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Breaking taboo: This photo series captures women before, during and after orgasm

This tastefully done photo series captures 22 women in four stages of pleasure - before orgasm, while masturbating, during climax and after orgasm.

sex and relationships Updated: Oct 22, 2017 14:25 IST
Neha Gupta
Neha Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Orgasm photo series,Marcos Alberti,Smile Makers
The aim of the project is simple - women should be empowered enough to control their sexuality.(Marcos Alberti’s website)

As far as pictures speaking a thousand words go, this series is making quite a statement.

In a bid to break down stigma around female sexuality, Brazilian advertising photographer and film director Marcos Alberti teamed up with sex toy company Smile Makers for the suitably dubbed O Project.

Alberti’s tastefully done photo series captures 22 women of different ethnicities and nationalities in four stages of pleasure - before orgasm, while masturbating, during climax and after orgasm.

“I knew I had to create a comfortable environment for the women to trust me,” says Alberti who shot the images through a small hole cut out in a black curtain. Everything from the torso down was kept out of view of the viewer and the photographer.

The aim of the project is simple - women should be empowered enough to control their sexuality. “There is no shame in sexual pleasure, making a woman happy,” says Fan Yang, the global brand manager of Smile Makers.

Of the 2,000 women who signed up for the project, only 22 agreed to go through with it - students, executives, artists, married, single and of different ages.

Female masturbation is often met with shame and silence, and Alberti liked that he was able to speak frankly with these women. “When you approach the taboo topic of sex through the lens of humour, people start to open up and share opinions more freely, which can lead to a monumental change in people’s mentality.”

If the O Project gives you a sense of deja vu, it’s probably because of Alberti’s ‘3 Glasses Later’ that went viral in 2016. The photo series captured people’s expressions after one, two and three glasses of wine, to the delight of social media users. “I really wanted to go a step ahead in capturing special moments of people. I always try to pick a heavy topic and turn into light and fun,” says the 40-year-old photographer.

Yang approached Alberti after going through his wine project. “I love the way Marcos talks about a taboo topic with a humorous and light-hearted touch, which is exactly how we should address the subject of female sexual well being.”

Alberti says he anticipated the tremendous response he has been receiving for the photo series, at the time of executing it. “I knew it will be huge because it’s a unique project with a different approach.”

The reactions of the 22 women were extremely ‘fun’ on seeing the pictures. “They were all surprised, for they had never seem themselves in that situation before. It was very funny. It’s never easy to be the first person to do something, especially around a taboo topic,” says Yang. “It takes a lot of courage to participate in a project like this just to send a strong message. But every single one of them has been extremely supportive and enthusiastic as soon as they understand the messaging behind the project. I respect and admire their boldness.”

Yang says the most striking thing about the O Project was the solidarity among the women who, without knowing each other, united courageously to send a strong message.

Smile Makers aims to normalise the perception of female sexuality. “We want every woman to feel comfortable and empowered to talk about sexual pleasure. Female sexuality is not only about reproduction health,” says Yang.

Social media users were divided in their opinion. While many praised the project for initiating a much-needed conversation, several of them questioned the need for a private moment to be publically showcased.

You can catch all the behind-the-scenes action here:

(All pictures used with permission of Marcos Alberti)

First Published: Oct 22, 2017 13:05 IST