David Steinberg: My First Disability Shoot

Skrevet av: David Steinberg

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© David Steinberg

I was particularly interested in Crys and Jeff because Jeff had cerebral palsy and I had long been a public advocate for the sexuality of people with disabilities – people generally unacknowledged as fully sexual people but whose sexuality is truly as vibrant and interesting as that of anyone else

I began photographing couples being sexual in 1999. My first experimental shoot was with Dara and Vann (see cupido.no/erotica/718636), the publishers of what was then San Francisco’s sex-oriented newspaper, Spectator. I was delighted with the results, as was Cupido editor, who immediately began publishing my images – even putting my work on the cover of the magazine!

At that time, people associated with Spectator gathered monthly for what we called the Spectator Salon – an open-ended space for people to talk about all sorts of issues related to sexuality. When I showed some of the prints from my shoot with Dara and Vann to people at the Salon – and my encouraging publication in Cupido -- several other couples immediately wanted me to photograph them as well.

Among the most enthusiastic were Crys and Jeff, long-time colleagues, sex explorers, and friends. Of course I was delighted to oblige. I was particularly interested in them because Jeff had cerebral palsy and I had long been a public advocate for the sexuality of people with disabilities – people generally unacknowledged as fully sexual people but whose sexuality is truly as vibrant and interesting as that of anyone else. A chance to demonstrate this by taking photos of Crys and Jeff was appealing indeed.

I met with Crys and Jeff to talk about the details of our shoot and answer any questions they might have that would make the shoot more comfortable and enjoyable for them. I explained that my goal with couples is to make it possible for them to be as natural and spontaneous as possible – shooting at their home, not posing or directing what they do, and so forth. They were excited and totally in agreement with my point of view.

The only thing they asked of me was that I not misrepresent Jeff as being passive, limited, or secondary in any way because of his disability. I understood this concern immediately and promised that my photos would show the full extent of his active, assertive sexual engagement with Crys. We also agreed that, for photographic purposes, Jeff would wear his classic leather and steel leg braces for as long as possible, emphasizing his disability, which he would not ordinarily do.

Shortly thereafter we met at their home and had a wonderful shoot, as these photos demonstrate. As it turns out, this was to launch a long series of shoots for me, photographing people with a variety of physical disabilities being fully sexual with their partners. To date I have photographed 14 such couples, and look forward to shooting more in the future.

 

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