esthetics of the bodies. I want to show it all, because everyone is beautiful.”
“My photographic approach arises from a strong curiosity to see nudity, to photograph gestures and confusion, to feel, to search, to expose intimacy within others. And to make her/him very moving and desirable. Seeing a naked person is always a surprise, and a moment of jubilation and wonder.”
“I have always been fascinated by sexuality, the diversity of our practices, the never ending will of those who try to make their fantasies come true
In Paris, Laurent Benaïm has acquired a reputation for being one of the most admired “erotic photographers” of all time. An honour well earnt.
His work is regularly shown in exhibitions and galleries around Europe; Porn Art Museum in Zurich (2003, 2005, 2006, 2009), Musée de l’érotisme de Paris (2008), Gallery Art Concorde in Paris (2010) among others.
And several publications have followed: Corpus Delicti (2002), Lunacy Things (2008) and Chaire Amie (2011). The latter was exhibited in Berlin (oct 2014).
For further information: Laurent Benaïm.
Knowledge is never a waste.
Online: Sept 2006 (updated 2017)