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THE SEX FILES talks with photographers Constance & Eric

Constance and EricConstance and Eric began this particular erotic side to their work as a simple fine art project which they had both already been conceptualizing and working on for quite a few years before it actually came into existence. This husband/wife’s team goal was simple, to create images of explicit sex acts in a way that was beautiful and allows the viewer to participate via the blank canvas. Soon, couples (as well as groups and single folks) sought the photographers out to create portraits of their most intimate moments. Through their discretion and ability to make everyone comfortable, Eric and Constance have been privileged to work with many wonderful people, creating intensely personal images, many of which will never be seen by the public. Eventually, this work caught the eye of several agencies and companies and the pair soon found themselves accepting commissioned advertising work. Currently enjoying what they term a ‘perfect trifecta of fine art’-intimate portraiture, and commercial work all within the context of their sex positive philosophy, these two New York artists consider themselves incredibly fortunate and excited to have the opportunity to share their passion for sexual acceptance with the world.

I was lucky enough to share a few moments with them to learn about their vision.

So you are a husband and wife team working together to create your art?

Yes we are but we prefer the term “wife & husband” as a way to kind of poke back at the assumed automatic placement of the man always first. Our whole mission is basically that true gender equality will lead to more fulfilling sex lives for everyone. We both shoot equally but the areas one of us is weak in, the other is strong in, and vice-versa. It’s also great to have a shorthand that normal business partners don’t enjoy, we pretty much know that all the please’s and thank you’s are already implied.

And exactly what would you call what you do, if you can put a general label on it.

We photograph all things relating to human sexuality in a manner that is all inclusive, encouraging, and fun because, well, that is exactly what sex should be. Some have called it Beyond Boudoir which is kind of cute.

And how did you both ‘get’ here…what brought you to this particular expression as this time?

Eric had been avoiding photographing women due to working in fashion which is, for the most part, a misogynistic industry.  I told him that if we were going to start photographing women we had to do it in a way that was different.  So we came up with this concept and it was really just an art project at first, but after few shoots passed we realized we had a talent for making people feel comfortable in front of the camera. As we went on with our photography we found that we genuinely enjoy showing people how beautiful they are and how much love they have in their lives.

Constance and Eric 2Do you let the piece inform what and how you will be working? Or do you work from the one photographic medium now exclusively?

For our couple shoots we always get together with our subjects beforehand to discuss the shoot and to find out exactly what they want to get out of the experience. On other projects we get a variety of inspiration. For example, with our “Vintage Vibes” project we did in conjunction with Babeland we let the history and the actual objects inform the end result.  Eric is a master at lighting so his technical still life background and my vision to bring once shamed, but perfectly healthy products into a heroic light, really came together to create a collection that is equal parts history, beauty, and sexual advocacy.

Internet, bad or good for what you do?

Well, it has been argued that the internet has devalued photography and with the sheer availability of images now, it is easy to see why. Being eternal optimists though, we think that now, more than ever, thanks to the internet, photographers can really focus on a specialty to a degree that they would not be able to sustain a business in the pre-internet age. For us, the internet age has been the reason we can do what we do. Ours has always been part of a larger social movement towards sex positivity, the ability to connect with other like-minded people contributing to this movement has been integral to our work.

Do you find doors opening more and more to your erotic work these days? From writing this column I am finding a lightening-up of American mores to sex. Or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

Haha. The grass is always greener on the side you plan on going to, and while that is true, if you shelve the wishful thinking of people doing what you and us do, there is a noticeable opening to our cultures sexual dialogue. We think it began with people being fed up. Tired of being lied to, upset that the recession means they can’t afford the car that will get them laid, through with being bombarded by unrealistic body images solely created on a computer. I think once you start looking at the toxic messages for what they are, the natural progression from there is “now what?” We have to sell products, we want to see pictures of sexy people but not this way. That backlash is, we think, the direct reason why the search for alternatives is on, people want to know how they can have a happy sex life without making 1/2 million annually or how they can feel sexy in their bodies that bear the natural makes of childbirth. This generation is huge, that we are all getting older is really shedding light on the advertising industries shallow obsession with youth. Look at us, we are parents who are almost 40 who have a great satisfying love life, we don’t want this to end anytime soon and I don’t think others around our age want that either. Since you can’t stop time or its effects on the body, many people are looking at the source of sexual expression and passion, which is the largest erogenous zone humans have, the brain.

I encountered your work at the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas (see here), where else have you ‘shown’ and where else can people presently see your work? 

We have three images hanging in the permanent collection at the Museum of Sex in New York and also some pieces hanging in Shag, an adorable sexy adult boutique in Brooklyn NY.  We are currently working on a show in collabartion with another artist that is opening in December, so stay tuned.  You can see what we are up to by following our blog on tumblr or Facebook or even send us your email to get on our mailing list.

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