I’ve just updated my gallery area and split them into Bondage and Erotica, let me know your thoughts please.
Update 18:10 24/11/2013 – The gallery is back and working, but still WIP
I’m updating and changing the gallery on the blog so it will be offline for a while – apologies for the inconvenience.
Awarded the Special Achievement Award 2013
I’ve been awarded the Special Achievement Award by JADE magazine. As a previous winner of their prestigious Erotic Artist of the Year award in 2010 this is a wonderful honour and surprise. Below is an extract from the latest edition of JADE, volume 12, issue 108, November 2013.
So far 2013 has been a great year for me, I’ve achieved my Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society which was a great honour and ultimately enjoyable experience, I say ultimately as it was hard graft and involved a lot of deep thinking, never a good thing!
I’ve exhibited my work at more exhibitions this year than I ever have, and managed to secure some exclusive display areas and partnerships that I’m very proud to work with.
I also launched my own member’s pay-to-view website www.Erotica-Babes.com which features more explicit video and stills content which is 100% exclusive and all shot, filmed and edited by me.
Well it’s more of the same in as much as I will be continuing to do what I do best from an artistic and creative perspective with my photography and cinematography. Work with new and existing models to push boundaries and explore new creative ideas.
Market and promote my work to expand my audience whilst acknowledging and responding to my current customer base and loyal collectors of my work.
Writer and journalist Aoife Brennan has just published on her blog an interview I gave her after we met at Erotica 2013.
I’ve just had an interview I gave with journalist Aoife Brennan published. I met and chatted to her at Erotica 2013. Below is the link to the article, however I’ve also published it in full below just in case the article disappears. I supplied many more images, but they were obviously a little too racy for Ireland.
Is it mostly women that you photograph?
Yes, almost 98% of my work is photographing women – some couples want the odd one or two shots together, but it is mainly the female who spends most of the time in front of the camera.
Do you process ‘real’ pictures or photoshop them as many magazines do?
I do very little photoshop, I don’t see the benefit of producing images that don’t look anything like the person. Through good lighting, careful posing and clothing choice you can hide areas you don’t want to see, and emphasis those areas that do want to be seen.
How do you make your clients relax?
I play music during a shoot which helps to give a good background atmosphere. I chat to them about the session, the types of shots we are going to do and what they want to get out of the session. Most often I state that “…it’s quite normal to be nervous, but after about 30 mins you will relax and start to enjoy the session. I want you to enjoy the photo shoot session and much as the photographs that come as a result of the session.”
Do the partners attend the shoot?
Most of the times, I do encourage them to attend if they want to. Some do, some don’t. I find it helps having them there as they often throw in ideas, poses they like and generally help to relax their partner. I show the images on the back of the camera as we go along and the positive comments the partner gives helps to reassure the other person.
How did you first get into fetish photography?
I began shooting glamour when I first started studio photography but it never really appealed to me, there was too much light and no shadow play. I developed my style through trial and error over a year or so. I got into shooting latex and then it progressed from there into bondage, restraints and other accessories. There are so many types of fetish that it does give a wide choice of interesting and visually appealing props and accessories. Obviously some people are not into those types of things, so I do vanilla sessions too, but still keep the edgy shadowing lighting as that’s my preferred lighting style.
Did it excite you or were you neutral at the beginning?
I don’t practise bondage or fetish as a lifestyle choice and I don’t get turned on or excited during a shoot. Well that’s not quite true, I do get excited when we get a super shot and have nailed a pose that really looks awesome. But as far as physically getting turned on I don’t, I find that when you have a camera between you and the subject looking through the viewfinder I’m concentrating on catering angles, shapes, textures and form.
You also video couples – is there a fine line between art and porn?
That’s a difficult one; I guess there is no definitive answer to this, there’s an old adage that ‘one man’s porn is another man’s art’. However, I do believe that how a scene is lit and the intention and viewpoint of the video’s storyline can position the final video either into a porn category or an artistic one.
When did you learn to tie ropes?
I learnt my ropes from a fellow photographer and Dom called Rod. It took me a while to choose someone who would help me to learn the art of suspension and Shibari but purely from an artistic point of view rather than as a lifestyle approach. From a photographic aspect there is the consideration of speed and looks of the final tie to consider, so I wanted a tutor who was a photographer as they would understand where I was coming from.
You now do full suspension – how long does it take, what does it involve and how much do you charge?
