Review: Roy Stuart – The Fourth Body


If there was ever any doubts that porn can be art, then the work of Roy Stuart should dispel them. Now into his fourth volume for Taschen, Stuart combines stark hardcore porn with slick photography and intellectual design to create a stunning, potent world.

Stuart’s photography presents, on the face of it, porn stereotypes in many instances, though it’s easy to tell that this is not mere wanking fodder. His models are naturalistic (to the point of having armpit hair), their poses unforced, the sex acts realistic. Whether he’s shooting teasing nuidity or full-on threeways, Stuart seems to capture the essence of sexual reality – and that’s what makes his work so striking.

Of course, he’s helped immeasurably by Taschen’s typical production values. This huge hardcover book is a work of beauty in itself, and it stunningly presented. More sensitive people might feel reluctant to leave, say, Leg Show (a magazine Stuart has worked for several times) lying around on the coffee table, but this book defies anyone to find it sleazy.

This edition comes complete with a free DVD, showing Stuart’s iuncreasing interest in film-making. The contents are pretty expliicit – certainly R18 standard – and it’s quite surprising that you can buy this openly in UK bookstores. Not that I’m complaining.

As Stuart is moving more into film-making, there might not be a fifth volume of his work, so treasure this. It’s everything you want from erotic photography.