Earth Erotica Fine Art Photography by Heather Firth
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Dear Friends,

Your enthusiasm and kind comments touch my heart. Thank you. The following is a series of answers to your many questions regarding Earth Erotica. It is also an invitation to explore and enjoy the nature of your own sexuality.
Love,
Heather

  1. How did you come up with the idea of Earth Erotica?
  2. How long have you been photographing Earth Erotica?
  3. Where do you find Earth Erotica?
  4. What size are the rocks you photograph? Are they really big?
  5. Do you photograph only rocks for Earth Erotica? What about trees and flowers?
  6. How is it that you see these sexual things in nature and other people don't?
  7. Why do you have so many more female images than male images?
  8. Besides Earth Erotica, what else do you photograph?
  9. What is your "leave no trace" wilderness ethic?
  10. What camera equipment do you use?
  11. Have you ever used a large format camera?
  12. Do you use film or digital processes to make your prints?
  13. Do you produce open or limited editions?
  14. Are the Earth Erotica photographs digitally enhanced?
  15. Do you sculpt or carve the rocks, then digitally collage your photographs? Those forms don't exist naturally do they?
  16. Why do you number, instead of name, the Earth Erotica photographs?
  17. Why do you sign your photographs on the back instead of on the front?
  18. Why do you photograph Earth Erotica?
  19. What do you intend to communicate with Earth Erotica?
  20. What are the responses to Earth Erotica?
  21. What is the therapeutic and healing power of Earth Erotica?
  22. What do you have to say about children, sex education, and Earth Erotica?
  23. Who is the "audience" for Earth Erotica?
  24. Who collects Earth Erotica and where do they display it?
  25. My wish for you?



  1. How did you come up with the idea of Earth Erotica?
    Very, very slowly. The idea gathered momentum as I found more images and began to understand, through public response, the breadth of interpretation and potential for this work. See my Biography for the story.
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  3. How long have you been photographing Earth Erotica?
    Since 1981, when I photographed my first two Earth Erotica images while trekking in the high mountain region of the Sinai Desert. However, I did not initially plan on making a series so accumulating the images was very sporadic until 1996.

    Earth Erotica has evolved through years of extensive hiking, thousands of road miles, dawn- till-dark days "hunting" in the wilderness, plagues of biting bugs, stifling heat, bone-chilling cold, vast patience, and the evolution of spirit that comes from pushing through fears to realize a vision.
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  5. Where do you find Earth Erotica?
    Wherever I can! I derive most of my images from the wild deserts, canyon lands, and mountains of the Four Corners region of the American Southwest: Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Other locations include Nevada, California, Washington, New York, Vermont, Italy, and the Sinai Desert.
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  7. What size are the rocks you photograph? Are they really big?
    I love to alter proportion and play with perspective. My "subjects" range from very large to very small. For example, in reality, EE002 is a tiny rock formation measuring just 2" wide x 31/2" high and EE021 is a massive striated stone alcove spanning 25' wide x 40' high.
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  9. Do you photograph only rocks for Earth Erotica? What about trees and flowers?
    I like representing all aspects of nature. I suppose, because I love rocks, and I love the sculptural contrast, textures, and forces of erosion in rocks, it's not surprising that rocks are where I find most of my images. Also, my prior home was in the desert where I was surrounded by red rock cliffs and labyrinthine sandstone canyons.

    The collection is titled Earth Erotica to embrace all realms of our planet. Earth Erotica includes trees, flowers, mud, bentonite hills, ancient fumaroles, reflections in water, and perhaps one day I will photograph ethereal lovers coupling within the clouds.
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  11. How is it that you see these sexual things in nature and other people don't?
    I am looking for it! I'm sure my "vision" is influenced by my career as a sex educator. Following what initially captivates my interest, I look to tell a compositional story. Sometimes this results in a new image.
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  13. Why do you have so many more female images than male images?
    Well´┐Ż after all, our planet is called Mother Earth! It just happens that "female" images are easier to find. I seek a balance, but finding male imagery at all levels of engorgement has proven elusive. I work hard for sensual compositions rather than snapshot representations of our sexual physicality. I am careful to portray unbiased, elegant photographs that celebrate the beauty of human sexuality.
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  15. Besides Earth Erotica, what else do you photograph?
    Almost everything outside.
    My many interests are expressed in two other original fine art collections:

