Student Blog: Empty Porn Sets

Jo Broughton - Empty Porn Sets

Photography with an intriguing aesthetic angle and the power to leave me asking a handful of questions is my favourite kind of photography. Jo Broughton’s ‘Empty Porn Sets’ is an exceptional personification of this.
Images by Jo Broughton

Back in 2001, Broughton was working as a cleaner at a porn studio to fund her education at the Royal College of Art. It was here that she started photographing the orgasmic aftermath of the day’s shoots. Without the pounding bodies and shrieking moans to distract, the images have a certain eerie stillness to them; a stark contrast to that of which its frenetic industry is known for.

In most cases, the sets look relatively normal (if a little tasteless)- as if they could be from a fashion shoot or an IKEA showroom. Well, that’s until you look closer and spot an idle butt plug or lube dispenser.
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‘These are playgrounds of cheapish fantasy which are left like historical documents to the sex act,’ Broughton’s website states. ‘At first, they have the appearance of a show-home in questionable taste. The colours are vivid and the structure at once basic and commercial looking.’
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It was the garish colours and the sinister stillness of the images which initially grabbed my attention. They conjured an unshakeable feeling of amusement and uneasiness in me. Perhaps it was the disturbing notion of loneliness and exploitation that is consistently present throughout the images.

Nevertheless, the setting of a Brazzers scene isn’t something that people usually focus on when browsing PornHub hence why there’s something so compelling about Broughton’s photography. They’re smutty, but innocent. Without the integration of grinding bodies, they appear so alien- and that’s exactly what I love about them.

See the full collection of photos here.
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