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Phone Sex by Phil Toledano

by Tim Yu
on 06 June 2008

by Gabriel Bell


From Homer to Henry James, storytelling has been the one constant art that has sewn us together as a society and a species. Today, some of the finest practitioners of the bard's tradition are just a pay phone call away. In photographer Phil Toledano's newest book, "Phone Sex," readers are treated to an inside look at the women and men who answer the call when some lonely (or horny) soul dials a 900 number.

Paired with sensitive, often probing portraits taken in their "home offices," Toledano collects the phone-sex workers musings on their art and industry. One rather demure-looking pro-talker recalls the customer who was turned on by the rather questionable conceit that she could raise a motorcycle over her head. Another's account of a scatologically inclined caller appears alongside an innocent snap of her with her adorable toddler. Toledano, who's past subjects have included the haunting work spaces abandoned by the crash of the dot-com boom ("Bankrupt"), says "so many of these operators are fantastic storytellers and have incredible imaginations, creating elaborate hyper-specific fantasies that genuinely turn their callers on."

Have a glance at the book at Phone Sex and purchase it for $50 at Twin Palms Publishers, although at the time of writing the book was on backorder. See Toledano's other works on his site.

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