Gonzo pornography

Gonzo pornography is a style of pornographic film that attempts to place the viewer directly into the scene. John Stagliano is considered to have started the gonzo pornography genre with his Buttman series of films.[1]

The name is a reference to gonzo journalism, in which the reporter is part of the event taking place. By comparison, gonzo pornography puts the camera right into the action, often with one or more of the participants both filming and performing sexual acts, without the usual separation between camera and performers seen in conventional porn and cinema.[1]

Gonzo porn is influenced by amateur pornography, and it tends to use far fewer full-body/wide shots in favor of more close-ups (See: reality pornography). The loose and direct camera work often includes tight shots of the genitalia, unlike some traditional porn.

Differences between gonzo pornography and conventional pornography

Gonzo porn films are one of two broad types of contemporary pornographic film, and they can be contrasted with the other type, which is called the "feature" film.[2] Gonzo films tend to focus far less on the plots, dialogue, acting, characterization, elaborate costumes and sets, and artistic camerawork commonly found in conventional pornographic films.[2] According to an unnamed executive at a studio specializing in feature films, "We don't just show you people fucking; we show you why they're fucking."[2] Feature films are often aimed at the couples market, whereas gonzo pornography is usually not.[2] Gonzo porn is always classified as hardcore pornography, whereas some features could be classified as softcore pornography, especially if they are released in softer, edited versions for distribution to hotel pay-per-view services.[2] Some gonzo porn directors like John Stagliano argue that there is a story being told in his movies, and that it is a mistake to assume that gonzo pornography inherently lacks a plot.[3] Due to the explosive growth in its popularity since the mid-1990s, gonzo porn has attained mainstream popularity, lowering the cost of entry into the market for producers, and making it easier for amateur performers to become famous. Several individually distinct styles of no-frills, filmed pornography can be labeled gonzo porn.[1] Today, several companies produce gonzo porn that have excellent lighting, sound quality and (temporary) lingerie costuming. One trait that all gonzo films share, though, is a much greater emphasis on intense sexual performances, and modern gonzo porn is evolving to include more hardcore sex acts than either traditional or amateur pornography.[1] Regardless of camera techniques or the degree of director involvement in the scenes, a gonzo film has "more sex", per se, than a traditional (e.g. Vivid or Adam & Eve) adult video. Gonzo scenes tend to run longer; it is common for a single boy-girl scene to run anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes in length. In 2008, porn star Mika Tan commented that the average gonzo DVD cost around 16,000USD to produce.[4]

Similarities between gonzo pornography and point-of-view (POV) pornography

POV pornography; One of the actors (left) films the sexual act, which results in a point-of-view shot (background).

Point of view pornography (POV) is adult entertainment filmed to look as if the watcher were experiencing the sex act themselves. In POV porn, the shooting style is generally similar to gonzo pornography, with the person receiving sexual gratification holding the camera him or herself—aiming it down at the actress or actor who is performing the sex act. This style of filming is in contrast to having a separate, third-person camera crew filming all the action. The effect is to give the viewer the sense that they are experiencing the sex acts that they are watching, as opposed to simply watching others as a voyeur.

Some POV/gonzo porn sometimes breaks the strict point-of-view convention. For instance, Amateur Allure has a trademark shot where the sexually performing cameraman circles a handycam around the sexually performing model's head. This yields a view that would not be obtainable directly through the eyes of a person while experiencing the sex act. There is, however, no third-party camera work involved.

POV pornography in Japan

In Japan, point of view pornography is referred to as hamedori (ハメ撮り). Hamedori is a genre of Japanese pornography in which a male adult video (AV) actor or director serves as the camera operator. Hamedori-type videos were produced from the beginnings of Japanese AV in the early 1980s. The term "hamedori" came into use about 1988–1989, but it was only a small niche area until it was popularized at V&R Planning by director Company Matsuo.[5]

Matsuo started working in the genre in 1991, saying that this intimate technique was a natural way for him to shoot in order to show his feelings for the girl and to "get her to open up about herself, to show her true emotions". Matsuo used amateur actresses in his videos, and he usually traveled to their hometowns for the filming. He talked to them extensively on camera so that both he and the viewer can come to know them before any sex scenes. A large part of the popularity of these videos is seeing how regular and normal the girls are in real life. As amateurs in a single segment of a multi-part video, the actresses are typically paid only about 50,000 yen (around 500USD).[5]


The X-Rated Critics Organization has had a "Best POV Production" award (2005–2009) and a "Best POV Series" (since 2010) in their annual XRCO awards. These awards have been given to:

The AVN Awards have a "Best POV Series" award, which has been given to:

The AVN Awards have a "Best POV Release" award, which has been given to:

The AVN Awards also have a 'Best POV Sex Scene' award, which has been given to:

Notable gonzo pornography directors

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Weasels, P. "The Quick and Dirty Guide to Gonzo". GameLink.com. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Martin Amis (2001-03-17). "A rough trade". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  3. Pipe, Roger. "John Stagliano Interview". Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  4. Mika Tan (2008-09-21). "Mika Tan Discusses the Porn Industry, Racism & Prostitution". AdultFYI.com. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  5. 1 2 Schönherr, Johannes (29 December 2006). "Company Matsuo and the World of Japanese Adult Video". Midnight Eye. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  6. "Best POV Movie". 20 April 2006. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  7. "BEST POV RELEASE". 5 April 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  8. "BEST POV RELEASE". Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  9. "BEST POV MOVIE". 16 April 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  10. "BEST POV MOVIE". 29 April 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  11. "BEST POV SERIES". 13 April 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  12. "BEST POV SERIES". 12 April 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  13. Koga in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 22, 2011 5:30 pm (2011-04-22). "XRCO Awards 2011: Red Carpet, Part 2". LAist. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  14. "BEST POV SERIES". 25 April 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  15. 1 2 3 4 "AVN AWARDS PAST WINNERS". AVN. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  16. 1 2 3 "2008 Winners". Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  17. 1 2 "2009 Winners". Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  18. "2010 AVN AWARDS WINNERS". AVN. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  19. 1 2 3 "2011 Winners". Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  20. 1 2 3 "2012 Winners". Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  21. 1 2 3 "2013 Winners". Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  22. "Best P.O.V. Release". Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  23. "THE 2009 AVN AWARDS WINNERS". AVN. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
  24. 1 2 "THE 2010 AVN AWARDS WINNERS". AVN. Retrieved 2010-02-28.

Further reading

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