25 Intimate Portraits Show Porn Performers Off-Duty

Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
When photographer Roger Kisby shot the Adult Video News Awards for the first time last year, he wasn't sure what to expect. Once there, he was drawn to the high energy and passion on the part of both performers and fans. "The vibe there is really fun," he shares. "Nobody cares about how they’re perceived — the performers, the people attending, they're all there for the same reason: They're celebrating porn. There’s no holding back."

Kisby returned to the awards last month with a clearer goal: "I wanted to do portraits of the performers, to do something that was authentic and honest that would strip away — no pun intended — their outer performer aspects and [get at] who they are," he explains. He decided to use simple lighting and straightforward angles and focus on their faces. Logistically, he knew it would be difficult to schedule time with the adult stars at the conference away from the booths and the crowds. But, he was determined to fit in portrait sessions with interested performers, even if it meant settting up in hotels or in secluded corners at the event itself.

"It was a challenge. I only had a few minutes with the performers, and I was trying to do a lot in that time — introducing myself, telling them what I do, and making them feel comfortable, so I could grab a real, natural moment." Some of his subjects got it right away, but others were shy at first. "A lot of them have go-to 'porn poses' or 'porn faces' for lack of a better term, and that was something I tried to get them to not do," Kisby says.

Click through for the 25 intimate portraits in Kisby's photo series (titled "Head"), the names behind the faces, and the photographer's thoughts on his latest project.

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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
"[The AVN Awards] are like the business front of the porn industry; they’re like the Oscars," Kisby says.

Pictured: Dakota Skye.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Anri Okita.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
"There’s implied nudity, so it’s a nod to what they do on camera, but I didn’t want [the portraits] to be sexual in nature," Kisby says.

Pictured: Carter Cruise.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: August Ames.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Sara Jay.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
"I had seen [Riley Reid] interact with her fans before, and she had a lot of people [lined up] to sign her video," Kisby says. "Her attitude toward her fans was great to see — she was really into it! That’s 100% her personality."

Pictured: Riley Reid.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Tommy Pistol.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Kisby enjoyed meeting both up-and-coming performers and pros. "Nina Hartley is a veteran and icon," he says.

Pictured: Nina Hartley.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Valentina Nappi.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Kisby wanted his portraits to showcase the diversity in the industry and include trans performers.

Pictured: Venus Lux.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Brent Ray Fraser.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
"It’s not just blondes and fake boobs — what people [may] think when they think of porn," Kisby says.

Pictured: Sara Vibes.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Chanel Preston.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
"I’m trying to give an idea of who [the performers] are, as opposed to what they do," Kisby says.

Pictured: Joanna Angel.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: TS Foxxy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Kisby's approach was to ask himself, "How do I shoot porn actors in a nonsexual way that is still interesting?"

Pictured: Bonnie Rotten.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Alexis Texas.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Evan Stone.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Lexington Steele.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Skin Diamond.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Little Red Bunny.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: James Deen.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Samantha Mack.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Jesse Jane.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roger Kisby.
Pictured: Kelly Shibari.
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