for the website Ms. Samantha
I am sure you get asked this a lot but when did you realize you had a passion for photography and were you always drawn to erotic work ?
I started taking pictures when I was a young teenager mainly because I was used to watch lot of movies and I have always been impressed by some scenes, composition or angles. We were in the 80’s and I lived the best years of the revolution brought by personal computers … mixing the two cultures, my mind became focused on the power of image. I always got a taste for kinky ideas but my taste for nice things made me prefer erotism to porn. The walls of my bedroom were full of sexy pictures (classy nudes in B&W) but I never thought this could be my work one day. Later, I did lot shots of the girl I loved when I was 20 and I liked it. However, I stopped shooting because as a student, I didn’t have enough money to pay the fees of this passion for photography. After this, I got a serious job for eight years in the edition & print industry. I needed to find a way to relax during my week-end : when we got access to the internet in France, everything changed … no need to buy kinky books in a sex shop anymore, I was able to watch fetish pictures on my screen in few clicks. It helped me to increase my taste for bondage and I got the desire to make my own pics. I had to wait the digital revolution : when the first bridges appeared on the market, I bought one of those expensive cameras and organized everything to do my own erotic pictures. I had no experience, only my passion.
What, in your view, was your first major success as an erotic photographer ?
It depends about the point of view. I could say there are several ways of success. It wasn’t easy to find girls modeling for fetish pictures when I started in year 2000. It was nice to please these models and help them to discover the BDSM universe. I also got the chance to create the first european website dedicated to bondage in the early years of the internet. My photography is known all around the world and I often read comments like “oh dude, I love your work for years” or “you helped me to explore my fantasies” … there is no major success, just the pleasure to live and share my passion with some people I know or I will never meet. That’s a nice feeling to think I don’t live a common life even if that’s not always a fairy tale !
What excites you most about working on your projects and do you continually want to push your artistic boundaries ?
That’s not an easy question for me because I am not enthusiastic anymore about my work. I learnt one thing after all these years : even if your work is incredible, one day, this amazing thing became a job you do to pay the bills. I don’t say that’s bad, I just say it changes your feeling about the situation. Years ago, I was excited to do a bondage position I never tried before. I was also happy to shoot a new model or dress her with a beautiful latex outfit. But after 13 years of fetish photography, I did so many things than the magic part is gone. I know what I do. I do it well. But I lived and explored lot of situations … so I need something very special to excite my mind. Photography isn’t easy because you need to deal with lot of parameters. And there are a lot of things you can’t change, even more with bondage photography. I live in Paris, France and I did more than 300 shooting days in my small house. I work alone and I have a lot of things to do … no question to take the car and drive 500 miles to shoot on a beach. My work is limited by material things and social limits : it doesn’t simplify the equation and I am this kind of guy who thinks too much ! Anyway, I try to continue my exploration of human desires and that’s what I love. Ropes are beautiful. I love to create complicated boundaries. But I also try to catch something else. I am fascinated by the thoughts of the bound girl and I try to capture it through her attitude. I do a lot of portrait pictures even when my models are strictly tied : that’s because I want to catch and show the truth, the natural beauty of a situation. Because small details are often the most important things we love about a picture.
Where does your photographic skill set come from ? Are you self taught ?
I didn’t learn photography in the books … I spent a lot of time doing average pictures, fighting with my lights or the camera. But that’s what I did all my life, first with computers, later with desktop publishing before to focus my time on photography. I had to learn, try and understand everything about the shooting sessions and that was the hard part. Working on the photoshop editing and web publishing has been easier because of my experience in the print industry. Beyond the technical aspect, I also learnt how to manage models during a photo session and that’s something important to get better pictures. Self taught is one word which defines me. I love to understand and find the solution alone … that’s also what I did with ropes, years after years, I found the right way to build nice ropeworks. It’s just a matter of time … after several failures, I started to do better things.
How do you source models for your works and what overall qualities do you look for in a nude model ?
