Greenfield-Sanders' Documentary <i>Thinking XXX</i> Airs on HBO Tonight

HBO will air Thinking XXX, a candid documentary about the making of renowned photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' book of porn star portraits, at 11 p.m. EST today.

The program covers the behind-the-scenes story of how Greenfield-Sanders captured XXX: 30 Porn Star Portraits. The book, which features paired portraits – one clothed, one nude of a cross-section of straight and gay actors – also contains 15 essays on pornography from notable writers such as Gore Vidal, Salman Rushdie and John Malkovich.

"It's my second film, and a film I'm very proud of," Greenfield-Sanders told AVN.com in an exclusive interview Thursday from New York. "I think it's a very human film about real people and I hope that comes through."

Greenfield-Sanders said he became inspired after seeing the feature film Boogie Nights in 1997.

"I started to think of porn stars as a subject," he said. "I thought they may be an interesting group to shoot."

But Greenfield-Sanders didn't really start pursuing the project until after Linda Lovelace's death in 2002, when he realized he missed out on the opportunity to photograph her.

"It's a project that just kept being attractive to everyone I approached, partly because of the subject matter. There is great interest in this subject," he continued. "It started out very unambitious and it became quite ambitious."

Greenfield-Sanders has spent the past 25 years photographing art-world personalities, celebrities and world leaders. He captured President Bush and his wife Laura and Senator John Kerry and his wife Theresa for this month's issue of Good Housekeeping. He regularly contributes to Vanity Fair and Index.

Greenfield-Sanders' subjects have included musicians, artists, writers, actors and politicians. He told AVN.com that when he began the process of selecting subjects to photograph, the same names kept coming up.

"This is not the definitive 30 portraits," he said. "This is a mixture of straight and gay, young and old, men and women, legends and newcomers. They are almost types in a sense, and yes, I am happy with my choices.”

There was one apparent theme however – over a third of the porn stars included in the project are either current or former Vivid girls.

Greenfield-Sanders said he accumulated 50-60 hours of video footage during the photo shoots that have been edited for tonight's show. Though his expertise is still photography, he isn't a complete film novice. He started out as a filmmaker, attending film school 20 years ago. He won a Grammy Award for his 1998 film profile Lou Reed: Rock & Roll Heart, which to date is his only other foray into film aside from Thinking XXX.

"I think it's a project that shattered all my preconceptions about the porn world and porn stars, and I got to understand them as people that have great passion for what they do and are very driven, very smart and who have come into this world for many different reasons," Greenfield-Sanders said.

"It's a documentary about the making of this book and it also really goes into – during the short time I had with them – some of the reasons these people are doing porn, and who they are."

Greenfield-Sanders interspersed the portraits with thoughtful prose on the intersection of pornography, sexuality and culture from intellectuals such as Karen Finley, Nancy Friday, Richard Johnson, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Michael Musto, Whitley Strieber, Gore Vidal, John Waters and Faye Wattleton.

"I think it's entertaining and also very moving in some ways," Greenfield-Sanders said. "What I love about porn stars is they don’t really spin their lives. I've shot so many people who are all about PR and spin. With these people, it's much more open, because of what they do I think they're much more up front about everything, and it's very refreshing."

Greenfield-Sanders will host a reception Saturday at the world-renowned Mary Boone Gallery, where some of his porn star subjects such as Jenna Jameson, Savanna Samson, and Gina Lynn will be in attendance.

For more information, visit orhttp://hbo.com/docs/programs/thinking_xxx/index.html.