for the website Wear Latex
Anybody who was around during the early days of latex fetish photography on the web will surely remember two websites: Captive Culture and Latex Culture. Owned and managed by Jerome Duplessis, these sites offered a mixture of free galleries and membership-only content, all of which were shot by Jerome himself. At their height, they were popular enough to become his full-time work. Captive Culture ran from 2000-2016, and Latex Culture from 2003-2016. Both featured amateur French models discovering fetishism, and the ingredients in this heady cocktail were pin-up glamour, bondage, playfulness, light SM, soft nudity, and latex. Since wrapping up his member sites in 2016, Jerome keeps his photography available in archive form at his blog. All downloads are made available free, with updates several times per month. Jerome was kind enough to speak to us about his websites and experiences in fetish photography.
Would you like to bring us up to speed and tell us what Jerome Duplessis is up to these days ?
Unfortunately, I don’t do anything special nowadays. I got cancer 5 years ago and still have to deal with several health issues which changed my daily life drastically. I only take care of my blog and slowly bring back my archives online after the shutdown of my websites in 2016.
Captive Culture and Latex Culture … what did these projects mean to you, and what made them unique ?
I usually say those projects were a human adventure because it was one for me and my models too. I started Captive Culture in 2000 to create my own fetish images. I had no experience, left my job and dug into this universe. I worked on my websites for more than 15 years … those places were like babies I started from scratch and built step after step.
Captive Culture was your first site and Latex Culture was an offshoot. What motivated you to create a separate site dedicated to latex ?
The Internet was still evolving and a lot of small producers like me used to run several websites. For my part, I decided to launch Latex Culture because some of my viewers were more interested in the latex fetish universe. During the early years, I was trying to mix my taste for BDSM and latex but I understood that some people didn’t want to see bondage images. That’s why I started to split my productions adding exclusive content on every website.
Before shooting with you, many models said they wished to try latex. Why was this such a popular request … and how did the latex live up to their expectations ?
At the beginning of this century, latex fetish wasn’t so popular. We had some specific magazines and websites to spread our philosophy but it was still confidential, I would even say underground. Beyond the fetish icons we all know today, the love of latex clothing was more like a fantasy for most people. In the early years of my photographer life, almost all my models discovered the unique feeling of being dressed in latex through my photo sessions. Even when they didn’t know about it beforehand, they became curious about latex because I used to show my pictures when meeting them. Some of those models really enjoyed the experience. I noticed a change and evolution through the years. In the middle of the decade, a new generation of women started to model. They had already seen pics or vids focused on the latex fetish and wanted to discover it. My collection of latex outfits was like a dream for them when they came to my home for shooting … the world of models was small at this period and I was known to propose the finest fetish outfits so, sometimes, their first idea was to shoot with me for the pleasure of wearing latex for the first time in front of my camera.
Is it true that some models were so enamoured with latex that they desired their own items of latex clothing after shooting with you ?
Yes, it happened. Most of the girls only enjoyed wearing latex for shoots, but some of them got a crush for this unique feeling. They started to buy their own clothes. Sometimes they ordered it through me to get the best price and quality. Because France was late to fetish clothing, I started to buy my latex in the UK in 2001. I remember my first time at House of Harlot. I went to London with Greta, my first muse, and we visited their office. They didn’t have their shop yet, only one corner of the room as a showroom. It was amazing for us even more because Robin Archer, the creator, made a nurse outfit during the afternoon and brought it to us at the hotel before our departure. As I said, the world of latex fetish was really different at this period, it wasn’t so popular and we were passionate people sharing the same passion. After this, I never stopped ordering my outfits in the UK and had the pleasure to work with several designers like Libidex, Breathless, TG clothing, Jane Doe Latex and, of course, House of Harlot who made many outfits for me including the straitjacket catsuit that we made together and which has been one of the best ideas I got.
Although Latex Culture was separate, there were still many bondage influences carried over from Captive Culture. In the fetish world, latex and bondage often have considerable overlap. Why do you think they make such good bedfellows ?
I started to love bondage and latex a long time ago … for me, the two universes are exciting to mix. If you are interested in BDSM imagery, there are some items you must have. Is there anything better than a latex hood for a submissive ? I think heavy rubber and breathplay games are deeply linked to those games we love to explore through bondage and domination. So, for some people like me, this influence and relation is natural. You can explore your deepest fantasies like this. Of course, latex fashion can be totally disconnected from this darker side but, if you remember well, some productions made us fantasize more than 20 years ago … do you remember the fetish videos produced by GwenMedia and the Ivy Manor movies ? It was already the perfect mix between bondage and latex.
Latex is equally suited to those in a dominant role as well as those in a submissive role, and indeed you show both these sides of latex in your photos, often in the same scene. What do you think is the special quality of latex that makes it perfect for this dual role of total opposites ?
