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Hardcore Decor

Work / Photography

A chat with the anonymous archivist behind vintage smut celebration Hardcore Decor

Ah, the Internet! Wonderland of geeks, freaks and the most niche of all niches. However obscure your interests – the interior design featured in 70s porn, for example – there’s the opportunity to go hard, eherm, into an endless research vortex. Hardcore Decor is one such rabbit hole. It’s an anonymous Instagram account celebrating the wild, daring style of vintage skin mags and luckily for you we managed to tempt its creator out of obscurity.

The retro-eyed eroticist behind Hardcore Decor first kindled his interest in vintage jazz mags two years ago as way of sustaining a long distance romance. “We are both lovers of all things vintage,” he explains, “so vintage Tumblr porn provided mutual amusement and a little sauciness as an adjunct to long distance sexting. (True story).” The more he explored, the more he was blown away by the incredible backgrounds, decor and fashion on display. “It stuck me that Instagram would be perfect because their restrictions meant that I would have to highlight the parts of the image I found so interesting.” The fun part is trying to crop enough to keep it titillating, yet still pass the Instaprudes, he says. “Alas, there have been some great images that I just couldn’t post because there was no way to crop the action.”

Scrolling through endless vintage erotica forums online for 60s, 70s and 80s material, HD’s curator can usually spot straight away whether a publication is going to yield any gold. He’s on the hunt for wild wallpaper, titillating textiles or amusing furniture and products, working out whether he can make them fit the widescreen crop. Sometimes magic happens, other times, it’s a bust. “I’m a kid of the 70s, so I’m sure a lot of it has to do with a sense of nostalgia, of recognition. I remember all that orange kitchenware and burnt umber furniture and shag carpet, so that no doubt plays a large part in my enjoyment.”

Charmingly, older magazines tend to publish ‘establishing shots’ (a goldmine for our faithful archivist) with a few opening scenes in a kooky 70s apartment before the clothes come off, or sharing an aperitif, or on rare occasions, there’ll be a walk through the streets of Copenhagen en route to said apartment. “These shots become a candid, time-capsule view of Europe 50 years ago, utterly unselfconscious in the sense that the background action is a complete afterthought. These are the images that really amaze me.”

Alongside an affection for all the kitsch tackiness, Hardcore Decor’s curator also has a whole lot of admiration for some of the photographers and models involved, and for what he says seems like a genuine sense of freedom of the era. “I’m no doubt romanticising somewhat, and obviously side stepping the whole deeper, possibly problematic side of pornography as a larger social issue, but the point of Hardcore Decor is to celebrate and indulge in the heady visuals from a medium that was for most part kept in a locked drawer, or stashed in a secret corner of a wardrobe somewhere.” We’re thrilled they’re hidden no longer.

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