Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is best known for his portraits of artists, heads of state, and a Grammy award-winning documentary on Lou Reed. Yet today's New York Times "Art" section features a story on his current project XXX: 30 Portraits of Porn Stars, a book of photographs of thirty porn stars.
For his new book, Greenfield-Sanders will use matching color photos of each porn star - one clothed and one of the porn star nude. He's already taken photos of twenty stars, including Jenna Jameson and Sharon Mitchell, shooting in both Los Angeles and New York. The pictures will be accompanied by essays on pornography, both positive and negative, by the likes of John Malkovich, Nancy Friday and Karen Finley, among others.
Greenfield-Sanders, who has photographed George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Patti Smith, David Byrne, and many other mainstream notables told the Times he was first drawn to pornography after seeing the mainstream film Boogie Nights "I thought it was a fantastic movie," he said, "and I started to think maybe some of those people would be interesting subjects. I had always wanted to shoot nudes but could never figure out a way to do it that hadn't been done before."
For a photographer who has never shot nudes, having spent the bulk of his career shooting for mainstream magazines such as GQ, Vanity Fair, and Index, Greenfield-Sanders reports adapting to the nudity pretty easily.
"I found with porn stars that they're much more comfortable nude than they are clothed," he told the Times. "They're energized, and they feel more in control. I was very inhibited myself. After shooting a few of them, I don't feel uncomfortable, because they're not uncomfortable. They talk about sex so openly. At first I was shocked, but you go with the flow."
The Times visited Greenfield-Sanders' New York studio as he shot Pleasure Productions contract-performer Gina Lynn, who was interviewed along with her husband and manager, Travis Knight, who also performs in adult videos. Lynn discussed her entry into adult (she started stripping while still a high school senior) and her mainstream career (roles in Analyze That and speaking role as a stripper in the fifth season of The Sopranos).
XXX: 30 Portraits of Porn Stars doesn't have a publisher as of yet, but is expected to be released next year.
For the featured article in the New York Times, click here.