A full suspension can take some time to do, it’s about 15-20 minutes to tie and suspend depending on the complexity of the tie and the number of points on the body you are suspending someone by.
You have to be careful and assess each person before considering to suspend them. A person’s physical safety is the most important thing, you don’t want to damage someone’s nerves, either temporarily or permanently, or worse dislocate a joint.
I don’t have many private commission customers who want to be suspended, I will often do floor work with them and ties that are less stressful on the body. It is mainly models who I do full suspension work with as they tend to be physically fit and have toned and stronger bodies that can take the strain from the ropes during suspension.
Each person is different and has different tolerances, I’ve had models who could be suspended all day with no ill effects and they tend to zone out and go into their own sub-space. Whereas another model using the same tie and suspension method will want to be let down after five minutes, there’s no rules or standard guidelines when it comes to working with people – we are all different.
What do you now like about bondage?
I like how the ropes look visually, I tie mainly using Jute which is a natural woven fibre and when it is lit you get super shadows and texture. I love the way the rope becomes one with the body, a good tie means the person is temporarily restricted and has to change the way they pose or position their body, it makes them think a little differently as they move from one pose to another as they can’t use the same limb they would normally use if it’s part of a tie. I also like how the rope acts as a counterpart to the smooth skin, giving a rough more textured contrast, a good tie pushes and moves the flesh in a way that produces curves and interest.
Tell me about the temporary tattoos?
After the ropes have been removed and depending on the type of rope used and how consistent the pressure was of those ropes, the skin is left with a temporary rope mark, like a temporary tattoo. A well tied piece of bondage will have consistent pressure of the ropes onto the skin so if you have wrapped rope four times around a limb, when you remove that rope you should have four rows of rope marks clearly visible on the skin. Depending on the skin type and elasticity of the skin the marks can last for 30 minutes to a couple of hours.
Have you ever been tied up?
No I’ve not, it’s not the sort of thing that appeals to me to be honest, I prefer to do the rigging.
Do you take pictures of your partner?
No, Jill believes she is not photogenic, so she looks a bit like a rabbit in the headlights. I don’t force her as she would not be a willing volunteer and that would show in the final image.
Models are sometime much under-valued by people outside the industry, a full time professional model is just that, a professional. They know what poses, looks and styles make them look at their best, they have a large selection of poses that they can pull from and they have the physical flexibility and core strength to pose all day without any ill-effects.
Many of my private customer’s feel a new respect for models after they have done a boudoir shoot as they have a few minor aches and twinges from the poses and positions they have got into during the session.
Tell me some of the funny aspects of fetish photography?
In the summer months many models often arrive wearing short crop tops and a pair of shorts and quite often travel by train. After a bondage session they will then leave with loads of temporary rope marks on their exposed skin and they forget that they will have to sit on a crowded train, while others view and consider where and what those marks are!
John’s private commissioned boudoir sessions cost £350 for the session, this includes a £200 credit towards product.
Erotica 2013 – Tobacco Docks, London
Erotica 2012 was cancelled and when the 2013 dates were announced a new venue was also chosen to host the event. Olympia had been the previous venue and had perhaps been getting a little too large because the show in recent years had started to reduce in size. My first Erotica event was in 2007 and I’d booked every year since, so it seemed strange to not exhibit in 2012.
The new venue certainly looked good-looking at the picture on their website, but would it be any good for Erotica? I normally booked for the following year whilst still at the previous show, this also gave exhibitors a discount on the pitch prices. For 2013 the prices had gone up and any discounts had been removed. With this in mind I decided to book a 7 metre linear pitch in the art gallery area, since in previous years I’d always gone with 10 linear metres. Because this was a new venue and I was not sure how people would take to it and the price per linear metre had risen to £180 ex VAT per linear metre I decided to cut my exposure to risk by reducing the linear metreage.
I found the parking and unloading so much easier than in Olympia, I parked the car in the car park and used a trolley to move my stock between the car and venue, very easy indeed. At Olympia you had to park in the road, unload no matter what the weather was doing, trolley in past commuters and then go back to move your car into the car park. This had to be done in reverse at the end of the show.
Below are some 7 second Vine videos of my stand, setting up and various shots I took over the weekend.
For me the show was a great success in many ways, I met many of my customers and friends and it was good to catch up with them and chat about what they had done and how their print collections were building. I met many new customers and had loads of enquiries, so I’m pleased I took the plunge and booked. The Art Gallery area was certainly smaller than in previous years and hopefully in 2014 it will have a few more artists to decided like me to take the risk and book.