    WITHIN THE OBVIOUS:
    Earthy abstracts, nature close-ups, and panoramic landscapes reveal the infinite beauty of our planet. I love to compose elements of nature into striking patterns of color, contrast, shape, and texture. Within The Obvious photographs are derived from pristine mountain and desert wilderness, National and State Parks, and cultivated floral gardens. Expressing nature's full spectrum pallet this collections includes: serene desert washes of pastel rouge, indigo, and violet, sheer red rock walls stained ink-black with desert varnish, russet bentonite hills juxtaposed cobalt blue skies, white and gray winter clad waterways, crimson-tipped aspen in alpenglow, fragile purple columbine, glorious maroon and yellow heirloom sunflowers backlit at sunset, and more. (Gallery under construction)

    THE ARTISTRY OF CULTURE:
    International impressions reflecting the magnificence of human diversity and architectural ingenuity. The Artistry of Culture collections portray everything attendant to humankind: attributes and details of architecture, mechanical and industrial forms such as abstractions of an 1860s millpond turbine and Archimedes Wheels, Medieval wrought iron gates, patina-rich early American West ranch tools, antique maritime scenes, indigenous peoples from world travels, ancient temples, pyramids, and sacred sites. (Gallery under construction)
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  17. What is your "leave no trace" wilderness ethic?
    "Leave no trace" is educated Earth etiquette: consideration, respect, gratitude, pack-it-in/ pack-it-out; my code of conduct while in nature. One misplaced step in the fragile micro-climes of our deserts, mountains, and wetlands can destroy decades-old microscopic organisms vital to the entire web of life. I tread carefully; wind and rain quickly erase any trace of my presence.
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  19. What camera equipment do you use?
    35mm Nikon and four lenses:
    24mm.Wide Angle, 35-135mm Zoom, 75-300mm Zoom,and105mm Micro.
    Tripod: Bogen with ball head.
    Lighting: Ambient. Flash: Almost never.
    Film: Fujichrome Velvia Professional Film (transparency/slide film, ISO 50)
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  21. Have you ever used a large format camera?
    Yes, but I returned to 35 mm because the large format equipment was too heavy and cumbersome for me to carry mile after mile. Also, I often find my images in small, precarious places where I could not stabilize myself, the tripod, and a big camera.
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  23. Do you use film or digital processes to make your prints?
    I use film because I like the rich layers of color and depth I am able to achieve with film and handmade prints. All of my photographs are produced to state-of-the-art industry archival standards.
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  25. Do you produce open or limited editions?
    Currently Earth Erotica is produced as an open edition.
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  27. Are the Earth Erotica photographs digitally enhanced?
    No. I endeavor to reveal the unabashed sexuality inherent in Earth's landscapes. I do not use specialized filters, darkroom manipulation, digital enhancement, or "doctoring" of any kind. I use ambient and reflected light only, no flash. Each photograph is composed and cropped through the lens while in the field. My final image appears in the viewfinder before I release the shutter.
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  29. Do you sculpt or carve the rocks, then digitally collage your photographs? Those forms don't exist naturally do they?
    Earth's body does not require cosmetic augmentation (neither do we). Eons of planetary evolution conjoin with the cardinal elements: water, fire, earth, and air, to "sculpt" these extraordinary forms. I simply photograph what already exists — putting my spin on perspective!
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  31. Why do you number, instead of name, the Earth Erotica photographs?
    Everyone sees something different in the same image; responses range from physical and emotional to spiritual. I number, rather than name, Earth Erotica so the photographs may be experienced according to the imagination of each viewer.
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  33. Why do you sign your photographs on the back instead of on the front?
    People enjoy viewing Earth Erotica from a variety of "positions". I sign my photographs on the back so the images can be oriented and framed as desired. I consider this an affirmation of strong composition rather than a distortion of my work.
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  35. Why do you photograph Earth Erotica?
    By presenting socially acceptable erotic art I hope to positively influence mainstream sexual intelligence. The Earth Erotica Collection is elegant, sexy, and educational; a sensitive, yet graphic portrayal of how nature reflects the beauty of human sexuality.

