I did, though, learn very early that I hate studios – fluorescent lights and a blank backdrop that takes away from the image and its surroundings. I favor a darker, more intimate style of photography. I learned to use a low-light camera and tailored my equipment to that style so I could shoot anytime, even in the middle of the night, with minimal lighting. My style is about connection: the creative communication between model and photographer.
I love shooting in nature. I’ll shoot on the Strip any day. It’s an incomparable experience. Having random people around, letting the model show her skill, ability, and confidence in the space in front of everyone is amazing to me. I want my photography to be a co-creation with my models.
My time in the rope and kink community and the intimacy of the subject matter drew me to fetish and boudoir. I don’t call what I do “kink” photography. Kink is the action, and fetish is the idea. You can shoot a scene between two people, but you won’t feel what’s truly happening. The photos taken of me while I’m playing certainly don’t represent the actual connection between me and my play partner. Fetish photography shows everything that’s there. With rope, it shows the body harness. It shows how the model feels in it. How they can move and flow in it. If kink is sports photography, then fetish and boudoir are portraiture.
Boudoir shows a representation of you in a more seductive or sexual manner. It’s the personal, romantic, sensual moments—the beauty of the client’s body. Making you feel like the sexiest, most badass person alive and appreciating that. I love having a model’s partner there for the shoot. It’s a big, fun experience for everyone. It is amazing to get those pictures of the partner helping their person get dressed in a more complicated lingerie piece or picking out shoes. It’s that real moment of connection—the appreciation of the act.
Communication is priority number one in a shoot to create the safety and energy for great photos. I need to know what someone wants, and what the intention of the imagery is. There are lots and lots of conversations between models and myself. There needs to be comfort and mutual respect. For example, one of my hard limits is shooting explicitly sexual acts. I shoot “pornographic” imagery, but not your standard definition of porn. I have no issue with porn or being on set for filming; I’m just not the photographer for you.
If we add rope, it’s an entirely separate set of negotiations. Any kink act is. Are they comfortable in a suspension? Are they claustrophobic? Do they have a part of the body that they’re looking to accentuate? Do they have any injuries? I tie the same way for photography that I tie for play, though I’ll make sure the rope looks cleaner for photos. Being involved in rope and with my kink family has allowed me access to many spaces and clientele I would never have otherwise. It’s also deepened my understanding of consent and what you can play with in photos.
In the ten years I’ve been doing photography seriously, I’ve maybe had two or three photoshoots done of me. I look so much better behind the camera than in front of it. Knowing that about myself has deepened my appreciation for and amazement of the models I’m lucky to work with. My philosophies about photography and kink align in that way too. Being a good photographer means understanding how it feels on both sides of the lens. Being a good kinkster means topping and bottoming both, tying up and being tied up. Being a proud switch means seeing myself and others from every perspective I can. My kink and camera are invaluable because they help me broaden my horizons and immerse myself in my life and my people.