I know that magazines are not reality and that the image they sell of their models (effortless fun people having fun) is not true. It takes a great deal of time to get the right shot and there's also a lot of uncomfortable posturing that goes on to make that "I was just sunning myself on this pile of rocks" look look like it's the most fun the model's ever had. But it's not; no one can have fun lying on a piece of jagged rock (and I say this as someone who took a lot of "artistic" photos during my angry teen years).

In the spirit of pulling back the curtain to reveal the harsh light of reality, Patrick Van Dam, who directed Dutch Playboy's nude pictorials for seven years has released a book of photos that detail the behind-the-scenes of a Playboy bunny photo shoot, chronicling not only the fact that that the photo-shoots look like fairly somber affairs (such dim lighting!), but also the reality that the shooting environment isn't made up of young women just laying around rubbing suntan lotion all over each other (I can't believe Anna Faris lied to me) but mostly of dudes standing around, measuring light levels and just looking awkward. The humanity of the entire thing is just crushing.

Or as Hugh Hefner puts in his foreword:

In these compelling images, Patrick has captured the soul of the Playboy shoot and offered a true celebration of, and homage to, the people who make these beautiful things happen. Vividly here is the intimacy, the fun, and the dedication it takes to create the very best in contemporary erotica. And along the way, true to his calling, he gives the reader a peek behind the curtain of the Playboy lifestyle.


More photos can be found at Beautiful Decay.

Image by Patrick Van Dam.