Imagine… It’s circa 2000, and you’ve just graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with some kinda avant garde film degree. Internships, which are basically requisite for breaking into mainstream production, are few and far between and highly competitive. Plus, you need to eat and you don’t really want to leave the Bay Area. What do you do?
Well, if you’re Shine Louise Houston, you start working at a local area sex toy shop, which amounts to five years of community involvement and market research. The spaces and places where consumers’ sexual needs and desires are left wanting become apparent. So you go back to school, learning business nuts-and-bolts at a local junior college, and you open your own porn company in 2005 – Pink & White Productions.
According to their mission statement, “Pink & White Productions creates adult entertainment that exposes the complexities of queer sexual desire. Taking inspiration from many different sources, Pink & White is dedicated to producing sexy and exciting images that reflect today’s blurred gender lines and fluid sexualities.” (here)
Now, I know a lot about porn. I also know a lot about things like the complexities of queer desire, blurred gender lines, and fluid sexualities… But what does all this look like together, like, in the real world? I spent some time this month poking around everything PinkWhite.biz and talking with Shine, as well as with Pink & White’s Online Marketing Director Jiz Lee, in order to figure it out.
Pink & White Productions consists of several content lines, the most recognizable of which is Crash Pad Series. In many ways, Crash Pad is a conventional porno pay site: different rates get your different levels of access to an array of sexytime content. They have a great big scene archive and an extensive catalogue of featured performers to explore, as well as a blog (my favorite!) and behind-the-scenes interview footage (my super favorite!).
Much of Crash Pad’s content has a voyeuristic, I’m-peeking-in-on-people-meeting-up-for-variable-bangs type vibe. And everything looks really warm and dirty, with a distinctively lo-fi ‘70s feel, which I learned was due in part to the use of a Wollensak 25mm f1.9 Cine Raptar lens, an object I was completely unfamiliar with but that Shine says is the most beautiful thing in the world.
According to Shine, her work endeavors to “tell the story of sex.” Somewhat of a departure from the experimental and theoretical world of film school, Shine takes a more narrative approach with her porn, focusing on both the action and performers’ reaction to it.
“The way we shoot sex is like shooting dialogue – shot and reverse shot – versus focusing on one perspective or an outside camera,” Shine explains. She elaborated with a discussion of camera angles and lighting and that lens again and, admittedly, a lot of the filmmaker technical stuff went way over my head. So I watched some Crash Pad scenes (for science!) – including “DONNA, JAKE AND LORELEI,” wherein “Lorelei Lee finds herself caught between two lovers, Donna and Jake, but manages to cum out on top,” and “SWEET TEA’S SOLO” scene that involved a dildo suction cupped to a chair – and I gotta tell you: relative to a lot of porn, Shine’s work is something different. Not necessarily better, but certainly unique and very beautiful.
(pictured: from a Crash Pad set)
Pink & White content is kinda like porno potpourri. You can find just about every combination of every kind of person doing every kind of sex thing in Pink & White scenes, from the most vanilla to the most kinky to the most hardcore – in many ways, even more hardcore than a lot of “mainstream” or “conventional” porn. Further, Shine’s work provides a space for professional (and amateur) performers – these folks that we all assume know so much about their own sexualities – to explore how they themselves want to be seen. According to Jiz, “Crash Pad provides a container for unique opportunities that don’t happen in a lot of porn, so performers have this playground where they finally get to do things that they don’t usually have an outlet for.”
Crash Pad and everything else Pink & White constitute both a unique look at sexual cinema and a key piece completing the overall picture of wider adult entertainment. Shine’s work is both political and artistic, as well as hot, hard, and – occasionally – “cute skeezy.” It will appeal to your high-minded inner perv. Well, at least is does to mine.
(pictured: Shine Louise Houston)
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Images used with permission.
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