To most people, just the idea of witnessing your mother in the throes of passion is enough to make you spontaneously gag or want to scrub your eyeballs in bleach.
Leigh Ledare, on the other hand, has decided to embrace the most extreme of mother-son bonds, embracing a relationship that would leave Sigmund Freud rubbing his hands with glee.
Bedecked with a 60s-esque 'tasche that puts Magnum P.I. to shame, Ledare takes pictures of his mother, Tina, posing naked and having sex with other young men – all in the name of art, of course.
Leigh Ledare's mother, Tina
Some of the titles of his series, entitled Pretend You're Actually Alive, include the delicately termed 'Mom Spread with Lamp' and 'Mom Fucking in Mirror' – and they are not for the easily offended, or for those who want to hold onto their breakfast.
So, what inspires a man to take photos of his mum having sex? Ledare says his work was fuelled by some, arguably oedipal, desires to document the "extremely open and intimate relationship" he has with his mother.
And does he ever get turned on when taking the photographs? "I don't know what to say" he ambiguously responds, speaking to the Guardian.
In a teenage diary entry, he names his mum alongside models and film stars in a list of "girls I wanted to do".
"I think already in the background there were some foggy boundary issues. What people talk about as being Oedipal – there's a flirtation with that, but the boundaries were never actually crossed," he said.
His decision to showcase his mother, he says, started when he returned home one Christmas and his mum greeted him in the most provocative fashion.
"I arrived home not having seen her for a year and a half," he recalls. "She knew I was coming and opened the door naked."
When Ledare walked in to the house and past his mother's bedroom, "a young man, almost exactly my age, was sprawled out naked. He rolled over to see me, saying hello, before rolling back over and returning to sleep."
Ledare interpreted this welcome as "her way of announcing to me what she was up to, at this period in her life – almost as though to say, 'Take it or leave it.' I had a camera and began making photos of her then. She was the catalyst."
Extracts from the series are now set to feature in a group show – Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood and Identity – at the Photographers' Gallery in London.
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