The BDSM scene encompasses a lot of very complex dynamics that infinitely transcend the simplicity of regular sex. The nuances and surprising power dynamics between Doms and sub, sadists and masochists, romantic relationships versus sexual ones, queer versus heterosexual versus hetero-flexible, gender-neutral identities, and more; all of this lends itself to social investigation. On top of that, BDSM is also a very visual as well as sensory subculture. Some fetishes, like corsetry, focus very much on the shape that can be achieved by using certain types of clothing as fetish wear. The materials used in BDSM, whether by rubber fetishists or a kinkster who simply likes wearing PVC to play, are also visually striking in their textures and surfaces.
BDSM seems to lend itself naturally to be incorporated into art, but due to misconceptions about kinkster subculture and fetish dating scams for kinksters, it carries a certain reputation that precedes it. However, that’s changing somewhat and a popular form of art that’s capturing BDSM today is photography.
Just recently, a photographer named Nadelle Devries was introduced to the local BDSM scene in San Antonio, Texas, and became fascinated by the different connections that the kinksters she met shared, according to the San Antonio Current. Her work was featured in an exhibition entitled, “Evocative Lust,” which was on view this past summer. She has gone on to be contracted by well-known kinkster events and shows such as the San Antonio Burlesque Festival.
The success of photographers like Devries demonstrates that there’s a widening market for BDSM photography, but you don’t have to be a professional artist to dabble in the activity as a hobby. Here are a few ideas of how to host your own BDSM photo shoot, and how you can experiment with different dynamics to explore your own BDSM relationships.
Models and Muses
You can ask your friends to be models, and you might also find that they can act as muse at the same time, which is part of the artistic process of inspiration. You may avoid fetish dating scams and meet a beautiful woman off a kinky dating website who’s interested in art and would like to participate in a photography project. On the other hand, is creating art with another person is a very intimate activity, so if you have a primary partner or a serious sub, this can be a highly erotic and mentally stimulating activity. Whether or not you’re in the photos is up to you, but it adds an entirely different element and dynamic to the process. Just like in traditional photography, self portraits and being in front of the lens are very different than being an observer, incorporating yourself into your own BDSM photography can be a fascinating experience as a kinster.
To Gaze, or Be in the Gaze
You may visit different websites looking for models for your project, and then be even more inspired to find real, live kinksters after looking at fake pictures of women at websites that are fetish dating scams. However, when you find your ideal model (and hopefully muse) you need to decide whether you want to photograph her as a solo subject. There are lots of different options, including photographing couples, portraits without bondage, portraits while in bondage; the possibilities are limitless. One interesting exercise to try is to insert yourself into an image you’ve already taken of just your model. If you’re a Dom, maybe you set the timer on the camera and photograph yourself with your sub engaging in your favorite kink, whether it’s rope bondage or spanking. There are lots of different poses, like active bondage ones, but also, you can focus on portraits of individual people in their bondage persona. Many people also lead two different lives, and comparing the bondage sub to the everyday professional in a suit can be fascinating. Art explores the human condition, so however you choose to photograph your models (and whether you are a model as well as the photographer yourself) it’s an exercise in self-expression and ruminations on what the scene is all about.
If you decide to pursue the avenue of photographing yourself, self-portraits can be one of the most fascinating and revealing genres of art out there. This includes painting and other types of mediums, and obviously, photography. Shooting yourself about making a statement about how you view yourself in the BDSM scene can be a great way to not only express yourself creatively, but also attract like-minded women who might share in your kinks. You also don’t have to worry about getting permission to publish the photographs since they’re only of you, so what you do with them is at your full discretion.
Feel free to experiment with nudes if that’s what you’re interested in. If you’re going to post the pictures on a kinky dating site that also specializes in the subculture of the BDSM scene at large, make sure you decide how public you want to be with the pictures. If you’re shooting a self-portrait as art, chances are you’re thinking about exhibiting them in some way. Taking a selfie, for example, and posting it on the Internet to show off your new bruises you got at a recent play party isn’t quite the same as fine art. The debate about what constitutes fine art, of course, is never ending, but if you’re going to try and do a series of semi-professional photographs, you should present it as such. Make it clear, wherever you post the photos, that it’s a photography project that you want people to see. Even if it’s just self-portraits, you may attract other kinksters, whether they are individuals or couples, who also want to participate and are interested in the arts. This can also be a great way to form a community about the arts and BDSM, if that’s what you’re into.
Publicizing Your Work
Whether you’re trying to exhibit your work in a mainstream forum like a commercial gallery, catering to more specialized art organizations that are erotica friendly, or just sticking your work online, one great medium is the Internet. You can easily publish your photos to a profile on a site like BDSM.com, which has a type of “featured photo” of the day, or some other kind of content that’s highlighted. Every site is different, but due to the fact that the BDSM is a strong subculture that’s also very locally based; you’ll have a captive audience already there on the Internet once you connect with the scene that’s local to you. You can check BDSM.com rating before creating a profile there. Read BDSM Review (Find Out How This Site Ranks In Comparison) to find out whether it is a scam site or not.
Make sure you obtain the permission of the models to have any photographs they’re in to be published. If you’re shooting photography as an artist, it’s going to be less surprising to a model participating that you want to publish the photographs. You still have to get the participants to sign a release form stating that they legally consent to having the photos published. This request might come as more of a shock to a woman you’re individually involved with, so make sure you’re up front about the fact you want to post the photos for other people to see if that’s your intention.