by Danny Moynihan

Private Collection is a unique and fascinating publication of over 250 pornographic photographs from Danny Moynihan’s personal collection, including images made by some of the earliest erotic photographers, right up to the 1940s. This publication visually documents attitudes about sex and pornography, and by so doing shows how they were developed alongside a ‘correct’ social and cultural behavioural code of restraint, particularly with regard to sexual intercourse and role-play. By providing a historical overview of nudity and sex in photography, the book offers an intriguing insight into the way pornography was made alongside the development of photography.

“There were no rules. It is the revolutionary newness of these images which makes them as exciting as their subjects.”

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Private Collection includes an extremely readable and informative essay by Cressida Connolly which discusses pornography from an historical perspective, the way the sex industry was used in the 19th century, and how this affected the production, function and availability of pornography: 

“Looking at photographs of people with no clothes on is always exciting,” Cressida Connolly begins her semi-redacted essay in Private Collection: A History of Erotic Photography, 1850-1940, published by Damien Hirst’s Other Criteria. “The experience can also be funny, or troubling, or arousing: the pictures here assembled are all three. This collection has a unique claim on our attention, not only for the remarkable candor of many of the images, but because some of these pictures are among the earliest erotic photographs we have. No one had ever photographed nudity or genitals or the acts of sex before. There were no rules. It is the revolutionary newness of these images that makes them as exciting as their subjects.”

Featured image is reproduced from ‘Private Collection: A History of Erotic Photography, 1850–1940’ courtesy Other Criteria © Danny Moynihan.

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A beautifully produced collection of vintage erotic photography. For adult readers. Published by Other Criteria