Behind the lens: Photographers Ryan Pfluger, Adrienne Raquel and Kelia Anne offered fresh perspectives on Playboy’s creative Direction

Photography has been one of the strongest driving forces of Playboy magazine throughout the years and recently, there has been a shift in its art direction, layout and tone that seems to mirror the current climate and status quo of the society.

A few weeks ago I was invited by Playboy to attend their Panel “Behind the Lens” at the Playhaus in West Hollywood, California.


Stepping inside the Playhaus is like embarking in a journey through a contemporary museum decorated with beautiful photography from the magazine throughout the years. There’s art installations, neon signs, pink walls, colorful furniture and soft carpets. It’s a delicious looking hub for Playboy’s events and panels.


Playboy’s direction is more sensitive, more thoughtful and more in-tuned with the female voice thanks to some of the contemporary photographers that the magazine have brought on board – Kelia Anne,  Ryan Pfluger and Adrienne Raquel.


These young photographers are providing the viewers a new way of viewing the magazine through the female gaze and the queer gaze.


Photographer Ryan Pfluger said: I grew up looking at Playboy. My dad used to bring them home all the time. I think as a queer person, it is always interesting to me visually and aesthetically.


The panel provided a glimpse into the minds and the processes of these contemporary playboy photographers and how they approached their various subjects for the magazine.


It’s refreshing to hear the stories and the experiences behind the shoots of Ezra Miller, Lizzo , Jordan Emmanuel, etc. while also posing questions that open dialogues about the future of the magazine. How essential is it to create and present articles and photograph from different perspectives? How does a queer person view playboy and women? Is the world ready for a penis in the magazine?


Overall, the event was an inspiring event that I wish more people could witness. Editors, photographers, and the readers would enjoy the conversations that transpired throughout the panel.


Special thanks to the beautiful Kat Edwards for the invitation.