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AVN Day Two: The expo through the eyes of a photographer

Image
Lucia, center, a dancer at Hong Kong Gentlemen’s Club in Tijuana, Mexico, poses for a photo with Cinnamon Leigh, left, and Nayeli Gomez of Las Vegas at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo 2012 inside the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012.
Photo: Leila Navidi
Lynn Comella

As far as visual spectacles go, the Adult Entertainment Expo is in a league of its own. It’s an X-rated world of boobs and butts, skimpy dresses and high heels, where very little, if anything, is left to the imagination.

So how does a photographer for a family-oriented newspaper like the Las Vegas Sun tell a visual story about the largest adult entertainment expo in the world that’s actually fit to print?

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For Sun photographer Leila Navidi it’s all about finding images that are out-of-the ordinary yet, at the same time, not too risqué.

“I learned a lot shooting the Expo last year,” Navidi tells me. “I wasn’t aware of all the restrictions, so there were things I didn’t pay attention to, like a poster in the background that showed a nipple. We couldn’t run that photo.”

And as far as images that are different: “You see lots of women on stripper poles, but you don’t see a lot who are wearing a sombrero and braces.” (Yes, she snapped a photo.)

We pass a booth where a female performer is sitting demurely on a couch surrounded by a group of men, most of whom are holding their camera phones above their heads.

Navidi starts to shoot the scene. A few frames later, the woman changes positions and Navidi lowers her camera.

“I can’t shoot that,” she says, shaking her head. “I can’t have her ass in the photo.”

It’s not that a little butt is an absolute deal-breaker, she explains; but the sexual connotation of the performer’s pose is.

Minutes later Navidi gets a text.

“I have to go,” she says. “My editor is waiting for my photos.”

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