Erotica 2014 3-5th October, Tobacco Docks, London.
Angel Long has just written a blog about our recent shoot. I thought you would like to read it, so here’s the link to her blog:
How I hang my artwork
Today I went to The Strand Gallery, London, WC2N 6BP to hang my artwork for an exhibition starting tomorrow 1st October 2013 which runs until 12th October 2013.
I thought that some people may find the following ‘how-to’ article useful on how I approached hanging my work.
Having decided what images I was going to display I then needed to consider whether I was going to do an open series of prints or a limited edition run. I thought that because it was a gallery display that a limited edition range would be a better option and I limited the print run to 5 prints per image. Small run limited edition prints hold more value, however they need to well presented and framed to make sure that the purchaser feels they have purchased something a bit special and strictly limited.
I asked my framer to frame them for me, as he does a better job that I ever would do. Framing is a key stage as images that are poorly framed or don’t have enough space to breath within the frame will put potential customers off. The frame choice needs to be one that is not too ornate and of a colour that will blend or match with most decor. White mount board and a black frame meet these criteria perfectly and will blend with almost all other colours.
Whilst the prints were getting framed I made up the certificates of authenticity and the price labels as well as a biography for the wall.
Hanging the work
I have paid for a 3 metre run to hang my work. The biggest mistake many people make is to overfill the wall with art and not give it enough space to breath. Then there’s the look of the overall display, is should look balanced so you need to consider how you are going to hang your pieces or work, in which order and how they will be spaced along the wall. I had 8 pieces, so I did laid each piece of work against the wall in the order I wanted them to appear.
I measured up when I arrived and I found I had 3750mm to play with, so slightly more than I ordered – perfect. I then hammered two nails, one at either side of my run and attached a piece of string horizontally between the two nails to act as a level, I put this about eye level. I then added together the width of each piece of artwork and then took that total away from my overall dimension. I then divided that figure by the number of pieces of work to calculate the gap between each piece. You can see my workings out below. I had 143mm between each piece of work, based on having 5 vertical lines of art, see pictures below.
Next step was to find the middle of the wall, which was 1875mm and mark that on the string. From there it was a simple task of marking the width of each print together with the 143mm gap between each one along the string. Because I had 5 vertical rows of prints I started from the middle and worked outwards. To hang the prints I use picture hooks and nails, these are very good as the nails go in at an angle and support the weight of the frames. I used the ones with two pins, and to make doubly sure, use two hooks per picture. This has the added benefit of stopping the frames from tilting and sitting unevenly on the wall which means you don’t have to continually keep straightening them!
Work in progress below, starting from the middle and working outwards. You can see the double picture hook hanging method to the right of the image below.
Here’s a quick 7 second video of the finished display.
I have had a few requests to see the bondage work I did with pregnant models and although most of the shots are in earlier blog posts I thought it was worth pulling them all together into a single post to make them easier to find. I’ve also added an image that whilst is not strictly bondage, it does have some pegs and a wrist-cage which I really like.
Is it dangerous to the baby and mother?
A few people have commented on images I have posted concerned that it was dangerous for the mother and baby. Bondage should always be done with feedback from the model, the ropes were no tighter than an elasticated waistband. Model safety comes first, I’ve done a few bondage pregnancy shoots now and all mothers and babies have gone on to have natural and uncomplicated births with healthy newborns.
Working with a pornstar
I photographed Angel Long last weekend shooting for my portfolio content and for my pay-to-view website www.Erotica-Babes.com which contains more explicit content. Angel is a well-known pornstar and she was great to work with, easy-going and very hot when the camera is turned on her. She is very experienced not only in terms of modelling, but also in producing content. It was good opportunity to work with someone who also produces their own content and we had some great conversations about generating ideas, how we did things and our differing approaches. I feel we learnt things from each as well as taking some great images.
I thought you might like to see some of the images we shot over the weekend and unusually I’ve included both outputs; e.g. those destined for print sales on www.johntisbury.co.uk and those which will be uploaded to www.Erotica-Babes.com. Why include both? Well I thought you might like to see the style and approach for my more explicit work, although the samples below are not that explicit, I chose the more tame versions to include in this post. You will see that I use slightly more light and shoot mostly in colour, so there is a difference in style, however I hope you can still see my underlying lighting approach and I aim to light the models to the same high standard as my normal erotic content.