30 May 2011

Editions Ragage RIP? My to-read list remains squarely German

Some unfortunate publisher news - Jam from Petites Parisiennes has confirmed that French publisher Editions Ragage has gone out of business. (Oh, and of course - I learned this the hard way, but although their site is still accepting orders, it's not a good idea to place one!) This is a shame; they have an original catalogue of really cute and sexy photobooks, and I've discovered a few great photographers just from browsing (they also have fiction and other writing, for those better-equipped with French than I am). French smut has a unique quality that's very exciting - still glamourous, but much more sexy and arousing than arty material.

I really hope that somebody buys the business and rescues it - although there are so many good photographers and models that we can discover online, there's a tactile, illicit quality to owning and browsing a racy book that can't be beaten. And this leaves the market even more dominated by German publishers... and as if to prove that point, various finds and pre-orders have come to fruition, leaving me with the following four new books from Taschen, Edition Skylight (actually Swiss) and Goliath to set aside time to, er, read. Expect reviews sometime, although I still haven't decided the order to enjoy them.

24 May 2011

eBook review: Quickies In New York, Stories: Winter to Spring

Bit of a departure here, given my habit for erotic photo books. I enjoy physical books; the tactile sensation of turning the pages, not knowing quite what I'll find on the next - it's somehow more of an illicit thrill than looking online. And similarly, I'm usually lowbrow enough just to get books for the pictures; although I know there is a lot of really good erotic fiction around, there's some part of me that can't shake the bodice-ripping stereotype. (Notwithstanding, I have a very good friend who assures me that some recent Mills & Boons are decidedly racy.)

So it's strange to be writing about an ebook of erotic prose... but I'll confess to cheating a bit. This blog isn't intended to be a reference to all things erotic; merely some reviews of things that specifically appeal to the reviewer. And before accepting Guy New York's offer of a review copy, I knew that I'd enjoy it, having previously noted my feelings for the wonderful Quickies in New York blog.

This isn't erotic writing as you'd imagine it; I'm unsure - and unfussed - as to how fictional it may or may not be, but more to the point, it's delivered in very short, discrete, stories that take no more than a few minutes to read. And they are as diverse as they are concise; some very explicit, describing sex from the slow and tender, to the frenzied. Others focusing solely on details; of undressing a partner, deliberately fumbling with clothing to anticipate the sex. Some are simply conversations between friends or lovers, occasional or full-time; and some introspective reflections of love and sex that once, or perhaps never, was.

What they all have in common is that they linger for far longer than they take to read - the writing is always thought-provoking and I've found that pondering them takes as many forms as the stories themselves. Mild envy at the passion of a well-described lover; empathy at love lost; fuel for ideas for my own future encounters; interest and bafflement at some of the polyamorous situations presented (I'm a bit old-fashioned...).

Anyway, rather than try to do it the required justice, I've grabbed a few passages of note. You can, of course, read the full text of most stories at QNY; but even as an eBook, there's a tangible quality, a purity of purpose, to specifically reading the kindle version, as opposed to it being one in a wash of browser windows and tabs.

My only - very minor - issues are that firstly, that there's no navigable table of contents (forgive my pedantry, it comes from working in publishing and having built eBooks); and that it doesn't include any of The Dirty Gentleman's equally erotic, evocative pictures. Neither detract from how enjoyable this is, especially for the ludicrous price of $2 - and as such this is hugely recommended.

As I strongly suspect the mooted physical - and illustrated - book will be!

19 May 2011

Viva Van Story's Everything Mosh

Given my penchant for racy material, be it glamour or erotica, I've found many photographers and models who I've liked; although I appreciate the work of both, I tend to follow photographers more and don't really obsess over models. Obsession aside (although a friend pointed out to me a tumblr blog devoted entirely to her), however, I am hugely fond of Mosh - aside from being stunning, she's hugely inventive, lending herself to pinup, latex fetishism, erotica - and her pictures really give the feeling of being collaborations with the photographer rather than just a model.

Viva's work is equally inventive, and I enjoy everything she does - from the technical excellence of her classic cheesecake to the more contemporary, fetish-y and erotic shots such as as she recently did for Alt Exclusive. The latter, as I mentioned in my review of her book, embodying more the original racy concept of pinup art. Put these two icons of modern pinup together - and fortunately for us, they often are - and the results are a combination of entertaining, exciting, arousing and breathtaking.

So, when I saw industry-leading photographer Viva Van Story had created a commemorative booklet devoted to Mosh, I was (at least I like to think) the first to put my name down for one - and it arrived today! A 16-page booklet showing the lovely Miss Mosh in clad in various states of undress, and in various combinations of retro girdles, latex, nylons and sheer lacy numbers. Some scenes are familiar from Viva's book; and as a volume it is slight; but the print and paper quality - not to mention being signed and numbered by these two wonderful ladies - makes it a collector's item (albeit one to be enjoyed, I'm not precious about such things). I'm even suffering from mailing-label envy, and indecision as to what to do with the Viva's Pinups sticker that was enclosed.

Perhaps my favourite thing about it is the - rather small - 'Volume 1' on the cover, and what that implies. Actually, I think Mosh should have a whole book devoted to her; but meantime, I have a suspicion that we'll be seeing more of her (and Viva) in Goliath's Latex Fashion Photography, and Viva's forthcoming sheer-themed book. The latter being head and shoulders above the top of my must-have list!

