In the late 1990s, photographer David Steinberg had a radical idea: He wanted to capture genuine emotional connection between people having sex. Too much of erotic photography or, if you prefer, smut, porn, call it what you will relied on people who didn't know each other and who were paid for the act. Hot as that can be sometimes, it lacks a level of personal connection. So Steinberg, a veteran author and columnist who has opined on alternative sexuality for decades, sought out couples with established relationships who'd let him, er, come along for the ride. The result is a moving series called Loving Couples, which includes not only stunning photography and intense (and explicit) sex but also eye contact, passion, joy, and connection unlike any dirty pictures we've seen. So Steinberg expanded. He later shot sexual photographs of people with disabilities (which he called the SexAbility series) as well as San Francisco transgender women and people in intimate BDSM settings. More than 30 of his shots are included in On the Edge. His works are among some 400 photographs from 17 photographers. Other well-known local shooters are Fakir Musafar (whose BDSM shots will change what you think about the abilities of the human body), Phyllis Christopher (whose gorgeous black-and-white nudes make bodies seem like abstract art), and Michael Rosen (whose minimalism and high-contrast style are like a silent scream). The photographers as well as some of their subjects appear alongside their work.
The reception for On the Edge starts at 3 p.m. Feb. 12.
Feb. 11-13, 2011