Charles Holland, Michael Grecco
Jesse Jane, Ron Jeremy, Jenna Jameison, Larry Flynt, Carmen Hart, Jenna Haze
From the trailblazing naughtiness of Bettie Page to the pole-dancing craze of modern housewives, the continual mainstreaming of adult entertainment is undeniable. Now comes Naked Ambition, An R-Rated Look At An X-Rated Industry from renowned celebrity photographer Michael Grecco that offers an unabashed peek under the silken covers of one of the few remaining concealed idiosyncrasies of pop culture, the multi-billion dollar porn industry. Naked Ambition, An R-Rated Look At An X-Rated Industry will open theatrically on May 1st from Lantern Lane Entertainment in association with KHG Documentary Productions. Naked Ambition, An R-Rated Look At An X-Rated Industry takes the audience to a surreal setting where thousands travel each January: the Adult Video News Awards – charmingly sometimes called “the Oscars of Porn.” Culling from two recent AVN awards shows and conventions, Grecco gained access backstage and in every other area of the four-day Las Vegas pornography extravaganza. The result is a unique look that captures artistic, revealingly human portraits of porn stars and filmmakers, both legends and literal newcomers. Along with human subjects, the documentary features provocative props, hardware, footwear, sex toys and gadgets used exclusively in the adult industry. Naked Ambition, An R-Rated Look At An X-Rated Industry will titillate and surprise because of the journeys these X-rated performers made from anonymity to erotic stardom. "It’s a film about the industry,” says Grecco. “It’s not an industry film. This is not an industry of human casualties, but an eclectic collection of astute, enterprising sexual artists. Some of their stories absolutely boggle the mind." Naked Ambition, An R-Rated Look At An X-Rated Industry has a high-gloss, fine art companion book of breathtakingly creative photographs of the same name, with guest forewords by Flynt Publications entrepreneur Larry Flynt (Hustler, Hustler Casino) and musician Dave Navarro (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction), who sees similarities between the professions, suggesting, "Rock and porn exist to break taboos, excavate the unique, sometimes unsavory, and express full-volume without attachment to what anyone might think “
Grecco has produced a stunningly intimate yet never explicit portrait of the world's most shocking industry. By taking the focus off pornography and sex, he has forced the performers at hand to stop performing for a moment and to let their humanity be captured on film. The photographer's lens gazes directly into the eyes of his models, capturing them as complex artists, not sleazy provocateurs. Grecco's subjects are fully clothed and posed in a decidedly non-offensive manner. The outfits are outrageous and the make-up is thick, but Grecco never allows his subjects to titillate the camera. He captures joyous laughter, moments of pensive thought, and direct, unflinching gazes from the myriad of artists with whom he has captured as never before on film. Among the porn stars and players in Naked Ambition, An R-Rated Look At An X-Rated Industry, giving the viewer a long, unadulterated, sometimes shocking and absolutely untouched images and personality, are:
• Jenna Jameson, the world's most famous porn star, whose majority of fans these days are not men, but women, a result of her best-selling 2006 memoir, How to Make Love Like A Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale.
• Jesse Jane, who has Pamela Anderson looks, a naughty sneer and a classically trained danced background.
• Sunny Lane, a former competitive roller skater and ice skater who trained for the Olympics.
• JoAnna Angel, the Sarah Silverman of the alt-porn industry, who is a leading director/performer/producer/writer of a new sub-sub genre of adult film: gruesome yet campy “sextires.”
• Halcyon, a spike-haired former ordained minister, and his partner Tassy, previously a successful sales manager for a Fortune 500 company
• Brea, a 3.9-GPA student raised in "a loving family" in a quiet Arizona suburb, and her best female friend Cody, a pre-med student who wants "to deliver babies for a living"
• Erotic dancer and model Kitty, joined in her photo by her mother, Natasha, who knows that her daughter "could be a star" in the adult film industry
• Grand Maitre de Valmont, a professional "master" who for 18 years has trained hundreds of willing sex "slaves" from his Edwardian mansion in the North Carolina countryside
• JC's Girls, a trinity of Christian activists who were at the AVN Awards to save souls
Michael Grecco is one of the top photographers in the world who has created iconic portraits of the most recognized entertainment stars, recently Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz and Teri Hatcher. His award-winning work is seen in trendsetting magazines such as Esquire, Time, Entertainment Weekly and Maxim. He has also photographed authors and scientists, skateboarders and musicians, and the locals he meets in his travels around the country. He is author of the best-selling photographer's guide Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Celebrity and Editorial Photography. His lectures on photography are wildly popular and he has been profiled in virtually all key photographic trade journals. He lives and works in Santa Monica, California.