LOVE HARD is a work of docu-portraiture about BDSM and intimacy. In its inquiry into the loves and lives of 5 subjects, it presents unique, articulate, and thoughtful perspectives on how kink can function in our lives – as a practice of art or intimacy, as a mode of expression or release, as an iteration or an obliteration of self, as a way to play, a way to fuck, a way to love, a way to be ordinary.
It began with the premise that BDSM, viewed simply and without stigma, is a mode of relating – to oneself, to others, to the built and natural worlds. One that the culture has taken upon itself to make meaning of, through its various filters, values and economies. We saw that there are as many ways of making meaning from BDSM practice as there were practitioners, and we desired to model the development of one’s own meaning for the role of BDSM in one’s life.
And so we sought out subjects who we felt had made their meanings artfully, thoughtfully, and with love. We watched them from a distance at first, via fleshly or digital encounters, noticing the characters they created of themselves and developing curiosities about them. We approached them delicately, sharing what we had gleaned and hoping they’d invite us in to flesh out our understandings. Graciously, they did, and we met them both as subjects and collaborators.
What results is a collection of words, images, and sounds which, when woven together, address BDSM from philosophical, psychological, physiological, artistic, sexual, emotional, and historical perspectives. These people play hard and deeply, and the insights they gather in their ‘travels to the borderlands of what’s socially acceptable’ are revelatory, and perhaps have something to say to us about love.
For those to whom BDSM is relatively unknown, we hope to add a humanizing and imaginative element to what’s currently available in the landscape of representation of BDSM in popular media. For those to whom BDSM is near and dear, we hope to dig more deeply into what inspires them to love hard and to represent just a little of the complexity and depth of this practice.
Our style of ‘documentary’ is informed by a general skepticism about constructions of ‘truth’ and an interest in hybridized modes of storytelling. It is also informed by our collaborative approach to erotic filmmaking, in which the person whose image is being taken is a party to the construction of that image. The people featured in LOVE HARD are performers, subjects, and collaborators, all at once. For us, this does not detract from the potential to tell a ‘true’ story about any of them; instead, it allows us to engage with the reality they present from a variety of angles.
LOVE HARD is not intended to be in any way instructional. The types of play represented were driven by the cast, and are presented in documentary & portrait styles. For those seeking to develop their own kink practice or looking for information on the mechanics of certain types of play, we recommend familiarizing yourself with your local BDSM scene for educational and social contacts, or consulting Master Google.