Phillip Toledano’s New Book- Phone Sex Workers

- - Photographers

Phillip Toledano has a new book coming out on phone sex workers (here).

When I see a project like this (Timothy Archibald’s sex machines comes to mind as well) I’m always impressed by the photographers ability to convince the subjects to sit for pictures that will potentially be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. It’s worth noting for for future assignments where a subject might be spooked easily.

Via, Swissmiss.

There Are 19 Comments On This Article.

  1. The photo elicitation aspect of this project is what makes it for me. These portraits are nice enough, but as with any project on some sort of alt section of our culture there is a very fine line between “whoa! look at these ‘people’” vs. “learn about these people, they are, and are not, a lot like you.” Reading these quotes makes it powerful.

  2. Johann Gutenberg

    I agree with John — yes, the images are strong, but wow, SO much more powerful with the text/stories included. Oddly, maybe it was the keyline around the spreads or something, but it was very much like reading a paper magazine. Just goes to show you — show strong images, some good stories, and very simple design, and that’s all you need. Don’t need a bunch of swirling dissolving Flash to jazz it up.

    As I write this, I’m just reminded of how many photographs that I see on the web that could be supplemented greatly by some kind of story line included. The story really helps; it gives much greater context. Obviously, this particular content is a tad more titillating, but when text and photos are combined well, like in this case, I could keep clicking for another hour. Strong project. (Uh, but there’s a typo in the word “masterb…”)

  3. I couldn’t agree with APE more: if you, as a photographer, can deliver the undeliverable, your value increases greatly.

    I think, in this age of ‘no stone left unturned’ where even the most remote and inaccessible human experience is uncovered and turned into a feature in a monthly glossy, your ability to actually record the most elusive subject and do it well is invaluable to an editor.

    In my world, where the majority of our subjects do what they do so they can stay away from people, the photographer’s ability to melt into his/her surroundings and make the subject feel comfortable is absolutely necessary to make a great image. Most titles in my category don’t do this kind of work because it’s so difficult and/or they just don’t understand its value. That fact alone makes your ability to do deliver this kind of image even more valuable.

  4. chris kargotis

    Arguably the most significant person to document on the sex industry in recent times is Luke Ford, who has now turned his back on this work.

    This is one of his interviews, which I found a disturbing, yet humorous and ironic indictment on the effect of society upon an individual. I hope “kandi Hart” who was 24 when Ford filmed her now has her degree. His terrible photo and film technique was partly intentional:

    http://revver.com/video/243268/kandi-hart-interview-april-19-2007/

  5. Thanks for showing us this one, Rob. About a month ago, I watched for the first time Spike Lee’s movie, “Girl 6″ on the same subject. That was made over 10 years ago but it still holds up. This is the first time I have seen Phillip Toledano’s work. Wow, he’s very good. I wish him success with this book!

    • @jl, I’m in the phone sex industry. Believe me, Girl 6 was nothing at all like what the phone sex industry really is. That movie never held up.

  6. Anonymouse

    I’m more impressed by the javascript on that page. Max resolution auto resize without the use of Flash!

  7. I like that it is published by twin palms. :)

    Nice to see Mr. Toledano’s lighting is maturing. Congrats.

  8. This project is a great idea, but is it me or is the execution a little lack luster? The photographs are good but leave much to be desired in my opinion. There is really only one picture that is great. I think Phil has great ideas, this book included, (probably aided by his stint as an AD and CD) and his story telling ability is very good as well, but his eye and execution sometimes are just ok.

  9. This is pretty interesting to me. I’ve been in the phone sex industry since 1994 and most of the pics and text here seem pretty usual. I have to say though, the one of the guy who claims to talk to women… total BS. There IS NO market for male phone sex operators to talk to women. If he is doing phone sex calls, he is talking to men… period.

    In all my phone sex years, I can count on both hands the number of women who have called to talk to men. Being an owner (since 1996), I can tell you, even if you try and target advertising toward that end, there is no business for it.

    Women don’t have to pay for phone sex. That’s just a simple fact. If you have a woman call any 10 random men and start talking dirty, at least 7 or 8 will at least listen, if not get into it. If you have a man call any 10 random women and start talking dirty, he’ll get hung up on at least 9, if not 10 times.

  10. Phillip didn’t convince anybody. He paid us money, duh! Do you honestly think I would let some coffeetable photographer take my picture without me, as the model, getting paid? Think again, people. I worked in advertising for 15 years. As for the story, the photographer is not telling any story at all. I wrote my blurb. My name is Sally Siegel, my cell is 917-208-3080 and I am 100% for real. As far as I’m concerned, any photographer who shoots anybody, male or female, in the sex industry, exploits us. I got $100 for my work. Then his publicist had the chutzpah to place ink about the book in the NY Post, with MY pic. Imagine my surprise. Grrrrrrrrrr.

    I am a photographer. I was an art director with the top shops in NYC for 15 years. Phillips photographs are amateurish, in my professional, opinion. There was absolutely NO Photoshop done, which, since these are digital, cry out for some retouching, color correction, unsharp masking. All the shots in the whole book are too dark by 35%.

    I think he made me look lonely, pathetic, sad, ugly and weird. That sucks big time, because I am NONE of that.

    Hey, what goes around comes around. I was furious when I saw he let his publicist put my pic on Page Six.

    All he did was show up at people’s houses, make a big deal of using simple equipment, take bad shots, use our writing to piggyback his name. Nothing remotely creative about this guy. Nice guy, but he’s no artist. Why would he choose to show a gorgeous woman like me with such a nasty pic?

    Once again, artsy-fartsy wannabes find the “kinkiest” subject and think they’re being interesting. NOT!

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
    Sally Siegel