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An interview with Maxime Ballesteros to celebrate his exhibition at Sang Bleu

Maxime Ballesteros is the Berlin based photographer who from this evening will have a solo show named Entre chien et loup at Sang Bleu’s new exhibition space in London. So to celebrate we’ve spoken to Ballesteros more about the photographs he’ll be exhibiting and his work.

 With your images we are often left with the feeling that we are only seeing details and moments of a much bigger going on why is this?


I feel like it could be a definition of my work, and maybe the way I see photography in general. I can only frame a little part of the world, and of a moment. And it’s an interesting feeling for me, when the viewer is not sure of the context, pushed to complete the frame with parts of his own history and sensations.

I can also be only interested by one detail, or a combination of elements, and fill the photograph with it. If you see a white sock stuck on the branch of a tree, you can make a thousand stories out of it. Often the title of the work gives a direction as well.


Your work is often referenced as being provocative and sexual, how do you feel about this and would you agree?


One needs strong words to describe a body of work I guess. I use flashes quite often, and my framing is usually straight forward and centered on what I want to show. That form might be aggressive to some viewers. But on the content level, provocative and sexual wouldn’t be words I’d use to refer to my work. Unless the photo is staged, and in this case it’s clearly visible, my approach is very close to documentary. And my work is as provocative and sexual as the world is, [...]


Pornai is the Ancient Greek word for prostitutes and is where the contemporary term pornography derives from.

Prostitution was considered an ordinary job in Ancient Greece, particularly in Athens. The sex trade industry was large due to the lack of socialization between men and ‘respectable’ female citizens beyond their immediate family. The large cities of the time were also full of men that had travelled without families to seek employment. Men in Ancient Greece often didn’t marry until 30, so prostitution solicited their sexual desires before these years.

A hierarchy of prostitutes existed in Ancient Greece and the pornai carried the lowest rank; pornai translates to whore or harlot. They were the streetwalkers or the slaves.

Female sex slaves existed abundantly in Ancient Greece due to the belief that the victor of battle had the right to enslave as many people as he chose. When lands, such as Thrace and modern day Turkey were overthrown in battle, women were captured, enslaved and sent to brothels. These women were considered barbaric due to their inability to speak Greek.

Sandals of the streetwalking Pornai have been found that have the word ‘Follow me’ (‘akolouthei’) studded into their soles; the footprinted message would imprint the hard packed sand that paved the cities and would lead to the streetwalking pornai and the favours she distributed down the alleys of the crowded, downtown areas such as the port of Piraeus and Kerameikos in Athens.

The streetwalking pornai had the ability to publicly display their charms to attract prospective clients and profited from the allure that their studded soles created as a recourse for publicity.

Philip Yarnell’s favourite tattoos

Today we asked the most beautiful tattooer Philip Yarnell to choose some of his favourite tattoos from his impressive collection and explain why he likes them so much.


My back piece was done by Liam Sparkes around three years ago at Shangri La, we decided on the goat because the original image is by one of my favourite artists Walton Ford. The image of the goat is based on the Faustian tale of selling your soul. The entire tattoo only took about two and half hours which is pretty impressive for a back piece of that size.


These two tattoos on the right hand side of my torso were done by Luca Font and Glue Sniffer. The heroin chic was done by Glue Sniffer earlier this year, I chose this image because I like how crude it is. Luca’s tattoo of the girls head was also created earlier this year at Sang Bleu and I love how classical and timeless this image is.



The top tattoo on my calf was done by Koji Ichimaru at the start of this year at Duke Street, I like this girl because Koji is well known for mixing up traditional Japanese and classic Western styles together, but this one was more unusual for him and most of his images are usually of Japanese content. The tattoo below that was done by Javier Rodriguez at Sang Bleu, I enjoy it because it doesn’t look like anything else I have on my body and there is a lot of character to the devils face.




Thomas Pollard created this great image of the character Suzy Bannion in the horror classic Suspira. For me this is a very iconic image [...]

“These Christian swingers like sharing Bible verses and sex partners”

A Bible-thumping couple in Florida is changing the way people think about their faith — with a hookup website for devout Christian swingers!

Cristy Parave and her husband, Dean, are the unashamed bodybuilding Jesus lovers bringing couples together and introducing them to their wild lifestyle of swapping sex partners and Bible verses, Barcroft Media reports.

When the fitness gurus got sick of finding swingers online who couldn’t meet their standards, they decided to set up their own swinging network — They have been touring the US ever since, meeting couples who want to join in and indulge in their holy promiscuity.

The couple first met at a bodybuilding competition, and simply don’t care what people say about their swinging. They firmly believe that despite their unfaithful marriages, the big guy upstairs doesn’t have a care in the world that they’re defiling their sacred vows.

“I don’t think God would be mad at what we are doing,” Cristy said. “At first I was conflicted, but the more we looked at it, the more it makes sense to us.”

