Print Porn Holds A Special Place In My Heart

As with most of y’all my first exposure to nekkid girls was Playboy magazine, I got it for the girls, no question but I quickly found that it had value way beyond just giving me a woody.  I have always loved to read and Playboy, particularly in the late 60s and all of the 70s had arguably the best writing of any magazine, but it went beyond the writing.  Playboy, at the time had its finger square on the pulse of the culture.  The Advice column, the interviews it was good and it was worth the cover price.  Too bad it simply couldn’t keep up with the times.

One of my favorite things to do in this business is probably the thing I am least known for, I shot layouts.  I shot for Hustler, I shot for Genesis, I shot for pretty much everyone at one time or another,  I was a freelancer and I found the girls and shot them and sold the layouts, often as the amateur of the month feature.  I even shot my next door neighbor Alexa Lauren, she wanted to be a Penthouse Centerfold, and she got that wish. The days were long and the work was hard but it was fun, I loved shooting girls who had never been naked in front of a camera, I loved the response when they would see the photos we shot, the most common comment was “that doesn’t seem like me”  some even cried, not because they were unhappy but because they could believe how glamorous and pretty they looked.

A few of the girls I shot Debbie Leigh, Giga, Alexa Lauren, Kelly Taylor and Paige

There were tons of adult magazines on the shelf and they all prospered, even with the internet coming of age they were making bank, but as we all know it didn’t last. But why?

It is easy to lay the blame on the internet and piracy but that is just convenient and not the whole story.

Back then every adult magazine on the shelf featured brand new girls, pretty girls, girls like Alexa Lauren.  Eventually the internet and a glut of product cut into that market and in an effort to cut costs and increase profits most of the magazines shot themselves in the foot.

Instead of doubling down on what made them profitable, they started featuring pornstars.  In the past the girls from magazines sometimes went on to do porn and porn had gotten VERY popular.  Some porn companies like Digital Playground saw an opening and they started offering FREE layouts in the magazines in exchange for mentioning the videos that say Tera Patrick was in.  For many of the magazines, particularly magazines and the B and C level like Genesis and High Society and others this looked like a real no brainer….The layouts were expensive and here they could get them for nothing.  But they missed an important point, what was special about a layout of Tera Patrick when you could go to the local video store and rent her doing the same thing and a LOT more for less money.  Combined with the internet readership of these magazines took a nose dive, and they never recovered.  A few are still around, Hustler, Playboy of course, Penthouse but we all know the history..Playboy went non nude for a while, Penthouse went belly up and lets be honest here do you really think that they key to profitability is centerfolds like Leigh Raven?  One have to expect that Bob Guccione is spinning in his grave.

Hustler still has its in your face editorial content that put it on the map but even Hustler is a dinosaur nowdays, Playboy wasn’t able to even keep its core readers, that being baby boomers because it lost focus of its audience.  Maxim tried to jump in and wasn’t bad, but in an age where the world is at your fingertips via your keyboard even Maxim couldn’t make it work, had they added layouts of beautiful girls, naked, they may have done better I don’t know, but I do know that pornchicks wouldn’t have helped them.

Maybe the internet really has made print magazines obsolete, no arguments there, consider AVN.  I have always said AVN was a paper tiger, it succeeded because porners wanted to see their name in print but lets be honest  AVN targeted video store owners, even when adult video sales were booming there was a 3 to 4 month lag between when the video came out and when AVN reviewed it.  If you waited on AVN for recommendations for what titles to stock in your sstore your competition ate your lunch, by the time the review came out the titles were in the sell through bins, having been rented until they were “old” stores would sell them for what they paid for them, that being 5 or 10 bucks, to make room for the hundreds of new titles coming in every week. So realistically what was the value of AVN?  What was the value of your ad in AVN advertising a title you released 3 months ago?

Maybe I’m a bit nostalgic but I miss the old print mags, I miss shooting the layouts the most, There was glamor in it that simply doesn’t exist anymore.

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