These Photo Portraits of People Watching Porn Are Funny, Sweet and Very Awkward

Patrick Struys explores the 'sense of nakedness'

Last week, we looked at a project from a Brazilian photographer who invited friends over and took their photos after one, two and three glasses of wine. That seemed like a fun exercise in shedding inhibitions.

This week, we're featuring a project from Trinidadian-born, New York City-based photographer Patrick Struys that was surely a lot more awkward for the people involved.

For the "Porn Portraits" series, Struys had his subjects sit in a viewing booth and watch five and a half minutes of pornography—a video he assembled personally—and took their photos by positioning the camera lens through a peephole. The reactions are pretty amusing, ranging from laughter to shock to sheer embarrassment.

Check out a bunch of the photos here: 

The subjects knew they were being photographed, which was part of the concept. And that created a complex dynamic—the subjects are reacting to being watched watching porn, as much as they are reacting to the porn itself. This makes them charmingly vulnerable, which they each deal with in their own way. 

"Being photographed for the whole duration of the film addressed head on the way the subjects expressed themselves when faced with sex in a nonsexual or 'public' situation," Struys tells AdFreak.

Struys says he tried to make the video as inclusive as possible to every person's sexual orientation and/or tastes. The subject themselves appear to be naked, too, though actually they weren't. "The women were actually wearing tube tops, and the men were shirtless," Struys says. "The intention to have them appear naked was driven by the fact that people usually are in some 'state of nakedness' when they are being sexual—whether that is participating or watching in private."

Laughter was a very common reaction to the awkward situation. "The reactions were great," Struys says. "Obviously, initially people did laugh or smile. However, usually about two or three mins in is when I would get their more 'honest' or 'natural' reactions.' "

Struys believes his presence as a straight man heavily influenced the results.

"It became very obvious to me that women and gay men were much more comfortable showing their interest or expressing their sexuality in front of a straight man behind the camera," he says. "That was something I hadn't really taken into consideration when I first started. I wasn't expecting to encounter as many of those moments. However, all the straight men seemed very uncomfortable watching the film with me present and expressed this by laughing, joking and talking throughout the entire shoot."

See lots more of the photos below.