Mexican photographer Jose Luis Cuevas has been working on a series of photographs documenting the world of homemade Mexican porn for the last four years now. We talked to him about his work, and then afterward we spoke with “Galileo,” Mexico City’s finest amateur-porn producer. INTERVIEW BY GABRIELLA GÓMEZ-MONT
Vice: So who are the people in your photos?
Yeah, except they do it in front of a video camera and then they sell the results. Is there a person who runs the show?
How did you feel walking onto the set of a Cartel Paraíso production for the first time?
Is it always an intense atmosphere at these shoots? It seems kind of dark.
It must be high pressure to be some regular guy off the street trying to maintain a boner in a room full of cameras.
Why would he do something like that?
Do they try to get you to start doing some fucking while you’re on set too?
Why do you think these productions are having so much success now? They’re even competing with mainstream porn.
Vice: So how does a nice, middle-class Mexican man become an amateur-pornography mogul? Galileo: My life changed drastically in 2000 when one of my business partners got us all in trouble for fraud. We had a video and photo studio together—a normal studio—and because of our company’s fiscal irregularities, I ended up in jail for three months. All the papers were in my name, and I lost my house and all of my money. I got divorced. My spirit was broken. It was the worst year of my life. Sounds rough. But how did it lead to on-camera blowjobs and gangbangs? I was so poor that I no longer had the means to go to nice table dances, so I started frequenting dive bars in the city center. It was a chain of places owned by a guy called Valencia. At some of these places they had live sex. A naked woman would go onstage and three men from the public were invited to join her. The first time I participated, I went limp. I was intimidated. But I also discovered that I could become addicted to the adrenaline I was feeling. My heart was pumping so hard. I liked the fact that I was not only a voyeur but also an exhibitionist. I decided to take it as a personal challenge. How, exactly? After that fateful night, every Thursday I would drop my girlfriend off at her house and go “training,” as I still call it. I would go to one of these live-sex nightclubs and get onstage during two, three, even four shows per night. Since I was even younger then and in good shape, I could recover quickly. Tantric sex? Ha, me la pela. Nothing to it. I go way beyond that. I can now have complete control over all my bodily functions in a matter of minutes. Congratulations. Thank you. So one day a man who looked to be around 60 years old approached me while I was peeing. He said, “Hey, do you want to fuck my wife?” I was like, “Sure.” He wanted to take pictures and video. I was OK with that too. They really liked me and trusted me, and they saw I was respectful, so they started calling me often. They also introduced me to quite a few of their swinger friends. I did not charge then, but I would get a lot of gifts: tickets to plays, cologne, belts, gasoline coupons… Nice. Gas coupons in exchange for getting laid. I also love flowers, especially roses, so my favorite gift of that time was a tie with a red rose pattern that a couple gave me. I still have it, actually, and I still love it. Many women would send me love letters. After a while I had to start charging. It was something like 100 bucks a pop. Not much. I still did it more for the pleasure than anything. The swinger community in Mexico City is very friendly. There were also a few rich men who had me film their orgies. Word got around, you know. What was the first film that you made on your own? It was called The Debut of LeXXXi. I directed, acted in, produced, postproduced, edited, distributed, and promoted this film. I did it all by myself. The female lead, LeXXXi, had not acted before, but she was an instant hit because of a three-minute trailer on the internet that became quite popular. In fact, this guy from Spain saw her on the web, fell in love, and flew her to Spain to meet him. They are now married and she still lives in Spain with him. LeXXXi was great—a friend of mine had introduced us, and when I took her to bed I discovered she was a really horny, hot woman, very openly sexual and emancipated—not like most Mexican women. You think Mexican women are prudes? Sexuality in Mexico is incomplete. We live in a very moralistic, traditional, machista, and two-faced society. Do you keep a tally of how many films you’ve made? I have been in more than 80 porn films, and I have produced more than 30 of my own. I have slept with over 400 women. I know this not because I keep count, but because my friends one day decided to count them for me, just for fun. 400 women, but I only have one daughter. And I must say I am a great father. And what does your girlfriend say about this hobby of yours? My girlfriend doesn’t know about Galileo. But she does expect to have her nice car and all the things that she wants. There is no reason for her to find out about how I provide her with all of it.