Artist Breaks Ultimate Taboo By Photographing His Mom Having Sex

camera packOne incarnation of mother and daughter watching one another have sex is called porn. Another version involving mother and son is currently being called art.

The Guardian reports that Leigh Ledare photographed his mother, Tina Peterson, over the course of eight years having sex with various male lovers for a series entitled “Pretend You’re Actually Alive.” The former dancer (both exotic and ballerina) is reported to pose in provocative images, further charged with titles like “Mom Spread with Lamp” and “Mom Fucking in Mirror.” More compelling however than a nude woman in her 40s embracing younger men is the “no-holds-barred delineation of an extreme mother-son relationship,” says one observer.

Ladare says he was inspired to do the transgressive work due to the rather “troubled” relationship he has with his mother:

His decision to chronicle his troubled relationship with his mother, he says, started when he returned home one Christmas. “I arrived home not having seen her for a year and a half,” he recalls. “She knew I was coming and opened the door naked.” When Leigh walked in past the bedroom, “a young man, almost exactly my age, was sprawled out naked. He rolled over to see me, saying hello, before rolling back over and returning to sleep.” Ledare interpreted this welcome as “her way of announcing to me what she was up to, at this period in her life – almost as though to say, ‘Take it or leave it.’ I had a camera and began making photos of her then. She was the catalyst.”

The project, presumably anchored in pure shock value, is nevertheless couched in artistic language as Ladare considers if he was ever aroused during these photo sessions:

“I don’t know what to say …” he laughs. “There are many ways to be excited. Towards a sexual object, towards direct honesty and openness. I think already in the background there were some foggy boundary issues. What people talk about as being Oedipal – there’s a flirtation with that, but the boundaries were never actually crossed.” Ledare sighs at the idea of the work being taken so literally. “There’s a lot of emphasis on me being her son, but the work looks at archetypal relationships; also fantasy life and social conventions everybody who looks at it brings their own understanding of their own relationships. We end up displacing what is culturally taboo. The work is trying to look at those blind spots.”

Just going to keep repeating “consenting adults, consenting adults, consenting adults” to myself over and over.

(photo: fyngyrz)

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  • NicknamesAreDull

    After I read that she was a ballerina and erotic dancer, I can’t stop thinking about how flexible she must be..

  • Allyson_et_al

    I may just be a philistine, bu my initial (and only) reaction is “eeeeewwwww!”

    • Pappy

      It’s not just you. Philistines unite!

  • blh

    That’s not art. Its sick.

    • illustrator

      And what sort of authority are you on art? Its strange yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not art.

    • Rachel Sea

      This lady is making her son choose between voyeurism, and being motherless. If he were younger, those would be crime scene photos, taken from the victim’s perspective.

    • Simone

      Says the self appointed arbiter of art and morality. Thank you for your input.

    • Pappy

      Things can be both art and sick. Both are very subjective terms.

  • jendra_berri

    “Troubled relationship,” eh? Well, yes, I would say so.

    • Paul White

      understatement of the year.

  • Rachel Sea

    This can not be healthy.

  • Cee

    This is not what you do when you have a troubled relationship with your mom. Counseling, talking it out, putting some distance, going out to dinner every other weekend..yes? NOT this.

    • whiteroses

      Yeah, I don’t consider this a “troubled relationship”. Twisted? Definitely. This woman makes me ragey.

  • Tinyfaeri

    Meh. We all have different ways of dealing with things. For me, personally, I wouldn’t go this route, but then, she’s not my mother and I’m not him. We all know our parents had sex, or we wouldn’t be here. Porn stars have kids. Strippers have kids, and so do nudists. There are nude beaches in several parts of the world where whole families hang out buck nekkid. To each his own – it’s not like he was joining in.

    • Rachel Sea

      Voyeurism is a form of participation.

    • Tinyfaeri

      I sort of agree, though in his case, he was going to be a voyeur whether he wanted to or not, seeing as how she answered the door naked and then led him to where her much younger lover was also naked. It’s kind of a relative thing, no pun intended. Do I think it’s healthy? No, not really, but I think he may be trying to, in his own way, make the best of a difficult or troubling situation.

    • Angela

      I’m sure he was just trying to make the best of things but that doesn’t make the mother any less vile in my eyes. Most porn stars don’t force their kids to watch their material and taking your kids to a nude beach is not the same as having them watch you have sex. Nor is this the same as accidentally walking in on your parents or coming across sexy photos/movies. This is basically a mom telling her son that he can’t have a relationship with her unless he watches her have sex.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Where did I say I thought the mother was A-OK? I think she’s a shitty mother, and as a mother myself I can’t say too much more about it without getting angry to an unhealthy level because I cannot imagine how a mother could do that to her son (of any age) any more than I can imagine how a father could abuse his daughter.

      I also think Ledare’s getting most of the attention here, so that’s what I was talking about. He’s being called a voyeur. He’s being criticized for making the photos. He’s being called sick. He’s being asked if he got an erection during the photo shoots. I think that’s victim blaming. He’s the victim here – we aren’t.

    • Rachel Sea

      She definitely started it. Forcing others to witness your sex acts is, at best, a dick move. When the person you are exposing yourself to is your kid, you’re a pervert. When the only way you’ll allow your kid to have a relationship with you is by making him voyeur to your sex acts….I don’t even know if there is a word for that, it’s just too utterly screwed up.

  • Emmali Lucia

    I kind of want to give this poor kid a hug. I mean, shit, his mother was trying her damnedest to raise a serial killer if this has been going for his whole life…

  • Angela

    I don’t know if I consider it fully consenting if he felt that these were the only terms he could have a relationship with his mother. I’ve seen adult children tolerate all kinds of abuse from their parents and I wouldn’t necessarily categorize that as consenting. Breaking those parental ties is no small feat for most, especially after a lifetime of being conditioned against boundaries and self respect. To me this smacks of coercion.