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Gallery > James Mogul > Photos > bondage, mostly (nudity) > nude - velvet fetish

Photographer's Request for Critique

nude fetish

testing the waters of tastful (hopefully) fetish. Are the colors overwhelming or interesting? I get a sense that the girl is ashamed to be there but consents. I think she likes it. Thoughts? James


Keith Strickland , May 01, 2001; 07:08 A.M.

I dont know? I think it appears to (Me) to have a bondage / helpless look to it. Regards Keith

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Scott Blair , May 01, 2001; 09:25 A.M.

Good. Now let's see the one she took of you where you seem to like it.

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kevin kolosky , May 01, 2001; 09:29 A.M.

The human body is such a beautiful beautiful thing. Why do this to it. Kevin

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James Mogul , May 01, 2001; 11:45 A.M.


thank you gentlemen, for your thoughtful input..although, it's certainly not your most inspired, or helpful critique.

Now that we have narrow judgements on what is or isnt beautiful, perhaps we can get an actual critique.


Gerry Siegel (Honolulu) , May 01, 2001; 12:01 P.M.

Well you have to start deciding what you are after

This one needs to be a vertical composition. I think anyone would agree on that point. Who gives a shit for the velvet curtain. I also don't see whether the rope is hanging or what. It leads my eye to an undetermined place. And finally, I would like to see a little more of the subject's face. It sort of sends a mixed message: I'll let me get tied up but I am also a demure lass. Hell, I don't know how to critique this type of subject matter because I have not done naked bodies yet, but I offer these comment chitlins because you do NOT deserve a rebuke for trying something a la the above. (Anyway, I still think Harry Houdini could have got out of this pickle (that's a joke, no offense intended, honest) Gerry

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Amy Powers , May 01, 2001; 11:17 P.M.

At first I would agree that the subject would be better portrait framed...but the more I look at it, the more it reminds me of a movie screen, in a cool way. I think the velvet curtain emphasizes that, too. Nice use of the complementary colors, BTW.
Re: the face...well, again, I can see it both ways. If you see her face, she ceases to be an icon, a symbol, and becomes more an individual. I frequently don't show faces in my nudes for that reason. The model is a symbol.
In any case, its a rich, luxurious-looking image and I like that. Nice lighting, James, and very nice overall. Hope to see more of your work. And just ignore the prudes.

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Scott Blair , May 02, 2001; 10:24 A.M.

Prude, or did I take the bait?

Amy, I have looked at alot of your work, and commented favorably on some. In them I see your interpretation of a woman struggling with a sense of self, of "where do I fit into this world". I have never picked up on physical pain, ridicule, or punishment. Everyone defines certain words differently; I'm not sure how you define "prude". I use it to mean certain attitudes of denial and/or disgust toward the sheer enjoyment of human sexuality. In this photo, I see a victim. It looks like the sort of "trophy" siezed during a police raid of a serial killer's flophouse abode. If you enjoy this sort of art, then it's not for me to judge. However, since the photographer did post this for critique, I feel free to judge the photograph and the photographer.

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Amy Powers , May 02, 2001; 04:08 P.M.

literal vs. artistic

Scott, I don't know if you are a prude or not - only you know that.
But I would like to challenge you, and anyone else who agrees with your assessment of the image above to try, for a moment, to see it a bit less literally.
What makes this woman a victim? The fact that she has rope tied around her?
I really find it difficult to believe that anyone who listens to pop music, reads magazines, or watches TV occasionally - is unaware that kinky sexual play - in this case, bondage - is actually pretty common. Yes, usually its bathrobe ties to the bedframe - a bit less dramatically staged than this. But its not about victimizing anyone, its a consensual game between equals. Tell me, Scott, what if you knew, for sure, that this woman was not a victim, but was happy and enjoying the pose? How you feel about the photo then?
This is an erotic photo. I see this model as a symbol of the struggle between wanting to stay in control vs. wanting to allow oneself to be swept away sexually.
What I'd love to see, James, is a photo that somehow captured the essence of the model's consent, her willingness to surrender. I'm not sure how that would be done, but I think its worth playing with.

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Scott Blair , May 02, 2001; 05:35 P.M.

