In a Flemish village outside of Turnhout, Belgium, Laura and Maurice live together with their daughter Eva. They have all the trappings of a normal family, but when 9-year-old Eva is at school, Maurice and Laura start their day jobs as porn producers.
I photographed the family for two years for my project called Paradi$e Lu$t. They’ve given me unfettered access to both their personal and professional lives. The duo, more than anything, are small business owners: together they started a production company called “Stout!” around a decade ago. It’s still a modest operation: they produce the movies and both work the camera. And, from time to time, they are the porn stars as well.
Like Maurice and Laura, their other actors are ordinary people. They’re fathers and neighbors. Salesmen and postmen. The sex and the bodies are very real, not fake, not glamorous.
Maurice and Laura used to live above an erotic club they owned and filmed in, but they moved out to the quieter village once Eva got a little older. The most interesting thing about the village life was the process of gaining their new community’s acceptance. When Eva was new in her school there were some children who couldn’t play with her because their parents didn’t allow it. Laura really wanted everybody to accept them, so she threw a very big party for Eva’s birthday. She cleaned the house for two days and made it totally sex-free. She invited everybody from the school, also the parents. People came to realize that they are just normal people and since then she organizes the party each year.
Maurice and Laura are always very honest with Eva. They don’t want to lie to her. But of course they informed her about their job in words she can understand. She knows that they had a bar where naked people came to have a drink and to dance. Eva has a really good relationship with her parents and their job has never been an obstacle. And in my time with them, I saw a warm family with a very normal life that really separated their work life from their personal life. A moment I remember very well was when Eva received her first communion in church. Laura was very involved in the ceremony and afterwards there was a party in their new café. Friends and family came along and it was a very good day. In the porn Laura and Maurice make, actors are captured on tape as they are. My project aims to portray the family with that same humanity.
See more of Van der Stock’s work at www.lizavanderstock.com.