The 44-year-old added that she felt mankind had been created to frolic and fornicate with one another.

“God put people on the Earth to breed and enjoy each other,” she told Barcroft. “I feel God is always with me and he has put us here for a reason.”

The hulking matchmakers have been together for seven years, according to Barcroft. They began their swinging escapades when the two met a brazen couple at Home Depot who blatantly asked them if they wanted to swing.

“I was so naive, I thought they were talking about swing dancing,” she said. “Afterwards we went home and looked it up online and it sounded exciting.”

Article taken from The New York [...]

Sade: Attacking The Sun

The Musée d’Orsay is currently hosting an exhibition titled Sade: Attacking the Sun that explores the French writer, the Marquis de Sade’s provocative transformation of literature and the arts.

The Marquis de Sade is the famed controversial writer of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries known for his explicitly erotic works, often violent, criminal and blasphemous against the Catholic Church. He’s the author of novels such as ‘Justine, or The Misadventures of Fortune‘ and ‘The 120 Days of Sodom‘, which he wrote whilst imprisoned in the Bastille for sodomy and poisoning prostitutes.

De Sade was a libertine, unrestrained  and devoid of moral, religious or lawful discipline. The exhibition addresses de Sade and his radical questioning of limits, proportion, excess, notions of beauty, ugliness, the sublime and the body through themes of his ferocious and singular desire, his principle of excess and elements of the bestial.

Sade: Attacking the Sun’s focus is on the revolution of representation that his work unearthed; how it dissolved premeditated religious, ideological, social and moral notions. On display are numerous examples of work that have evidently been influenced by Sade’s philosophies, from artists such as Rodin, Gericaurt, Ingres and Rops.

Works on show that marry art and de Sade’s sadistic, violent and sexual fantasies are Cezanne’s ‘Portrait of a Strangled Woman‘ (1872), Picasso’s ‘The Rape of the Sabines‘ (1962), Goya’s ‘Cannibals Preparing Their Victims‘ (1800-08) and Rops’ ‘Violence ou Satyres’.

The exhibition presents de Sade as a veritable legend whose work, despite its blatant ignorance of contemporary (then, and now) notions of morality, influences art with its violently erotic philosophy.

Sade: Attacking the Sun is on show now until the 25th January 2015 at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

More information can be found on their website, here 



An interview with Hairaiser

Hairaiser makes images to satisfy his fetish for women with excess body hair.  The internet found images of stereotypically beautiful women have been manipulated by Hairaiser in often subtle ways – a provocatively posed woman at first seems quite normal  until your eyes travel down and you are enlightened with a downy covering of manly fur covering her legs. Some images are more blatant, Angelina Jolie or a 90s porn star with a good few weeks worth of growth on their faces are particularly delightful. There is something almost charming about the photographs that Hairaiser manipulates, verging on the in-offensive and absurd but simultaneously fantastically surreal. Some of the worlds most idolised modern women are turned into a drag queen’s dream. In a society where body hair on a woman is deemed unsightly its nice that Hairaiser has taken his fetish to the extreme that he has, even if this amount of body hair is unusual for most women to achieve.

We spoke to Hairaiser more about how his fetish has developed and the images that he makes.


Could you explain to us what attracts you to hairy women?

Why of course! I find it quite natural that a woman does not shave, and I honestly do not know why I am attracted to those who have a lot of hair. I like it and that’s it, I love to caress the legs of my wife when she hasn’t shaved, kiss her lips and feel the hairs of her upper lip. I think the fluff, when its thick, it is very feminine and sensual. Hairy women are beautiful to me.

At what point did you realise that you were attracted to hairy women? Was there a defining experience for you in your past?

Ever since puberty [...]

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude opens at the Courtauld Gallery on the 23rd October and is the first major museum exhibition solely dedicated to the Vienesse artist’s work in the UK.

The exhibition focuses solely on Schiele and his nude subject which played a seminal role in his short but prolific career.

Schiele is known for his sexually provocative images that reinvented the classical depiction of the human figure. He challenged outmoded conventions of the nude by depicting the male and female figure in contorted poses and an unidealised form.

Themes that run throughout the exhibition are those of self-expression, procreation, sexuality and eroticism, acted out by various models- from himself to his sister, male friends, his wife and lovers, prostitutes, pregnant mothers and babies.

The images are often sexually explicit and erotically charged; Schiele was the first artist to address both human sexual anatomy and sexual psychology frankly through figure drawing. The explicit nature of Schiele’s artistic pursuits eventually criminalized him, he was imprisoned for two months in 1912 for contravening public decency.

The Radical Nude showcases thirty eight of his nude works that show Schiele’s talent for an explicit and raw depiction of not only the human form but human sexuality.

The exhibition runs from 23rd October until the 18th January at the Courtauld Gallery, London
More information can be found here