Erotic photography by Alva Bernadine, and a story about Maxim Jakubowski

Alva Bernadine – or Bernadinism – is a prolific photographer and while his range encompasses some highly arousing imagery, also embraces the surreal to an extent that (dare I say it) may very well exceed that of our favorite out-there n00dz photog, Merkley???. So when you visit Bernadinism’s blog or, expect images you’ll find hot alongside images that may give your libido a case of spinning dizzy WTF – and possibly an image or two that might turn you off altogether. As with all things porny, cherry-pick your way to pleasure.

A post featuring Bernadinism here has been long overdue; I was reminded when he emailed me this morning to tell me he’s got six pages in a new erotic photography hardcover book (congrats!) edited by Maxim Jakubowski.

In case you’ve ever wondered why I’m not a fan of Jakubowski, it’s because I had a really bad experience with him in May, 2005. A long time ago, I know, but the issue remains. Jakubowski put my name on the cover and in all the promo materials for “The Mammoth Book of Sex Diaries: The Ultimate Collection of Sex Blogs” (the title changed a few times) before the book was released – and my name was still on the book cover after it was released. I found out the hard way, and no one at Carroll & Graf, or Jakubowski had asked if it was okay or told me in any way. It was actually how I found out about the book, making me worry my work was in it without permission (but also stoked if I was selected – I just wanted to have consent and be made aware of what was going on with my name and work, contracts, rights, etc.). My name was already online in a variety of retail outlets.

I asked him to have my name removed. Jakubowski was not nice about it, and used the tone of, like I was someone who didn’t matter anyway – he claimed he just stuck my name on there because he’d somehow found it on Belle du Jour’s website. So, I was not included in what was, at the time definitively, “The Ultimate Collection of Sex Blogs.” But I was used to sell it. After the book came out my name was still on the cover in all online locations as the book’s press push occurred, and the cover with my name appeared on Amazon, AllLibris, Powell’s, IBS, LIT, others, and in a few online reviews. Jakubowski insisted use of my name on his book cover was not an issue (but eventually corrected the cover in some but not all places the book was sold).

So I’m excited for everyone who gets published because I want great artists and authors to succeed and receive credit and validation for their work; I’m just not a fan of the way Jakubowski treats people he thinks are not important enough to warrant professional courtesy.

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  • Mr. Jakubowski,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Perhaps instead of amplifying your position, insulting me about my name and concluding with a veiled threat about suing me for slander you might engage in a discussion. Instead of clearing up misconceptions, miscommunication, or addressing my distress with any compassion whatsoever, you proved my point entirely. You insulted and devalued me exactly as you did in 2005.

    And yes – as someone who has been literally impersonated in name, likeness and within the same industry, if any entity – such as a book publisher – attempts to put out a product with my name on it, they’re going to get a formal letter requesting that they stop.

  • Dear Violet,
    If it’s any consolation, the fact that amazon and a few online outlets did not change the cover to the one that was actually published and still erroneously featured your name which had been put there by someone junior in marketing by mistake based on an earlier proposal for the book and not the actual finished manuscript, despite being requested to do so repeatedly by the publishers might actually have done the book harm, insofar as it became the worst selling anthology I’ve ever issued! So much for the power of your name! And in terms of it being used for the book’s publicity, I think you’re being somewhat disingenuous as it’s well-known that the Mammoth books just filter onto the market and when with Carroll & Graf did not have any marketing push behind them whatsoever.
    And as to Billy Bob’s response, may I point out that Violet did go legal and both my lawyers and the publishers dismissed her action out of hand.
    I’ve issued over 100 anthologies, and not just in the erotic genre, and never has a single author or photographer ever complained about my utter professionalism.
    Can we just bury the damn hatchet? We have so many friends in common and all are nonplussed by the enmity which has emerged on your side of the fence. I admire much of what you do, and it just saddens me to see such an old matter which I wasn’t even responsible for, be resurrected in such bitter terms. Not that I would ever go legal on you for possible slander, as we’re all part of the same community.
    Enough, please.



  • Billy Bob

    IF he used your name to sell copies of his book then I suspect you have grounds for a lawsuit to recover a portion of the profits from sales of the book. You could also probably also sue him on grounds that being associated falsely with his book harmed your own business. And if he used materials from your blog without permission then you could attack him for copyright infringement. If you still care about the issue, I suggest talking to a lawyer. (I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on the interwebs.)