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How I Got into Porno + A Brief History Lesson in Lesbian Porn


"How'd you get into porn?"

PART 1.

This is one of the most frequently asked questions many of us performers hear. Conceptually, I was really interested in porn as a form of visual media, especially it's history in the queer art realm and social activist roots it found there. Public as private. Silence = Death. The queer artists of the 1980's and 90's called upon explicit and intimate imagery to bring light to the AIDs crisis and fallout of Reaganomics privatization of the healthcare system. This is where queer bodies were visible to the masses. I was interested in artist like Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, and Cathy Opie. Artistically and academically this relationship began. At a certain point, one has to ask themselves where's the practicum, the space in which theory and practice collide? I decided to pursue this with a little practice.
After graduating from a small liberal arts college, I moved up to the Bay Area and began interning at On Our Backs Magazine. Here's a little Wiki-Knowledge about OOB:

On Our Backs was the first women-run erotica magazine and the first magazine to feature lesbian erotica for a lesbian audience in the United States. ("On Our Backs" is also a book written by Rosita Sweetman being a look at sexual attitudes in 1980s Ireland)

The magazine was first published in 1984 by Debi Sundahl and Myrna Elana, with the contributions of Susie Bright, Nan Kinney, Honey Lee Cottrell, Dawn Lewis, Happy Hyder, Tee Corinne, Jewelle Gomez, Judith Stein, Joan Nestle, Pat Califia, Morgan Gwenwald, Katie Niles, Noreen Scully, Sarita Johnson, and many others. Susie Bright became editor-in-chief for the next six years. Later editors included Shar Rednour, Tristan Taormino, and Diana Cage. "On Our Backs" defined the look and politics of lesbian culture for the 80s, as well as playing a definitive role in the feminist sex wars of the period, taking the side of sex-positive feminism.

The title of the magazine was a satirical reference to off our backs, a long-running feminist newspaper that published the work of many anti-pornography feminists during the 1980s, and which the founders of On Our Backs considered prudish about sexuality. Off our backs regarded the new magazine as "pseudo-feminist" and threatened legal action over the logo OOB.

In 1985, Sundahl and Kinney spun off the first in a series of precedent-making lesbian erotic videos, called Fatale Video. Distribution of the magazine in Australia began in 1986. By the late 1980s, Fatale Media was the largest producer of lesbian pornography in the world.

In 1994, the magazine experienced financial problems, and, after being bought out by a new publisher, Melissa Murphy (who released only one issue), disappeared from the market until 1998. H.A.F. Publishing then owned the magazine. The original creators moved on to other projects.

In 1997, a photography book based on the pioneering work of On Our Back's artists called Nothing but the Girl was published by Cassell Press, edited by Susie Bright and Jill Posener.

H.A.F.'s publication of On Our Backs, and its sister publication, Girlfriends, both ceased publication in March 2006[6] after being bought out by the publishers of Velvetpark Magazine.

My first introduction to OOB and the practice of porn was actually on the other side of the camera as a photographer. I have my degree in fine art photography and my day job is working for a photography center. You can apparently still buy it here. Shortly following this, I began a summer internship at the magazine while Diana Cage was editor. This of course lead to me eventually getting in front of the camera and the first official time I took off my clothes for money. I had the honor of modeling for renowned photographer Phyllis Christopher who is responsible for documenting a fair amount of lesbian culture through out the 90's.

This was the beginning and much, much more was to follow.

Watch Syd Blakovich's porn on CrashPadSeries.com. Follow Syd on Twitter (@SydBlakovich).




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