A Question of Desire: New Erotic Photography

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Photography by Logan White

We explore Patrick Remy's curation of delicate portrayals of desire that flourish away from the hardcore

The question of desire is at the heart of the human experience. It informs our days and our dreams, our mistakes and our triumphs, our magazine choices and our internet history. Desire adds lustre to the greyest afternoon, a smile or a tear to the smallest interaction, and it is exquisitely different for every person. Trying to create a visual record of desire is like trying to staple a cloud, but Patrick Remy has made a valiant and beautiful attempt by collating a selection of works from established and emerging photographers to create a new book titled, simply, Desire. Moving beyond the censorship of Instagram and the pornographic goldmine of the Internet, this book takes a broad theme and makes it intensely personal, moving into the beds, mirrors and smartphones of its subjects, questioning provocation and privacy in today's does-anything-actually-go? world. 

This is a book of questions which Remy attempts to answer by examining a variety of encounters, seen through the eyes of 32 artists, including nine women and two couples, of 20 different nationalities. It’s far from merely a collection of pretty girls – rather, it’s an authentic exploration of how a generation approaches sex. From girlfriends to models, mysterious bodies and lots of nudes, from exhibitionism and arousal to the tenderest kiss on a collarbone, subjects share their stories in a totally spontaneous, uncensored way. Here we present some of our favourites.

Quentin de Briey
Before turning to editorial photography, Belgian-born Quentin de Briey was a professional skateboarder. Following a career change dictated by a serious injury, de Briey went on to become a renowned fashion photographer, his work being published in magazines from Vogue to Rolling Stone. The main subject of the series featured in the book is de Briey’s girlfriend Steffy, a professional model, and the photographs are personal memories of a trip to Mallorca that the couple took back in 2013.

David Bellemere
David Bellemere’s surreal photographs are the result of a fascination with beauty, photography and Asia that he discovered as a teenager. Inspired by 1970s aesthetics, Bellemere exalts the beauty of the female body through suggestive games of light and composition. For Bellemere, desire has a dual meaning – there’s both a desire for beauty that seduces, and a desire to share that beauty.

The artistic collaboration between Ukrainian photographers Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven began in 2008. Their experimental, delicate work investigates the tension between man and nature through a hauntingly sophisticated, primordial approach. Their project Reverie Sleep is based on Synchrodogs’ lucid dreams and aims to recreate the state of drowsiness experienced between sleep and wake through hallucinated visions of a long-haired, naked girl in natural surroundings – she could be lying on a black sand beach, her body painted in rainbow shades, covered in flowers, immersed in a lunar landscape or balancing on a cliff edge, leaning towards the void.

Ana Kraš
Born in Serbia, Ana Kraš lives and works in New York. As well as being an internationally-recognised furniture designer, Kraš is also a talented portrait and fashion photographer, an illustrator and a model. Her dreamlike photographs of people – who she likes to capture on the sly – reveal her curious nature and cutting-edge artistic taste.

Massimo Leardini
Enraptured by Nordic natural beauty, Italian-born Massimo Leardini relocated to Norway in 1987, where he found inspiration to create work “that reflects what I like to see as much as my feelings." Regarded as one of Scandinavia’s most acclaimed photographers, Leardini's incredible portfolio is a blend of nostalgia, nature and our physical bond to the world.

Lina Scheynius
The living proof that the Internet is the future, Swedish-born Lina Scheynius would never have thought that sharing her private photographs on Flickr would have led to a successful career as a photographer. London-based Scheynius has made a name for capturing her most intimate moments and sexual experiences on camera, a process which she describes as very simple, “they are snapshots taken with a 35mm, like old family albums that we all have leafed through.”

Desire by Patrick Remy is out now, published by Prestel.

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