As I said previously, it wasn’t easy to find french models for my work in the early years of Captive Culture. Then, my reputation helped to get new girls : I am serious and everybody knows it’s safe to shoot with me : most of my models have been sent by others. If you are a woman modeling for a photographer who is reliable, you don’t hesitate to speak about him to your friends. That’s how I got the chance to meet 75% of my models. After all these years, I regularly receive emails for shooting but I am not easy to catch. I don’t like the idea to shoot lot of women : that’s what I did in the first years because I was scheduling a new session every saturday. But nowadays, I only shoot few times a year and I work differently. I always liked to do several photo sessions with the same model : time is needed to get a nice work … bondage photography is different from artistic nude, that’s not only click and shoot. No, when you want to make a girl comfortable with the idea of being totally helpless in ropes, you need time. She has to get the time to be relax before being bound and naked in front of the lens. Of course, limits changes for each girl, but time is always a good way to build a better collaboration. One quality ? The most important … being excited about the unique feeling of strict bondage. You can shoot a beautiful woman, you won’t get the best pics if she doesn’t appreciate the situation.
Does working within the industry of erotica affect your personal relationships on any level ?
When I took the way of adult industry, I have been transparent. I explained the main lines to my friends & family. They know the kind of pictures I do and I never thought it would be a problem. I was wrong … I noticed some of my friends were not comfortable with it. It’s not easy to say your friend is an erotic photographer to your wife (just an example) or you can misunderstand what a photo session is. In one word, I lost several friends. I often say this job is a social killer : you don’t work on a regular basis, you often shoot during the week-ends, you have nothing to say during lunch time or if you start to speak, what you say isn’t appropriate to the place or audience. That’s natural : when I was working in a serious job, I was probably a little bit boring speaking about my work. Now my activity is kinky and out of the norm, my speech is different. If I start to talk about bondage at the restaurant, most of the people are amazed or uncomfortable : for me, that’s just the daily routine.
Since your career began, do you feel that nude and fetish photography has become more acceptable as a form of art and how would you like to see it progress ?
That’s true the society changed. I noticed it with models. There are a lot of girls who wants to be bound nowadays. We also have a lot of photographers. Everywhere. Some are very talented. Some others are doing bad stuff. I am not a specialist about nude photography but the fetish universe changed a lot … and not in the right way. When I started shooting, I was inspired by the few people shooting fetish pictures and glamour bondage. We were passionate people sharing the same philosophy and desire to break the rules : we changed the fetish universe which became more and more popular. Maybe too popular … I know a lot of people who don’t love what they do. They just think it’s a good way to be known. But we speak about the artistic part, not the industry. Industry changed a lot : when I started, there is a place for soft pictures, bound girls with clothes. Now, the situation changed. Maybe because we are also used to watch more and more exciting scenes. All the things we love aren’t underground anymore and the people wants more. At the result, porn entered the fetish niche and killed lot of small producers who were there since the beginning of internet. Today, people wants to watch explicit content and the “old school” slowly disappears. That’s difficult to propose elegant and erotic photography when the audience waits for hardcore situation. No need to mention illegal sharing slightly changed the balance of power too. If you are a big company making lot of dollars, you can deal with the piracy. independent producers are not able to propose enough fresh content to survive. It’s a never-ending run : that’s why some sites closed even if they were popular.
Are there any genres of erotic photography that you feel you would never experiment with ?
I only shoot things I like. That’s why I only photography women. I almost stopped to shoot latex stuff because I prefer to focus my work on bondage and domination. That’s the thing I’ve always liked and the domain where I am good. I know to show the power exchange in BDSM games … and I think it’s essential to focus on the best sides of my work, not the weak ones.
Do you have any favourite artists or erotic piece yourself ?
I like the work of lot of artists … too many talented people to do a list. One sure thing is I have a deep respect for the memory of Cory Thompson who was a man like me. Someone who loved bondage and lived his passion. It helped me to increase my taste for bound girls before I started shooting my own pictures. He created a new way for fetish photography on the internet and I never got the chance to meet him. His death has been a real lose for bondage lovers around the world. I know a lot of people forgot his work nowadays.
What do you do to relax when not working on new projects ?
Before I was working all the time … since almost two years, I share my time between Captive Culture and my lovely slave Faustine. She’s the one I love and she helps me to explore things I never explored with my models. And she also takes benefit from the experience I got from all these years binding and spanking girls. Of course, I still watch movies and play video games. My mind is younger than my body !
What lies on the horizon for Jerome and where can my members find more of your work ?
I invite your readers to visit my blog at ilovefrenchgirls.com to discover both sides of my work : Captive Culture and Latex Culture. I still post lot of free pictures on my blogs and I hope it will help some people to love the fetish universe through a human adventure : mine. Thank you for these questions … I hope my answers were not too boring !