Sasha Grey and ‘Neu Sex’

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Little Miss Sasha Grey

In relation to PicBod I felt the work of Sasha Grey was an important one to mention. I want my images to be open and honest as Grey demonstrates throughout her photo book, ‘Neu Sex’. Rippled covers, sex and mundane moments are brought to visual terms beautifully and are themes I’ve explored before. So in terms of creating my own images I’ve been referring back to Sasha Grey’s images repeatedly.

I first discovered little Miss Sasha Grey after finding one of her pornographic DVD’s tucked away in my brothers’ drawer. I didn’t tend to snoop but I knew my brother had a wide array of viewing pleasures. I wanted to view some porn films in their entirety, instead of short clips online. Before, I had never really been overly fussed about the adult industry but after viewing that one particular movie starring Sasha Grey, she engulfed my mind and stayed there long after the film had ended. Her long tumbling dark hair that falls to her lower back, petite frame and diminutive facial features were striking, alluring and somewhat of a sweet teenage dream. However, this angelic, natural appearance was challenged throughout her performance whereby Grey was utterly lusty, raw, loud and keen to practice sadomasochism. Watching a female behave more like a male, conventionally speaking, was refreshing and compelling. I wanted to learn more and I’m glad I did.

I began following various blogs, Grey’s MySpace page, her porn videos as well as watching Grey’s interviews and personal videos in which discussions of Jung or Dostoevsky (figures which were both major points of research for my Literature and Philosophy courses in sixth form…helpful) or interracial sex and enemas were that of commonplace. I fell in complete awe of her. I loved her openness in relation to her sexual appetite, her intellect and her ability to completely break the boundaries of what a female porn star should be. Her Mission Statement that she crafted to gain entryway into the pornographic industry, under the careful tutelage of Mark Spiegler, manager extraordinaire, remains my favourite quotation from Grey

“I am in the adult film scene for mainly one reason. On average, most of the xxx I see is boring, and does not arouse me physically, or visually. There is only a handful of adult stars that continue to push the boundaries of what women are supposed to like, or be like in bed. This entices me to be one of these young women, not to mention my lust for sexual creativity; I hunger for all modes of sexual perversity. I am determined and ready to be a commodity that fulfils everyone’s fantasies.” Brilliant!

Grey is not stereotypically blonde, bubbly or bland and can hold her own when expressing her controversial opinions and interests. I’ve followed Grey throughout her time in pornography, her retirement from porn and her cross over to the mainstream. She played the lead in Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, starred in Entourage and other filmic projects are in the making. Despite her mainstream success I was saddened that I could no longer see her push the boundaries of the adult industry or watch her in any current pornographic projects or movies. It was that lust and fire, how she took the industry by the balls and did it how she wanted it to be done. However, there was light at the end of the tunnel with the release of her first photo book, ‘Neu Sex’. This allowed fans to keep and share her time during her extremely successful porn career.

‘Neu Sex’ by Sasha Grey is a book of photos taken at various points throughout her career as an adult film star, dating back to 2006.  Being an object of sexual desire, Neu Sex, itself is an exercise in obsessive self-portraiture, whereby Grey documented everything during her time working in the industry, in particular herself, thus to keep some things private and to retain some editorial authority over her own image. Sasha Grey defines this book as a documentation of the self-empowerment of her own image in an industry where her image was otherwise exploited beyond her control.  “The photos were never really meant to be published, they were more a part of the self-exploration that I was doing when I was making adult films. I wanted something to reflect back on.” The book is alluring and Grey herself a subject of intrigue. It definitely satisfied my need to hold that part of Sasha Grey, the porn star; as opposed to her more composed actress title she carries now.

I find ‘Neu Sex’ never less than page turning but I think that’s due to Grey being the subject matter. In a sense Grey still often emerges from her work more as a subject as opposed to the photographer.  This may be due to the contribution made by her husband, Ian Cinnamon, a photographer in his own right. Cinnamon was the eye behind the camera in many of the images, which is made clear by some of the more highly stylized portraits of Grey and it’s conceptual implication.  Nevertheless, Grey does possess a photographers’ eye.  Her striking visual sense and restless energy exude from her gritty and/or beautiful self-portraits. I really love the honesty of Grey’s images. The images of piled tissues, her vomit or waking up in the morning, are real truth, life. I want to create similar images of real life. Obviously the concepts and themes behind ‘Neu Sex’ are far more riveting and obscure but I do want to have a similar effect on my viewers, that my images are images of life, my life.

Sasha Grey, ‘Dirtiest Girl in the World’ Rolling Stones interview

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