Long exposure photographs of couples having sex

Photographer Tara Hadi wants to take pictures of you having sex.

Now before you get all creeped out picturing a sweating trenchcoat-clad pervess perhaps we should clarify. Hadi started a project where she uses pinhole cameras to take long-exposure photographs of willing couples (or friends or…) having sex. The results are a black-and-white blend of movement with some evident though not overt sexuality — the photographic equivalent of rumpled sheets after a hot session.

It’s not the kind of project people initiate every day.

“There were a few things that led into this project. I did a series that was really voyeuristic at one point” says Hadi when asked why she’s prying into people’s bedrooms. “So people in private moments — getting dressed showering. And photography is always something that seemed to me to be a pretty voyeuristic activity so it lends itself pretty well to these sorts of subjects. I’ve always taken a lot of long-exposure photographs so I’m fascinated by being able to capture movement and the passing of time in a still image.

“When I thought about photographing people having sex I was trying to find a way to have really long exposure time so minutes rather than seconds so I used a pinhole camera to take these ones.”

For Hadi who is studying psychology the project like some of her other work is focused on human behaviour and interaction. “Sex just happens to be another one of the ways we do that” she says. “So whether it’s based on a more short-term physical interaction or an expression of affection and intimacy I don’t think it really matters. I think it’s still all about an innate human desire that connection that we’re trying to make with other people.”

At this point participants will have to accept that Hadi will be in the room with them something that will likely appeal to some while repulsing others. That said Hadi is working on a way that she can give instructions to couple so that people can walk into a room together without her.

It ties into one of the biggest challenges she has faced while trying to work on this project: finding willing participants. “So far I’ve only approached people that I know on some level” she says. “It’s not something you bring up in polite conversation I suppose with complete strangers.

“I can’t help but feel a bit perverse in asking people sometimes and I think that’s been a bit of a barrier as well.”

She’s photographed two couples by now but one session was lost when Hadi processed the film.

Yet despite the potential for titillation this project isn’t just about getting some sexual kicks.

“I tend to think that the current state of sex and sexuality in our culture is one that’s almost a caricature of itself” she says. “I see it as a result of being extremely repressed for such a long time. When we repress things they become distorted so we end up with the Miley Cyruses of the world doing what they’re doing and the porn industry grossing $13 billion a year or whatever it is. So I think I want these photos to be in contrast to that.

“I’m not suggesting they’re a commentary on the state of sexuality in our culture but when I wanted to take these photos I didn’t want them to just end up being more of what we already have.”

For those who might be interested in their own photo shoot the best way to contact Hadi is through her website tarahadiphotography.com .

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