Blog / 2013 / The Fetish Photo Shoot

October 17, 2013

In September, I traveled to the east coast to speak about art and science, to meet with clients, and to interview subjects for my upcoming series of portraits, which explores the way we minimize or emphasize perceived disadvantages in order to navigate mainstream culture.

And since two of the participants in that series are fetishists, the interview included following them on a photo-shoot.

putting on makeup in the car

On the drive out to the location, Mistress Clarissa perfected her makeup.

fetish photo shoot

The shoot took place in a picturesque rundown building outside of New York.

fetish photo shoot

While Clarissa and Thrash got into costume, I explored the site.

rundown old building

I love the character and depth of decaying things, so this adventure was inspiring.

spray paint

This particular color combinations is one of my very favorites.

fetish photo shoot

I was not the official photographer of the shoot and neither was Clarissa, although she did take a lot of her own pictures.

fetish photo shoot

That said, even among my photos, there are lots of images that I’m not going to share here.


These document things that are not a part of my everyday world but which I’m very glad to have seen.


I learned a lot by taking a day to explore this other way of being, and by talking with Clarissa and Thrash later I learned more still.

fetish photo shoot

They explained to me the healing power of fetish. They told me that, when people turn to a dominatrix for humiliation, for example, it may be a search for an antivenom.

fetish photo shoot

They may have been degraded and abused in the past in a similar fashion, and they may wish to relive the experience but this time they want do it differently. They want to prove to themselves that they can withstand it. They want to do it with someone who cares about them instead of with someone who wishes only to hurt. They want to be in control of the situation.

fetish photo shoot

Described that way, fetish is not only understandable but also something that applies to so many aspects of human behavior and to my own life.


June 14, 2017

The paintings of Clarissa and Thrash are part of Empathetic Magic, and you can see them here!

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