Maverick photographer and filmmaker talks pierced
twats, Thurston Moore and Extra Action.
BY A.D. AMOROSI
Richard Kern is a legendary East Village NYC filmmaker whose fiercest works (e.g.
Fingered) throughout the 1980s symbolized
what came to be known as the “Cinema of Transgression.” Ultraviolent sex-driven
flicks that included Lydia Lunch and Clint Ruin led Kern to shoot harsh videos
for his pals in Sonic Youth (“Death Valley ‘69”), King Missile and Marilyn Manson.
But Kern is best known since that time photographing nubile gals in all manner
of sex spreads (literally and figuratively). Now, with Thurston Moore scoring
his newest DVD, Extra Action (MVD),
Kern’s come full circle-only without the blood.
Action is uniquely lit for you; naturalistic, a real switch from your last
works that were more neon and noirish. Why?
About 75 % of the photos in Action were from shoots I did for mags like Barely Legal or Legshow in the ‘90s. So most of the photos are
lit so you can see everything clearly-sex mags require that.
B: How and why did
you and Thurston Moore get together on Extra
Years ago, Thurston told me I could use his music for a movie I never finished
called Strip for Me Now. I emailed him about Extra Action as soon as Taschen okayed some money for me to pay for
music. He didn’t know what was going to be on the DVD. He just thought it would
be fun. Thurston gave me six or seven MP3 files to work with-about 20 minutes
of music and noise.
B: So what was your
first reaction to what he provided you?
My first reaction was “I need some more music” but then I
calmed down and decided to use it to make different themes like they do in Hollywood movies. Like how “Lara’s Theme” in the ‘60s
movie Dr. Zhivago plays every time
they want to remind you that Dr. Zhivago is in love with Lara. Thurston told me
later he would have gladly given me more music, but he liked the way it
repeated and the way we laid different tracks over each other. I used to do this
with my old movies, too.
B: Do you still have
the same verve for this as when you started? I mean, so much of this-as iconic
as you are-must seem rote: another dildo, another pierced twat? What do you do
to make it feel different?
If I get a good model and a good location, I get excited about the shoot.
Or if I have an idea I’m working towards. I just finished a book that will be
out in June, Looker, that is all
photos of me following girls around and spying on them until I get to see some
part of their body. It was fun thinking up new situations for the models to be
in. Besides, I haven’t shot a dildo or pierced girl in years.