Ladies in heels and steaming sets

«So she actually squirts? I thought she was faking it all the time», «Oh no she was not. That’s her thing, she’s a big squirter». Just a casual exchange of comments you could hear from two respectable Bolognese women last evening, at the opening of Tacchi nudi, Nicola Casamassima’s photo exhibition hosted by Factory gallery for just 4 days.

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Casamassima has been hanging around X-rated movies for over twenty years, as a set photographer, and Tacchi nudi (“Naked heels”) is collection of shots of naked or semi-naked porno actresses in between shootings, sharing the space with sexy shiny shoes you’d probably wouldn’t use if you want to go trekking.

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The atmosphere at the gallery was lighthearted, with the ladies checking both poses and shoes and men pretending they didn’t know any of the big porno names in the photos, while two or three hardcore actresses hanged out being photographed and smilingly, proudly displaying massive heels. There was also local porno celeb Franco Trentalance, hardcore actor turned reality star turned life coach slash entrepreneur.

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A former photographer for newspaper La Repubblica’s chronicle section, Casamassima has actually been a set photographer quite for long and for several “regular”, non X-rated movies, the latest being Enrico Pau’s L’accabadora, from Michela Murgia’s acclaimed novel. But it is porno sets that clearly seem to really intrigue him, so much so that he already dedicated to this theme the photographic book Hard set in 2000.

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In this latest exhibition you can find shots from hardcore sets from the last twenty years, mostly in black and white, with a certain fashion sense and a love for nudity and the female form that isn’t morbid nor particularly extreme. Some of the photos wouldn’t seem taken from a pornographic environment if it wasn’t for the colorfully explicit name of the actress portrayed, while others are slightly more risqué, but the overall feel is more joyful and hedonistic than arousing or shocking.

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This said, I wouldn’t bring children to Tacchi nudi. Not just because the show is labelled “adults only” but also because they’d probably be bored. Grown men, on the other hand, seem to be enjoying this exhibition with far more passion and participation than what I generally observe. I wonder why.

Tacchi nudi by Nicola Casamassima is at Factory (Via Castiglione 26) ’till May 13th

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