Identity

Photos of Women and Highly Improvised Sex Toys

Steph Wilson pairs women with potential masturbatory objets d'art—like an electric toothbrush, a phallic cucumber, and a dubiously-shaped sweet potato.

by Zing Tsjeng
Aug 11 2016, 1:55pm

All photos by Steph Wilson, Hair and makeup by Terri Capon at Stella Creative Artists

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Steph Wilson's crisply rendered portraits of women and masturbatory objets d'art show that female masturbation is still, in her words, a "touchy subject." In this series, she lovingly shoots phallic cucumbers, electric toothbrushes, and dubiously shaped sweet potatoes with the same sensitivity and rigor that she brings to her human subjects—a diverse range of women, including a senior citizen called Mary who confessed in the studio to using a big black dildo "back in the day."

"It was important to me to show a broad range of ages and ethnicities, as, you know, everyone wanks," Wilson said. "I wanted to shoot something rooted by a feminist concept but keep it very tongue-in-cheek." Coming up with potential sex toys was, she said, "a great icebreaker on the topic [of jerking off]. As women, we can get disturbingly creative."

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While the 23 year old has carved out a space somewhere between art and fashion photography, her previous work for Broadly has covered everything from an occult life drawing session to pro-choice protests outside an abortion clinic and portraits of immigrant women released from detention. Most recently, Wilson was ranked alongside Juergen Teller, Tim Walker, and Juno Calypso on a list of London photographers to know.

For this shoot, Wilson canvassed her Facebook friends for ideas of potential masturbatory tools before hitting her local supermarket to see what she could find. "The checkout lady looked mildly concerned," she said. "But only mildly."