Photography

A Meal Out with Porn Stars, Models, and Friends

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For almost a decade, photographer Nate “Igor” Smith has taken a photograph of everyone he has ever shared a meal with.

Creator of the photoblog Driven by Boredom, Smith’s no stranger to shooting naked women — nude models and adult stars are his primary subjects. Smith found that often, after long shoots, he’d take these same models and porn stars out for meals. He couldn’t help but snap a few more photos with his point-and-shoot 35mm camera — preferred over digital — during dinner. Soon, he’d collected thousands of rolls of film of his friends in the unlikely state of chowing down. The photographs, like the food, became a familiar ritual.

Now Smith has collected over 200 portraits for his new book, Dinner with Igor, and  launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring the book to life. Never to pass up any gustatory or carnal delights, Nerve chatted with Smith about splitting milkshakes with porn stars, his best night at Disneyland, and, of course, his ideal death row meal.

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So you take out models you photograph for dinner, mainly because you can’t pay them. What is it about eating that makes you jump to your lens? 
I love food and I love babes, so food and babes seems like an ideal mix. I’ve never been into splosh or any sexy food stuff, but for some reason there is something visually very appealing about seeing someone take bite our of a giant hamburger.

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Tell me about that first food shoot with porn star Dana DeArmond. How did this become one of your favorite images?
It’s actually a pretty interesting story. It was probably only the second or third time I had ever gone out to LA and the night before I ended up having a threesome with this super awesome clothing designer and her assistant. After her assistant went to bed, we hung out all night and she told me to check out of my hotel and stay with her for my last day in town. I went back to my hotel, slept for two hours, and then called her to let her know I was coming back. That’s when she told me she had a boyfriend and that last night was a mistake and I shouldn’t come back. It was 11 a.m. and I had no place to stay, was on two hours of sleep, and had no idea where to go.

I texted everyone I knew until one of my friends said I could crash with him that night, but he had to work all day. I was just sitting in a rental car trying to figure out what to do for the next 8 hours, when a girl I had photographed last time [Madison Mitchell] who was in town said I could come with her to Disneyland for Dana’s birthday. I had only met Dana once, but she seemed okay with me showing up so I ended up spending the day at Disney with Dana, Madison, Bobbi Starr, and Aiden Starr.

As far as the photo goes [see below], I just love how innocent and loving they look as Bobbi shovels food into Dana’s mouth. There’s something real loving and fun about it.

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Do you think photos of models, porn stars, and celebrities are appealing because it levels the playing field? There’s this sort of illicit pleasure watching immaculately beautiful people pig out. Hey, they’re human!
I didn’t really think about it, but I think people love seeing porn stars in particular as human. When you see a person that’s constantly sexualized outside of that context, it makes you feel like you know them better. I think for porn fans who love women that’s really nice. With celebrities, I think it’s a different story because between the paparazzi, Twitter, and creepy hackers there’s absolutely nothing you don’t see celebrities do.

What kinds of people will you find in the pages of Dinner with Igor?
Porn stars, models, musicians, actors and nightlife people. Pretty much all the types of people I photograph. It’s essentially a book of my co-workers.

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What’s so special about a dinner with Igor?
The only thing special about a dinner with me is that I inhale food at an inhuman speed so that’s pretty interesting and horrifying to watch.

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What would be your ultimate last dinner and who would you dine with?
My death row meal is a peanut butter black and white milkshake, two fried chicken breasts from Popeyes, a 2-lb rib eye and a key lime pie. I would probably want to eat with my favorite eccentric filmmakers: Werner Herzog, John Waters and Errol Morris.

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