Today I took delivery of a very heavy parcel from The Quite Delightful Project, the first two editions of some the finest, intelligent, and beautifully crafted erotica I have seen in a while. If you’re in a rush, and don’t want to read the rest of this, then let me just say, as a man who has been trying to explore and create cerebral erotica in both photographic and literary forms for many years, this is one of the publications I have been waiting for. Longing for.
It’s marketed as ‘By women, for women’, but I feel I have to disagree slightly. It’s erotica for intelligent, cerebral people. Anyone who appreciated fine art, beautifully written articles, and some of the best photography from around the world, this is for them. Many of the contributors I have heard of previously, and followed some of their works for many years. Photographers who have grown and become respected and renowned throughout art and erotic photography. I know how some of them must feel from seeing their work in such a fabulous place. Back in 2012 as a group show I was invited to exhibit in, someone came up to my and said ‘Oh! So you’re Chris W Parker! You’re famous!’ I disagreed, and he qualified it by saying ‘Well, internet famous anyway. I’ve seen your work on tumblr.’ But still, recognition is recognition! Imagine how these artists must feel, the pride of being part of the Quite Delightful Project.
It’s a very quality publication, beautifully printed and bound, each of the two editions comes with a monograph, the first one of Stoya, the second of Elegia (a fellow Manchester resident - I’ve still got two packs of Polaroid film I need to pass her way yet!), and a smaller book titled ‘I Confess’, short stories of erotic encounters and confessions. The main show are the 2 inch thick Quite Frankly (Issue 1) and Quite Lovely (Issue 2) journals. A total of 48 engagingly crafted articles (from what I’ve read so far, and it’s going to take me a while to fully absorb it all) over nearly 700 pages.
It's the fine detailing as well. The binding, and the embossed sleeves for the journal. The print quality and the paper stock, and the prints attached to the cover of the 'I Confess' book, as well as the handwritten title. These things matter.
Many years ago I wrote my degree dissertation on erotic photography, and one of the questions posed was ‘what is erotic?’, a question I filed to give an absolute answer to, eroticism being quite subjective and personal. I spoke to a few photographers, such as Chip Willis and Merkley, as well as Yulia Gorodinski, Miss Aniela, and a young lady from Scotland on Flickr who went by the handle of ‘Haggis Chick’, each giving me differing opinions on what was erotic. The most amusing answer from San Francisco based Merkley was “The distinction [between pornography and eroticism] for me would that I like porn because it’s good for a tug, ‘erotic’ stuff always seems like an angry lesbian is crouching around the corner waiting for you to get a boner so she can yell at you. I don’t like the word erotic.” Well, everyone has an opinion, I guess. Chip's definition was much better, “Porn is all over and boring. I want to show artistic beauty in non-typical ways. Porn is strictly to arouse and settle physical needs. Erotica leaves room for the imagination. I like to know something about the person I am shooting. I like uncovering the mystery of the beautiful woman I am photographing." The Quite Delightful team pose the same question to all their contributors, how amazing would that have been in 2007 when I was researching for my own writing.
On the day that low-brow publications FHM and Zoo announce they are ceasing to print their respective magazines (and I know each title has it’s supporters, but they are not a readership that would engage at all with Quite Delightful, but I would hope that one day they would), to have such quality, high class, and high art still being produced and printed, along with another journal I submit to, Red Light Lit, well, it shows that there is still a place in the world for art and eroticism. And I hope it remains that way for a long time. I’m going to mix an Old Fashioned, and start the quite delightfully mammoth task of reading it all.
Overall, there is work of such standard and quality, in equal parts it motivates and inspires me to get off my lazy arse and get creating, and also to just throw all my work away, give up, as I can never attain such beautiful work.
The Quite Delightful Project can be purchased via their website