Barbara Nitke: American Ecstasy

During what would come to be seen by some as the "Golden Age of Porn", when production values where high, and neither AIDS or Viagra had yet entered the popular consciousness, the American photographer Barbara Nitke, earned her paycheck as a stills photographer on the sets the New York adult industry. 

Somewhere in he midst of the 300 or so shoots that Nitke worked on during the early 80s, she started making images for herself as well as for the films producers marketing materials, capturing a somewhat romantic vision of the rigmarole of the pornographic industry. More than two decades on, Nitke has brought together the resulting photographs as a self published book entitled American Ecstasy.

The book is a meditation on a bygone era, that seems to attempt to show something more of the the individuals that fill its pages than just mechanics of their chosen occupations. Presenting us with a series that sits somewhere on the boarder between the fantasy and reality of porn, through showing sexually graphic images that embrace all of the clich├Ęs that one may expect of 80s porn - big hair, moody lighting, wicker furniture and perhaps the odd wind machine -  along side those that illustrate the reality of a physically, and emotionally demanding job where the "days were at least 12 hours long", and the eyes have a tendency to deaden. 

The book can be purchased directly from Barbara Nitke HERE. 


— Gregory Barker