People often ask—am I a voyeur?
Well, yes I am. Obviously, I like to watch, especially when explosive subject matter pops my eyeballs. But that's just one level, one of many. A voyeur is a Peeping Tom, a person who gets excited by watching others perform erotic acts. Some types of peeping are proscribed by law (I wouldn't want some creep peeking in my bedroom window, would you?), while other forms of peeping are simply considered "naughty" (like a quick peek at Daddy's Playboy).
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There's another kind of voyeur, described by the old English word, "seer." A seer is a person who looks deeply into things and grasps the complete essence of the situation. I prefer using that term when I discuss my work, because it implies wisdom and understanding.
Having said that, let me share with you a voyeuristic experience that happened when I was ten years old. I was crawling beneath the public swimming pool dressing rooms to pick up coins that had fallen through cracks in the wooden floor. Here is my story, from my memoir Dirty Old Man:
I heard voices, and looked up. There were two naked women, standing directly above me. I put my eye to the crack in the floor. Suddenly, a woman saw me, and screamed. In my rush to crawl out, I scraped my head and skinned my back. I ran outside, frightened and bleeding, clutching my muddy coins.What I was doing was sexual and forbidden—and it felt GREAT. Everything came together at that moment—sex, dirt, blood, money, guilt, fear—and the intoxicating power of that mix.
Looking at exotic subjects makes me HIGH.
Photographing forbidden activities makes me HIGH.
Documenting underground history makes me HIGH.
Getting paid for eyeball kicks makes me HIGH.
The truth well told.