The Stylish Erotic Photography of Will Santillo
07 november 2022 
9 min. read

The Stylish Erotic Photography of Will Santillo

"Erotic photography, done right, speaks to our primal instincts. It Feeds the soul and allows us, for a brief moment to touch with abandon our essence." This aphorism by the American/ Canadian photographer Will Santillo (1953) represents the starting point and aspiration for his photographic work, in which he takes sexual imagery out of the realm of pornography and into the world's art galleries and collections.

will santillo portraitFig.1. Will Santillo in Paris, 2017 (wikipedia.org) 

Santillo was born and raised in the rural middle-class suburb White Plains, New York., a wooded area that offered him a fantastic playground as a child. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Art and Design from the MIT School of Architecture in 1975. A year later, Santillo moved to Toronto, Canada to continue architectural studies at the University of Toronto, obtaining a professional degree in 1979.

will santillo lesbian eroticaFig.2.

Due to his educational background in architecture and work in several other creative fields in his twenties and thirties, he started relatively late in his career with erotic photography (2001). Santillo describes his work as soulful, with a grounding narrative.

will santillo cunnilingusFig.3.

Praised by his mostly non-professional models for his professionalism and ability to efface himself during the shoot, Santillo focuses on the inner sensuality of the subjects portrayed resulting in images that uniquely bring reality to combine with elegance. He says, 'An erotic photo doesn't have to arouse lust, or , rather, it depends on how you define "arouse lust." I think of Georgia O'Keeffe's and Robert Mapplethorpe's still lives of landscapes and flowers - hot stuff!.'

will santillo porn photographyFig.4.

The Toronto photographer produced various books including Flagrante Delicto (2010), which is Latin for 'Caught in the Act', in which, Santillo as one Amazon reviewer notes, 'masterfully captures the passions of real couples engaging in the most realistic of interactions with hot, but artistic depictions ranging from bareback vanilla couple sex to the forbidden juicy fruits of bi-threesomes, fetishes & group scenes.'

will santilo kinkFig.5.

His best-known book is La Petite Mort (2016), translated the little death, a euphemism for orgasm, that was published by Taschen with text by Dian Hanson. The monograph offers a varied selection of energetic women, young to old, slim to thick, perfect beauties to those not considered beautiful, who enthusiastically masturbate in front of Santillo's camera.

will santilo kinkFig.6.

will santillo eroticFig.7.

will santillo masked nude femaleFig.8.

will santillo erotic photographerFig.9.

will santillo fellatioFig.10.

will santillo lesbian cunnilingusFig.11.

The images in the article were kindly provided by the artist. More of Santillo's sensual photography can be found on the artist's site.. You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram 

Click HERE for an article on the modern vintage in grotesque erotic photos by Jan Saudek

Sources: The New Erotic Photography by Dian Hanson, wikipedia.org, Foreword by Tim Woodward in Threshold , santillophotography.com,

Let us know what you think about the photographic work of Will Santillo in the comment box below...!!

About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more than 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.
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