13 May 2011

Book Review: Roy Stuart V

Roy Stuart is - as best I can describe - an erotic auteur, an American photographer and filmmaker based in Paris - and his work has that familiar, appealing feeling of French eroticism that I like so much. He's also often the subject of tiresome is-it-art-or-is-it-porn discussions - I'll skip that comparison since art is highly subjective, but I'll say his work is definitely erotic and likely pornographic - and very exciting for it. He's been a fixture in Leg Show magazine for some years - which is all the better for it - and this is his fifth book via Taschen, the only one that's readily available to buy (a shame that Taschen seem to let books go out of print relatively quickly).

This is definitely racier than some of my recent glamour-based reviews. The content ranges from simple portraits and undressing, to full nudity and sex - there are individual models, scenes with two girls, couples and threesomes. Which arguably makes it porn - which is fine with me - although rather different from the run-of the mill kind. I can think of two major aspects that set Mr Stuart's work apart; first is the quality of the photography itself - the lighting, focus and bokeh is very evocative, bringing out the subject of each shot - be it a flash of panties; the face of the model seductively looking at the camera; or her hand wrapped around her partner's cock, guiding it into herself.

The other key aspect is narrative; the book is a mixture of different styles, with some documentary and portraiture, but most of it is taken up with short sets depicting a story. These are as diverse as a couple simply having sex (and authentically looking like they are enjoying it); grabbing a chance look up skirts in the park; having panties (rather improbably) stolen; or coming to a more-than-amicable resolution of a minor traffic prang. It's this aspect that, for me, make it very exciting, to imagine either being part of the story or simply a voyeur as being a reader makes me.

Models here (the female ones, that is - there are some men including the photographer) are naturally beautiful women; but it's worth noting one of Mr Stuart's other defining features, is his disapproval of the last-decade-or-so's trend of shaving pubic hair. This is perfectly OK with me, since being waxed bare has never really appealed to me; I prefer my eroticism with models who look natural - and without fail, every model here is unshaved. Another feature is the locations; some Parisian scenes, but many in the classical French interior of the studio, with baroque chairs and the like.

The book itself is of the usual Taschen quality, well printed - 280 pages and slightly oversized (approx 25x31cm). A coffee-table book, but only if you have lovers or particularly open-minded friends round for coffee. It also come with a DVD; about an hour of clips of the photographer's film projects; the subject matter is similar, with some crossover with the scenes in the book - but the very graphic sex and porn aspect is obviously heightened when viewing it as video.

You may think that it sounds a little pretentious; I find more of a hint of that when viewing Mr Stuart's work than with some other photographers. And you might arguably be right - but then what is eroticism and fantasy, but a kind of pretence? Either way, it's all the more thought-provoking - and arousing - for it. Definitely recommended, if you don't mind turning the heat up a bit from typical art-nude books.

10 May 2011

Ana Dias & Wolf189, via Photographer & Muse

Working on a couple more reviews, but meantime another quickie... happened upon Photographer & Muse, a great showcase of erotic and/or nude photography; each entry being a short series of images along a particular theme. Was lured there by Between the Sheets, by the very inventive Wolf189; and thereafter discovered another gem by way of Ana Dias' The Girl Next Door - certainly not like any neighbour I've ever had, but I guess that some folk are just luckier when it comes to that sort of thing. Needless to say, that kind underwear and glamour is very appealing, so I shall be looking forward to seeing more from Ms Dias.

More smut racy reviews soon, but meantime there's a very lovely video making-of:

8 May 2011

Cervena Fox is a very naughty nurse

I've recently been seeing a lot (well, perhaps not quite as much as I'd like) of lovely UK glamour and fetish model Cervena Fox, who's done a lot of modelling for fetishwear and tattoo magazines and sites. Here in this video for Ludwig Amadeus, she appears as a latex-clad nurse; although it's not that explicit, it's enough to set my pulse racing...

Ludwig Amadeus - I've Been Up from Justin Hazelton on Vimeo.

Seeing as I'm on the subject of Ms Fox, here's a clip of a shoot she did for Alt Exclusive (the pics themselves sadly not being on their site yet!)

5 May 2011

Coming soon at Petites Parisiennes

Petites Parisiennes remains one of my favourite haunts, with photographer Jam's unique brand of erotica; sophisticated and sexy, with a wide range of beautiful models - but far more exciting than the raft of art nudes that we see on other sites.

Looks like there's some great stuff in store in the next month or so; looking forward to seeing more of stunning, curvy redhead Alixia - I very much approve of her unshaven look, which leaves us in no doubt her colouring is natural ;) And also more of the beautiful, slim, almost quintessentially French Lysse, and ultra-cute Madagascan Kelly (painted in liquid latex, no less).

Not showing on the update calendar yet, but some preview galleries have crept in for new model Erika, looking very lovely in some very sexy lingerie. And finally, I've just learned that PP will soon be featuring French (I think) asian model Miss Ting Ting, who I've seen in a few places - am very much looking forward to seeing what racy scenarios she and Jam come up with.

3 May 2011

Working from home, according to Mitchell & Webb

As someone who works from home most of the time... I pass no comment on the following sketch: