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AEE 2019:  Is Camming the New Porn?

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

Photos in this essay are credited to Kevin Sayers and Steve Nelson.

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At this year’s AVN trade show, cammers and their laptops were pervasive, demonstrating the popularity of online broadcasting. In fact, MyFreeCams sponsored this year’s adult extravaganza in a move that seemed to step over the industry’s traditional studios.

The upshot, I believe, is a pretty straight-forward question: Is camming redefining the adult business? From the interviews completed by our AINews team (which included photographer Kevin Sayers and videographer Davyana San Miguel) and posted in this blog, the answer is “maybe.”

What it is not, is “no.”

Delivery Platforms

From what I can see, the adult industry is experiencing a twenty-first century revolution driven by new delivery platforms. Not surprising, by the way. Fans old enough to remember the bygone days of the video tape and its replacement, the DVD, recognize that, as always, technology is porn’s best friend, moving it culturally forward with each new innovation.

Whether the DVD will pass into porn history in the manner of the VHS tape is a matter of debate. As one director told me, commercial studios still produce them for their “hands on” collectable value. In other words, display your favorite DVDs on the library shelf for immediate reference.

What is obvious, however, is that porn’s online presence is today’s mother lode. High quality shooting with easy-to-manage advanced systems is ubiquitous for both the commercial studio and the cammer. When capturing the porn moment is technically simplified, everyone can learn the skills required to post just about anything online.

In other words, anybody can become a pornographer and suddenly every cam girl can claim a professional mantle, at least from the shooting perspective.

As for the bodies in front of the camera, the number of performers, models, or whatever you choose to call them, is expanding. There are plenty of girls available to shoot the mainstream product and thousands who cam.

What is interesting is this. Do cammers believe they are shooting porn? Do accomplished porn stars believe cammers can make it in the studio, and does that matter?

If porn stars consider themselves to be professionals because they are being paid (the most basic definition of “professional”), what do we do with cammers who are also making money in their chat rooms and with self-published vids on hosting sites like Clips4Sale and ManyVids? They may think of themselves as amateurs, but how are they not professional?

And, of course, what constitutes the status of amateur? Is it more a style of shooting than an actual performer?

Two Brands

Though porn veterans appear to have clear-cut views on these questions, cammers remain conflicted perhaps because whatever level of sexual stardom has been thrust upon them (or in them, for that matter) has come fast and furious, blurring the definition of how they see themselves.

The two brands of performers seem like parallel universes until one realizes that established industry stars can easily turn to camming and widen the conduit of porn’s delivery system in today’s culture.

Conversely, cammers can seek out studios should they choose that avenue and abandon any pretense to be amateurs. Though Clips4Sale is not Brazzers or Jules Jordan, does it mean amateur only?

Trouble is, a bit of tribalism creeps into the picture as can be seen in the numerous interviews from this year’s show that appear on this blog.

Is or Is Not

In the final posts from the Adult Entertainment Expo 2019, we have interviews with two cam couples. They have nuanced perspectives on where to place camming in adult entertainment and what it means to make the adult product.

Keeping that in mind, here are the questions we asked.

If it is sex on-screen, regardless of the source, is it porn? Or, if the intention is to amuse and entertain a paying–and therefore exclusive–group of followers who enter a “private” chat room, does that make it restrictive and informal enough to “not” be porn?

Or, are the two groups—cammers and porn stars by one definition, and amateurs and professionals by another—simply drifting into each other’s space to the extent that one day there will be no difference?

Perhaps. But that would require porn stars to drop their self-proclaimed exclusivity and cammers to abandon their “not me, I don’t do porn” mantra. If each begins to cross over into the realm of the other, does the whole industry benefit?

That, I believe, is AVN’s bet in expanding the trade show umbrella in the years to come.

 

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AEE 2019: Porn Stars on Camming. Kenna James

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

This is the third installment in our porn stars and camming series from the 2019 AVN trade show in Las Vegas.

Four of the top porn performers will discuss their views on camming. Then we will talk to a pair of cam couples who have sex online for their fans.

Here we begin with Kenna James, a popular industry performer known for her friendliness, on-camera warmth and acting ability.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

 

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Though she’s cammed in the past, Kenna James no longer devotes a lot of time to her online endeavors, but that may soon change.

The vivacious blonde explains that when she began her adult career, she “moved from a stripper into the webcam world five days a week, three or four hours a night.”

“I loved it,” Kenna says. “It was great. I got to stay home, I made money in my bed in whatever I wanted to wear. No more heels, I could sit there in nothing and that’s fine.

“But when I started taking off in the industry, my camming schedule got a little less regular. I moved out of a duplex into a forty-foot camper. I didn’t have reliable options for internet which is why I no longer regularly cam.”

Looks like that may change soon. Kenna’s learned she can now get high-speed internet, so she’ll be back online eventually.

Depends on What You Show

Is the cam girl a porn girl?

Kenna responds with an immediate “no,” then backtracks a little. She says it depends on what a girl does on film versus her online broadcasts.

“If you don’t show anything below topless. I wouldn’t consider you part of porn.

“If you full on masturbate, I would consider you do a little bit of porn.”

Will the cam girl ever become the new porn girl?

“I don’t know,’ the Missouri native replies. “I don’t know what the future of camming holds. Who knows? This is an ever-changing industry and we’re all learning to adapt with it.”

Running on My Own

Don’t cam girls have to wear several hats — performer, director, editor, and marketer?

“It depends on the individual because a lot of porn girls are their own distributor,” Kenna says, and mentions that some cam girls use paid service to tweet for them.

“They are their own bosses, I mean, we all are. For instance, I don’t have an agent. I haven’t had one for two and a half years. I’ve been running on my own. So, my stuff is all done with me.

Camming is hard work, right?

“It can be. I moved into it from the stripping world and I consider camming much harder than stripping. Stripping’s easy because you don’t have to talk, you don’t have to be smart, you don’t have to be entertaining. All you gotta do is give a good dance, giggle, and be naked. That’s all they care about.

“Whereas camming, you gotta have a personality. You have to have something about you that draws other people to you and makes them want to stay. That can be a lot more challenging. Thankfully, I’ve always been a talker, I’ve always been fun, I’ve always tried to keep things light. But it was a whole new level for me,” Kenna laughs.

She points out that a cam girl has to “own” who she is.

“I’ve been on my cams not at my best. One hundred percent truth. I’m a complete mess sometimes and my fans will tell me. But I own it. What it comes down to is how comfortable are you with you, in your skin, in your surroundings. And how much of you are you willing to let out there.

“Think of it as the most candid, ad-libbed thing you’ve ever done. It’s reality that can’t be edited,” the Las Vegas resident concludes.

Always be You

If a girl wants to cam as an intro into porn, Kenna has a warning.

“My advice is always be you,” she says. Avoid trying to be what you’re not. You don’t have to pretend or act unnaturally and remember not everyone’s going to love you.

“Don’t get caught up in all the negativity, ‘cause there’s a lot of it,” she cautions.

“There’s negativity everywhere and this industry especially. People [will] come down hard on you. So, it can be a really difficult.”

Within the industry?

Both within and without, she says, but offers an encouraging thought.

“The industry as a whole is getting better. It’s not so competitive. We’re banning together a little bit better. It makes us stronger, so just don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Empowerment

Are porn girls more empowered than they were twenty years ago?

“Oh yeah. I definitely think so. I’ve met a lot of girls that have come from camming into the industry,” Kenna says, and praises their self-awareness.

“I like the girls who have found their personality. They’re like, ‘This is me. Let’s do it. This is who I am.’ This is a new thing and it brings on a whole new feel to everything as well.”

Finally, I ask Kenna about the traditional three-legged stool of porn — shooting scenes, dancing, and escorting. Is camming now the fourth leg?

“I think so. We can definitely call camming the fourth leg.”

With her ever-present smile, Kenna James adds with a gleam in her eye, “I’m a three-legger. I don’t escort. But I dance, shoot scenes and cam.”

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