Alexandra Kacha is no stranger to the world of extreme, liberated erotic expression. Based in LA, they have been photographing fetishists, kinksters, sex workers and professional dominatrixes for over a decade. Their style is instantly recognisable: soft hues, luminous colours, tenderly blurred lights and a variety of settings which defy traditional expectations of the erotic as night-time and gritty – from camp boudoir-style hotels, to lush Californian wilderness. They have also photographed a vast amount of queer couples who want to be documented by someone who sees their intimacy through a non-binary queer perspective.
Born and raised in San Diego, Kacha got into photography in high school by taking snaps of their friends and their day-to-day life. Having moved to Los Angeles via Portland, they often say that photography saved their life, guided them to sobriety and helping them find their true creative purpose. While for work they shoot only digitally, two years ago they started bringing their film point-and-shoot Yashica T4 everywhere. “I started with film when I was young, and then I put it away for a long time,” Kacha says. “I wanted a point-and-shoot so I could reflect my life all the time, not just at a shoot that is usually so planned. If I’m at a play party, if I’m just with friends that look freaky that night, I’m able to just capture it because it fits in my bag.”
“I love film because it’s so raw and you can’t do that much to it. I don’t edit the photos. I love the surprise of seeing how the different lighting shows up or how someone’s skin tone shows up. There’s also something really, like, smutty about it. You almost can’t tell what era you’re in.”
Kacha admits loving the nostalgic quality of film, and how it can feel “like a collection of your life”. They’ve taken it to countless play parties, to numerous national parks like Joshua Tree, and they use self-timer to document themselves and their intimate moments.
In the backstage photos from their erotic shoots, the 35mm camera captures the unfiltered energy, the spontaneous unstaged moments, and the absurdity of kink and fetish culture which is often overlooked. Together, it adds to the empathetic portrait of the community. “With film photography, I love giving people the photos after,” they add. “It has been such a joy for me because they get to hold it and keep it.”