Richard Kern

Why do I love Kern’s work? Because he uses real people for his models. Not glamour pussies or Hollywood’s plastic Barbie Dolls. He uses women whom you or I could see ourselves dating. He uses our potential girlfriends for his muses and shows they can be – and are – as beautiful as any woman being paid millions for her features. HE lets us see that the woman we love, the woman we sleep with, have sex with, eat with and smile with is far more important than the glossy features of a faraway impossibility. He reminds us that while there are perfect women in the movies and on the catwalks, perfect women share our homes and our lives.

Shown below are just some of his pictures. Only a few. I’ll add more as time goes on, but I want you to get an impression of his work so you might go out and try and find one of his books (ACTION is fantastic, but if you can get a copy of the now rare NEW YORK GIRLS, you’re in for a treat!)

Jennifer M with hand in mouth 1997

Head in toilet from MODEL RELEASE

Copper with Cock (my title) from NEW YORK GIRLS

Brushing teeth

From NEW YORK GIRLS – a prime example of Kern’s ability to get ordinary girls do extraordinary things.

Some of his images are classed as pornographic – and it’s true that he has sold work to porn mags over the years – but unlike the standard top-shelf fodder,  there is a common theme running throughout his work: the women are in control. They’re doing what they want to do, not what the photographer tells them.

They’re having a laugh; they’re expressing themselves.

Admittedly there will be those who will say I’m seeing what I want to see and that he is just another exploiter of women but after years of following Kern, I know he treats his women like royalty. Without them he wouldn’t be on a no-mark’s website. These are images Gok Wan would be proud off: Kern is showing the world what society calls ‘average’ is actually very beautiful and full of confidence.

A genius at work.


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