I tried to show our love for latex first. I always liked to see a woman dressed like this and, yes, both of those roles are good to explore. Of course, the outfit will be different for each side but the two partners should feel that unique feeling of latex clothing. For the dominant, this outfit is made to magnify her beauty and power. On the opposite side, you can bring more restraint to the submissive and/or expose her body by playing with semi-transparent latex. For me, the use of latex for bondage and domination isn’t the only way but one of the most beautiful. It brings something more intense to the scene because there are many possibilities to explore.
One of the things I enjoy a lot about your blog is that each gallery or video is accompanied by your recollections of the shoot. It somehow makes the shoot more “real” … that I’m less detached from your photography as a result.
Before becoming a photographer, I wanted to be a writer … there is nothing more powerful than words. As I said previously, this adventure was real for the people behind my pictures. I like to outline the context of my sessions, commenting what happened during or beyond the pics or vids … the blog is a nice way to do it even if that’s not perfect. I don’t write natural English and I also know only a few people appreciate reading those details. But I prefer to add this human dimension to my blog for the ones who care about my work or model. Her experience was important to me and I always tried to share a positive philosophy about the games we explored together. Too many people forget the model is human and lived the situation for real. It’s not always so easy as clicking on a camera button … so, for me, it’s important to mention it, like in a book, you don’t only describe an action, the most important is also the feelings of your character.
Over the years, your ropework improved and evolved and there was a time when you were even teaching shibari to others. You are the perfect person to ask : how do rope and latex combine, and what should the rigger be mindful of ?
I mixed ropes and latex several times. In my point of view, the idea is great but you have to deal with some limitations. As a producer, I stopped using natural ropes like jute or hemp with latex because you get a fluffy outfit in the end. You can also damage it. Because I was a glamour bondage lover and rigger, I also tested mixing shiny clothes with nylon ropes: the result looks nice but the ropes slowly move on the slippery latex. So, that’s okay for some positions like hogtie but I consider it too tricky for complicated rope work. In my opinion, it’s better to use rubber or leather straps to immobilize your partner in latex. My suggestion ? A latex straitjacket! That’s nice, easy and efficient.
You have mentioned the difficulties of shooting latex in public. Is this due to the attitudes at the time (early 00s) or technical or artistic reasons ?
Indeed, shooting latex outdoors is something I loved to do but it was so complicated. For several reasons. First, as I said, latex wasn’t so popular as later and we were anxious about meeting people who would associate it with porn or erotic shooting. Second, I live in the suburbs of Paris and it’s difficult to find a quiet place to shoot more than a few pics. When you need to move a suitcase full of clothes plus your camera bag, you need to be productive, even more when you hire a photo model and ask a friend to come for security purposes. Because I was doing all the production work alone except for the shootings, I didn’t have a lot of free time. I used to publish photo series with 50 or 100 pictures and I was thinking like a producer, not an artist. So, that’s true I did fewer outdoor sessions than expected and that’s a regret. We got the chance to take some nice pics in south France but we got bad weather. I have the feeling studio photography is less difficult than outdoor sessions, or maybe I don’t have enough experience to feel relaxed in this situation. We did one photo series in Barcelona, near the port. A few minutes after we moved out from the parking lot, a car of Asian tourists came and they started to move around my model and take some pics. They were friendly but as a producer, you always try to minimize the risk for your model. She’s not your girlfriend and it’s better to avoid any conflict with someone watching you. I think things would have been different if I moved to another country but my place was in France for family reasons. I had a lot of connections overseas and that’s a fact I didn’t exploit. That’s a regret. I spent too much time behind my computer to manage the websites instead of shooting more content. Now that’s behind me, I realize my mistakes. I didn’t take the time to live my passion enough, I worked too much and that’s the same feeling about my models. I was too worried about production and didn’t take enough time for them. That’s life, we all have some regrets.
Is there anything else you can share about the difficulties (or joys) of shooting latex … perhaps tips for the budding photographer ?
Shooting latex is easy … you just need a nice girl able to model in front of the camera. It’s more difficult if she’s alone in a photo studio. Better if there is a partner to play with. Today, I think that it’s not so hard to do latex shooting because there are many models and places you can rent for a day. If you have a nice location or background to shoot, any photographer is able to create some good pictures, even more with the evolution of digital photography. You just need to prepare your session and think about the logistics before being focused on photography when the model is ready to go. Then, follow your instinct and the mood of your partner …
What percentage of your output do you think is archived on your blog, and do you plan to keep updating for the foreseeable future ?
I would say 30% of my archives are currently available on my blog … mainly my best pics & vids. I still have some which are ready to be posted. I just need to prepare the files and write my commentary to bring it back online. If I could, I would like to post more but that’s not so easy. Because I started in 2000, the quality of my images changed. I did better pictures but the digital revolution allowed us to capture and share more pixels. That’s why I remastered my best photo series for my members a long time ago. But I also have some pics & vids in low resolution and it’s difficult for me to post those archives like this. I have always been picky about my work and I always tried to propose something nice to watch. Because the standard of photography changed, I doubt posting my old series would be interesting, except for the pleasure to see pics of those lovely models I worked with. Sometimes, I have the desire to start my old computer to edit all those pictures again. I still have the original files (almost, I lost a few sessions) then I could do it again. But it would require a lot of time and work again … it would be maybe too much for a guy fighting with his health issues including one blurry eye. When I started the blog, I wanted to repost my best-of only. I will probably post some oldies which are good enough but they will be in another category. I have thought about it for a while but it requires more work to be organized.
