Canadian photographer Petra Collins is challenging erotic imagery

Canadian photographer Petra Collins published a contemporary erotic fairytale book in collaboration with Alexa Demie.

Canadian photographer Petra Collins is challenging erotic imagery
© Getty Images
Canadian photographer Petra Collins is challenging erotic imagery

The Canadian visual artist Petra Collins has made a break-out in the fashion world thanks to her love for fantasy worlds and her discourses surrounding coming of age.

Collins' photographic touch is recognisable as she shoots with polaroid and VHS cameras, infusing her works with soft colors and retro grains. She is surrounded by Hollywood's best—many famous names have posed in front of her lens: Selena Gomez, rising star Olivia Rodrigo, Frank Ocean, Billie Eillish, Tyler the Creator, Solange Knowles, SZA, to name just a few.

Her latest project? Fairy Tales, an erotic folklore of short stories shot by Petra Collins, starring Alexa Demie, the teenage glam queen of HBO’s Euphoria.

Petra Collins is living her fairytale

Collins has grown prominent in the last decade establishing herself as an it-girl, creative director, fashion photographer and all-in-all artist. Each of her shots is crafted as a fantastical tale, which she gifts her audience. Most of the time, her portraits are bathed in soft lights and glitter to enhance teenage fantasies and modern naiveté. This stylistic approach has been coined as belonging to the 'angelcore' movement.

But lately, Collins has been exploring a darker spectrum of these fantasy worlds. One that is inhabited by elves, ghoulish figures, and nighttime scenery. The protagonists—who seem more in control of their surroundings—depict a disillusioned youth, which seeks constant escape from routine. In a way, Collins is giving a voice to fallen angels.

In Fairy Tales, her latest photobook, Alexa Demie portrays nine characters which range from fairy, to mermaid, witches, elves and more.

Collins' photoshoots are an opportunity to play dress up and explore her inner dream creature.

Reimagining BDSM and erotic narratives

In her latest project, Petra Collins dives into a whole new universe; she explores erotica, bringing it in a new light, as she does. With her experience as a casting director for Richard Kern, an acclaimed underground New York filmmaker, we aren’t too surprised by her wish to explore erotic novels.

However, by crafting it in the style of a fairytale, she decides to present sex and desires as a secret garden for one’s own look. Softness and glitter contrast with bondage and luxe lingerie giving power to the female gaze. Collins' work subtly combines feminine and feminist, and we are here for it!