With photos in magazines like Playboy, Hustler, and Penthouse, Holly Randall has set the standard for high-glamour photography. She is the preeminent adult industry photographer and her work has been featured in mainstream photography books in addition to her own erotic photography books, Kinky Nylons and Erotic Dream Girls. Holly is also the owner of HollyRandall.com, a website devoted to showcasing top-tier talent in photo spreads and videos. Holly is the daughter of famous photographer, Suze Randall, who was the first female staff photographer for Playboy and for Hustler. Suze Randall was also one of the first female porn directors in the United States. Holly’s father, Victor Knipe, is an author, sociologist, former English teacher, and the webmaster for Suze.net, Suze Randall’s adult website, and he also directed and wrote some of Suze’s films. Holly’s first work in the adult business was photographing and shooting video for Suze.net. After college she began shooting video for other studios. Coming from such a creative and business-minded background, Holly has been able to create her own unique style and has brought a much-needed sophistication to erotic films with Holly Randall Productions. Featuring top stars like Dani Daniels and Lisa Ann, Holly Randall Productions continues the seductive quality of Holly’s photography within her films.
You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you were interested in books, riding horses, and photography since you were young. Looking back at growing up with parents in the adult industry, when did you know this was a career path for you? Did you ever actively rebel against going into the same business as your parents? Did you ever have a desire to become an accountant or anything outside of the arts?
When I was very young, I thought I’d become a veterinarian (I think most little girls think that). Then I thought I would be an English teacher— I come from a family of teachers (my father was an English teacher), and I loved the subject. But when I took my first photography class at the age of 12, that’s when I knew I’d found my passion. But of course at that age I didn’t think I’d be shooting adult content. It wasn’t until I was 20, helping out my parents in the office and also going to college, when I realized that I really enjoyed working in adult and that I might have a future in it.
When you were first filming for Suze.net, what style or styles did you want to emulate? Who did you look to for inspiration? Was there someone else in the adult industry doing what you wanted to be doing?
I am rarely influenced by anyone in the adult industry— let’s be honest, most producers/directors/photographers in porn aren’t very talented, and have zero vision. Back in the day, I would say that Andrew Blake was an inspiration to me — I loved his artistic, fetish-y erotic movies. Today, nobody really influences me, but I think directors like Greg Lansky and the team at X-Art are really talented people and I love what they put out.
Your photography is so lush and colorful without being over-saturated. You capture the high-glamour and sophistication of old Hollywood and vintage fashion magazines. This style is very evident in True Erotica. It really is as if your photographs have come to life. What are the major differences for you between still photography and for filming scenes?
Well, I can’t be as precise with the lighting in video — because the nature of the actual light is different (strobe vs continuous), and in video the subjects are obviously moving so that’s different. Video is a lot more work — and I’m usually not just shooting statically in one room like I might be with photos (especially since I use a Steadicam for a lot of my video shots). So we’re moving around a lot, blocking out the actor’s movements, etc. Photography is much simpler (for me).
I’ve read that you do not like “acting” in your films, but you would rather pair up couples that are really attracted to each other. As an English Literature major, do you think you would ever write a heavy plot-driven erotic movie?
I’ve directed several heavy plot-driven movies, so yes, I can see myself starting to write scripts very soon. It’s all about casting the right people, some porn stars are better actors than others, that’s for sure!
Playboy TV contacted me out of the blue to be a part of Adult Film School. Honestly, there really wasn’t anyone else they could have cast for it. There are extremely few female directors, and finding one who is comfortable being in FRONT of the camera, who shoots classy hardcore, and who has a name associated with high-end glamour to draw in viewers…well, that’s pretty damn tough. I guess I’m fairly unique in that sense.
I’d like to start shooting VR, but I have zero interest in shooting the typical POV everyone is doing these days. I want to use VR to tell a story, to bring the viewer into a narrative before the sex starts…that’s where I’d like to go.
How does the role of an audience consuming your work factor into what you make?
Well, hopefully they pay for the product, which enables me to pay for production. Sadly, that’s not really happening these days. Thus, the shrinking budgets.
Well, I hate to generalize because all women are different. My tastes in porn are NOTHING like what I’m about to say women like. But here goes: generally women like a story, they want to feel connected to the characters, to the narrative. They also want beauty and glamour.
Tell us about a dream project you’d love to make.
I would love to shoot a erotic art book— not like the ones I have out now, which is just a collection of my work. I want to shoot specifically for this project.
What are some of the old clichés about porn stars you know are not true? What do you want non-adult industry people to know about the industry itself?
That they want to fuck everyone. Guys tend to assume because a girl does porn that she’ll sleep with them. Let me tell you, most porn stars have a “yes” and a “no” list, so they can be as selective as they’d like about their partners. They certainly will NOT sleep with “just anybody.”
The last decade has brought significant changes in the adult industry, from tube sites to camming, and the advent of VR porn. What advice would you give to millennials interested in entering the porn business now in either production or performance?
Well, I’d give the same advice to all millennials no matter what business they are getting into: so much of this younger generation is used to this “instant gratification” technology (well, the internet really) has given us. So they don’t put in the hard work, the long hours, the blood, sweat, and tears that one SHOULD put into their passion. There’s a real sense of entitlement these days, like “I’ve been at this job for 6 months I should get a raise” or “I should be famous by now” kind of thing. You have to work your way to the top, nobody just hands you success on a silver platter. Get off fucking Instagram and do your damn job.
What are your upcoming projects for 2017, and how can your fans best support you?
Well, I’m hoping to get into VR, as I mentioned. I’m also hosting my second workshop November 12 and 13 (go to HollyRandallWorkshops.com for more information). I’m also producing DP Star 3 this year (last year I was a judge, I’ll be behind the scenes this time). But the best way for my fans to support me is to join my website HollyRandall.com of course!
Watch Holly Randall‘s films on HotMoviesforHer now!