A photographic study of the human relation to the sex industry
To humanise the individuals in front of the lens and show a lighter side within the industry, French-born photographer Sophie Ebrard followed porn director Gazzman for the past four years on his sets around the world.
The results are no ordinary erotic images, in fact there’s very little sexual gratification in them. ‘It’s Just Love’ is both a study of composition and of the human relation to the industry of sex. It is porn turned on its head in a blaze of long shots, private moments and elegant compositions. Sophie’s lack of prejudice makes her work more honest and therefore unique.
Ebrard lays bare the reality of porn from the peripheral of the film cameras using medium format analogue film in order to catch those unguarded and most human of moments. An interaction between a number of like-minded people; a means to making a living and an enjoyable profession just like another.
‘It’s Just Love’ photography series debuted at 2015 in Unseen Photo Fair, the international photography festival held in Amsterdam. To emphasise the duality of personal intimacy and external presentation, Ebrard decided to hold the exhibition in her own home. Porn never leaves the house – it is mostly consumed at home, which made it the ideal location for the exhibition.
The series has been curated by Roderick van der Lee, co-founder and board member of the Unseen Photo Fair.
“Over the past decade and a half in particular, we’ve become increasingly desensitised, even numbed, by sex in imagery, because it has become increasingly explicit and present. ‘It’s Just Love’ incurs much stronger emotions, such as tenderness, humanity and a sense of fun by going in the other direction, by not being explicit, and by not falling into the traps of the many cliches of portraying the industry”, says van der Lee.
“Sophie’s approach, combined with the staging of the exhibition in her home, underline the personal and intimate nature of the series. We selected ‘It’s Just Love’ to show at the Unseen festival, as we aspire to showcase projects that are visually pleasing, but also raise questions about the medium by suggesting a thoughtful direction.”
Sophie explains: “Somewhat strangely, porn is ahead of the moral standoff: it’s completely open about what it does and, whether you agree with it or not, it’s actually creating something.”
In an era where porn has never been discussed more elaborately, Sophie’s vision of the industry is a refreshing alternative: reminiscent of the Renaissance paintings, full of honesty and most decisively, beauty. “Any glimpses of nudity humanise, rather than objectify, the subjects of ‘It’s Just Love’.
Following the series’ launch, ‘It’s Just Love’ has caused a stir internationally and Ebrard has been recognised globally within the photography community.
Special thanks go out to the partners: Unseen Photo Fair and Roderick van der Lee, Damien Bellon, Gina Geoghegan, Hooton PR, MassiveMusic, MPC, Whitehouse Post, W+K Amsterdam and Wyatt Clarke & Jones. [Official website]
About Sophie Ebrard
Born in the French Alps, Sophie is a self-taught photographer and director. Her photographs are as eclectic and full of life as the photographer herself. Sophie captures all aspects of life on film; from the smoky hills of La Clusaz and the bustling streets of Thailand, to the alternative nine-to-fives of the residents of Cape Verde, and the skating culture of Brixton Beach.
Experimenting with natural light and preferring the surprise-factor of film for her personal work are two factors among many that give Sophie’s images a sense of genuine warmth. This is both rare and beautiful amongst the current climate of overly produced and manipulated images. Yet she is not flippant in her art, choosing to connect with the subject in her photographs on a personal level. Even her pictures that are absent of people aren’t without their own touch of personality and narrative. Sophie’s work is straight from the heart, and comes from her unyielding passion for photography, storytelling and light.