In 2013, you answered in another interview that you had become less enthusiastic towards photography since it had changed from a hobby to a way of paying the bills. How did the business element alter your attitude to your photography ?
That’s true. When I met the woman who became my wife in 2011, I understood how my state of mind changed through the years. We lived our passion totally and I have been able to explore my taste for a kinky lifestyle. I did a lot of things before but it was more intense with her because there was a sexual dimension and exchange. When I was working with my models, the professional mode was activated. I always tried to keep a distance between them and me, even if there was a special link with the ones who inspired me a lot. It’s difficult to explain why but there was a limit that I didn’t want to cross. I know this distance has been a problem for some of my models because they were giving a lot to me through the camera. I have always been worried they would face questions regarding the work they did for me and their level of exposure. I didn’t start my websites for the business but money was needed to produce more content and pay my taxes related to the company. I worked following my principles mainly with amateur models who wanted to do something other than earning cash. I also said “no” to some opportunities because they were bad on the human side. A long time ago, one agency located in eastern Europe proposed to me some models: they wanted to drive them in a mini-van to Paris without any meeting first. I got the feeling it would break my principles because I had no idea who those girls were and if everything was legal. As explained, I had some limits that I didn’t want to break. In one word, money is the problem when you have principles. I always tried to find the right balance between the production needs and my model’s limits … the internet changed through the years and our audience required more than tickling or latex fantasies. We followed that path and we started to shoot more duo sessions with french kisses or using the magic wand vibrator for some bondage situations. It was more sensual than erotic, there was no penetration but we were far away from pin-up photography. I have been the witness of this evolution for my models. I had the pleasure to make them discover a lot of nice things they loved to explore. But, like I had to deal with my production fees, they also had to expose themselves more than expected. I mean, the life of a model is a never-ending evolution: most of them are shy in the beginning, they discover how to seduce the lens, they start to love it and each session is another way to live something better and stronger. That’s like a drug … you want more until the dream becomes less comfortable because you broke your own limits. That’s the point of my long explanation: I have always let the girls decide. As a producer, I was regularly proposing new games but they had to choose what to do or not. The problem with money is, sometimes, your model has the feeling she has to do more. And that’s exactly what I tried to avoid: I didn’t want to see a girl having regrets later. That situation is incompatible with my principles and philosophy. Sometimes, the models also want to please the photographer because she has a strange feeling for him. For my part, I decided to solve this issue one day. I stopped giving money to my models, except the ones who were already being paid. And when those paid models stopped modelling, I only got TFP collaborations (TFP means Trade For Pictures). This way, I minimized the risk because I know that some models have difficulties managing their exposure when they stop their modelling life. When you talk to one of them later, that’s something you don’t like to hear.
We are almost on psychological questions but that’s something I also like to explore. I didn’t use the term “human adventure” for nothing and I apologize for being so long to answer. It’s so important to think about the human in front of your lens. I used to regularly check the mood of my models during or after the session. But sometimes, you don’t catch their feeling. That’s why communication is essential. One day, we shot a video showing a girl playing my submissive pet. I don’t even remember how the scene was but my model wasn’t comfortable with this situation. After the session, we talked together and she told me something which made me understand that she would regret it. I solved the problem and explained to her that this video wouldn’t be published. It wasn’t a big deal for me: she could forget about it and stop being worried about the impact of this video on her real life. And, yes, she was thinking about how her fetish party friends would react or what the other models would say watching the video. Unfortunately, the scene has always suffered from gossip and jealousy. That’s why I censored that video: the most important thing was to keep her away from this bad feeling and continue to work together. Unfortunately, sometimes, the girl doesn’t talk. Personally, I became less enthusiastic because I simply did too many sessions. I did one shooting every week for almost 10 years and it slowly killed my creativity. I needed to take a break and it happened. For one good reason first, my love, and the bad one, my health issues. Nowadays, I miss the good old times, especially the atmosphere of our sessions.
Now that it’s no longer your occupation, have your feelings about photography changed once more ? Do you ever pick up the camera nowadays ?
I would like to take up my camera again but, for now, that’s only a desire. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not … the world changed and me too. I would need another muse to stimulate my mind but I don’t want to come back and experience a failure. It shouldn’t be a copy of my past but another adventure. I got the chance to meet some lovely girls and we lived it as a reciprocal exchange. That’s priceless and pretty unpredictable !
Thank you for your work over the years, it had a formative role in my interest in latex, and thank you for keeping the archives alive. I hope the best for you and any project you may devote yourself to in the future. And of course, thanks for taking part!
Many thanks. I am always happy to share my experience about fetish photography. If you liked this interview and my philosophy, feel free to visit my blog at ilovefrenchgirls.com and don’t hesitate to contact me !