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The films and photos of Richard Kern

Richard Kern, a frequent contributing photographer to Filmmaker, has much to celebrate this winter. A new book of his photographs, Model Release, is being published by Taschen ($40, 192 pages); a DVD compilation of his Super-8 films, appropriately called The Hardcore Collection (Music Video Distributors, $29.95), has just been released; and his son, Fletcher, turns one.

Kern made his name beginning in the mid-’80s producing sexually charged and often violent Super-8mm films as part of New York’s so-called Cinema of Transgression. His no-frills Hardcore DVD features remastered copies of most of his films, including the controversial short, Fingered – a screening of which, at the 1987 Berlin Film Festival, was interrupted by fest head Moritz de Hadeln in order to voice his disapproval – and three previously unavailable titles, Manhattan Love Suicides, Submit to Me and The Evil Cameraman.

Beginning in the late-’80s Kern also directed a number of music videos – for Sonic Youth, Marilyn Manson and King Missile, among others – but he has increasingly focused his energy over the past decade on photography. Taschen previously published a volume of Kern photos entitled New York Girls, but the new tome, Model Release, is the most comprehensive collection of his work to date. For those unfamiliar with Kern’s output, the bookseller’s press release proclaims, "These are not typical soft-porn photos of the look-at-me-so-young-and-sexy variety. Kern is known for incorporating. . . elements of fetish imagery into his photos – from bondage to leather to latex to guns. [But] these days. . . his girls are less equipped. They also smile a lot." So, too, does Richard Kern. – Steve Gallagher

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