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Porn – a brief history

In the 21st century with our smart phones, computers and internet it is easy to access adult content. It’s easy to make adult content. It’s easy to distribute adult content. It was not always so. Here is my brief history of making naughty pictures,  both still and movie!

Let’s start with photographs. Once the camera had been invented and it became popular photographers started making porn.  The whole photographic process could easily be done as a cottage industry so making and distribution of naughty pictures was simple.

Colour photography was more complex but it was still not that more difficult than black and white.

The big obstacle to overcome was moving pictures. Movie cameras were available but processing the film was not something that could easily be done as a cottage industry. Even if the film could be processed and edited it resulted in one copy. Copying cine film is difficult and expensive. The added problem is the consumer needs a projector.

Porn was stuck in the still image and magazine format until the 1970s.

Then the Japan Victor Company invented the VHS recorder. There were rivals to the VHS system, but that format won the day and opened up porn on video to everyone.

I was in the TV trade in the 1978, and I was surprised to be approached by a customer asking about connecting VHS machines to a camera, and to each other to duplicate the tapes. I was somewhat naive and it was a while before I realised what was really wanted.  I acquired a camera, some leads and worked out what was required and how to do it. I got back to my customer. He ordered five recorders and two cameras! I was stunned.

From then on I visited him regularly to fix the machines. Tape jams and head damage were regular problems. I still have some of those tapes, mostly him and his wife, plus another lady I don’t recognise, getting it together. Interesting but not really my scene.

The recorders became better, the cameras got better then portable camcorders came along and all were quickly adopted by the fledgling porn industry.

Once digital arrived the editing and quality vastly improved. Distribution briefly flirted with DVDs but once the internet arrived the final problem, easy distribution, was solved.

So for all of you looking at porn on your phone, remember that people like me and my customer got this whole industry started.

Perhaps now you understand why I champion indie producers like  Pandora Blake and Restrained Elegance. I know how difficult it can be to get started and to make a success of a business, especially in adult entertainment.

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