    For the viewer, Earth Erotica is safe and approachable, yet simultaneously controversial and provocative. It's sexy. Intriguing. It makes people smile, laugh, think, and feel. It turns people on and motivates sexual healing.
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  37. What do you intend to communicate with Earth Erotica?
    In essence, what I "communicate" with Earth Erotica is our inalienable birthright to rewarding sexuality and erotic pleasure, the origin of sexuality is sacred (the natural world does not sever sex from spirit), and, just like Earth, the human body originates from the infallible and divine artistry of God/Goddess.

    As a sex educator, I am thrilled to express much of what I have to say about sexuality within the inarguable metaphors of nature. I photograph Earth Erotica because it stimulates positive interaction and constructive conversation about sexuality.
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  39. What are the responses to Earth Erotica?
    Most responses are very complimentary. Every once in a while I receive a derogatory remark equating Earth Erotica with pornography! Often the first reaction is embarrassment or nervous laughter, then openness, quiet contemplation, amazement, disbelief, and a lot of questions. Many people love the blatant eroticism and find the images a turn-on. Others experience the photos as reverent expressions of the divine masculine and feminine, yin/yang, the creative life force, Shiva and Shakti.
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  41. What is the therapeutic and healing power of Earth Erotica?
    The therapeutic power of Earth Erotica continues to evolve as I receive heartrending stories from the women and men who experience my photographs. Victims of sexual trauma, and those who have disowned their bodies, begin healing old wounds. I am thankful to discover a teaching and healing tool that communicates the unity between sex and spirit in a non-judgmental and universal language — Earth. Read more about my Healing Stories.
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  43. What do you have to say about children, sex education, and Earth Erotica?
    I receive tremendous encouragement from parents thankful for a "natural" means of broaching the subject of sex with their children and teenagers. Kids squeal and point, hands over mouth, giggling in shy recognition of "certain" body parts as they proudly exclaim "Mommy, Daddy, that's a butt! That's a booby!" They are just as excited about identifying numbers and ABC's. But with Earth Erotica, the shyness comes from recognizing sexual aspects of the body. The child questions for his/her appropriate response: "Is this a No, No? Am I bad because I saw it? Will I be punished for looking? Are you proud of me because I could name it?" Within innocent curiosity is the opportunity to instill healthy sexual morals.
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  45. Who is the "audience" for Earth Erotica?
    Whose life is untouched by sex? (Sex is how we got here.) Everyone: children, teens, adults, and seniors of all sexual and spiritual persuasions. The audience for Earth Erotica is cross-cultural, multi-ethnic, and extends to all socioeconomic backgrounds and professions.

    The audience for Earth Erotica includes:
    Monogamous mates, poly-amorous partners, abstinent allies, congenial companions, celibate singles, gratified gays, lesbian lovers, bisexual beloveds, transsexual twosomes, swinging spouses, Tantra transcendents, S&M sensationalists, kinky couples, fetish friends, married moderates, nuptial nudists, pan-sensual players, and connubial conservatives. Did I leave anyone out? If so, please consider yourself included.
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  47. Who collects Earth Erotica and where do they display it?
    Earth Erotica is collected for as many reasons as there are people. To my knowledge, Earth Erotica is currently is displayed in private homes, offices, healing and retreat centers, and academic institutions.

    Earth Erotica has been purchased by interior decorators for model homes, used on altars for sacred sexuality rituals, for shamanistic and earth reverent ceremonies, for balancing and harmonizing the ch'i (life force energy) in the love and relationship corner of the Feng Shui bagua, and to embellish elaborate dungeons.

    Earth Erotica is utilized for healing purposes in various therapeutic professions. Parents use the images to talk about sex with their children. Sensualists appreciate the affirmation of Eros. Naturalists view themselves in the images. Ecologists thrill to the seductive allegories. I think most people collect and display Earth Erotica simply because it is a beautiful affirmation of sexuality.
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  49. My wish for you?
    I wish for you superb health, spiritual well-being, infinite love, and fulfilling sexuality.
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© 1998 - 2011 Copyright Heather Firth. All rights reserved.