"Scott, what if you knew, for sure, that this woman was not a victim, but was happy and enjoying the pose? How you feel about the photo then?" ....actually, I am assuming that this is a posed shot. I am telling you how the concept makes me FEEL. I must grudgingly admit, though, that James' photograph has met all the requirements for being called "art". It has inspired introspection and interaction among its viewers. Again, I stress my response was to the invitation to critique. I don't hop about from portfolio to portfolio complaining about what I find there. The next time either of you posts a photo for critique, I will probably view it, and quite possibly offer a comment. I can't guarantee it will be favorable, but I'll keep an open mind. Thanks, James, for sharing your art. At least it wasn't another picture of somebody's f***ing cat.

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Amy Powers , May 02, 2001; 09:28 P.M.

Scott, I admire the clarity with which you express your opinion, and I truly admire your ability to say " This is not to my taste, but that does not make it inherently bad." To me, thats the mark of a intelligent and mature person. What more could one ask for in a critic?

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Bill Ballard , May 03, 2001; 06:38 A.M.

Personally, bondage is not my "cup o' tea." I had not planned to comment on the shot. But, it has grown on me.

I do like the feeling of theatre, something I do enjoy tremendously, that this shot imparts. I like the pose too, and don't feel any tension or fear. She seems relaxed and secure. I think if she was standing straight and tall, it would be a different image entirely.

I'm not usually a big fan of color nude studies, but this one works well. Good work!

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James Mogul , May 04, 2001; 02:47 A.M.

photographer's response:

Gerry - 'This one needs to be a vertical composition' I thought that as well, but the landscape orientation quickly grew on me. I feel that the photo's landscape adds a lush, almose decadant feel to the image. I do however see your point about the eye being led to an undertermined place. Perhaps a wider angle lens would have been a better choice here. I appreciate your willingness to offer your opinion on the photo in spite of the previous flak, Gerry, thank you.

Amy - Lately I've noticed many nudes with the models face turned away. I once read that it is easier to look at a person's genitals if they are not looking back at you. The model Gwen was looking over the posts the other day, and smiled remarking that what no one notices is that she is actually hiding a big, cheesy, bondage induced grin. I got a chuckle out of that.

On capturing consent and surrender - thats a wonderful idea for a shoot. I'm picturing an offering of sorts...

Scott - Again I thank you for your willingness to comment on a subject matter you may be unfamiliar with. However, after having the distinct privledge to bind this woman regularly over the past two + years, I am unable to see her as a victim - indeed the sad part for her often comes when she has to come out of the bondage. This playstyle can be for many a cathartic, spiritual, or just plain good time. My intent in shooting bondage is often to attempt to capture the beauty of a person going through a personal journey.

I'm sorry to hear your use of the word 'grudgingly' in your statement about the art, but do appreciate your willingness to keep an open mind. And, your welcome for the photo. Oh, by the way, regarding 'Now let's see the one she took of you where you seem to like it' .. I do like it.

I'm pleased that the photo wasnt deleted (yet anyways) - something I half expected - and very happy to see so many experienced folks taking the time to look at it and offer some words.

Thank you.

j d c , May 06, 2001; 10:27 P.M.

I would like to see this in a vignette or with the light rapidly falling off both left and right. This would 'push' the garment ont he floor and the curtain into more secondary roles. Presently the figure doesn't dominate as much as the pose might sugest.<p>Regardless of my comment, I think this is an inspiring, and really good photo.

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Kevin Hundsnurscher , May 09, 2001; 11:22 A.M.


I feel that this photo is definetly an artistic. I can see why it hasn't been deleted. The model facing away from the camera to me appears that she's lending the photo to be an artisitc piece. I think it'd ruin the shot to have her face pictured. Having her face away from the camera leaves the viewer to their own interpretation. Normally, I don't find this kind of bondage to be too complimenting to the female form but this picture adds to her form, she's actually quite beautiful pictured like that. This is a very nice piece of work.

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Tom Menegatos , June 02, 2001; 07:20 P.M.

I'm not one for bondage photos. I'm always impressed by the ropework though. The part around her waist that slopes down is very nice. Maybe I should find my old boy scout handbook and practice my knots. However I feel taht if I ever did tie a woman up I'd probably do something silly like sit in front of her and eat her favorite ice cream. Maybe go through her purse hehe :) (just kidding) The colors work nice and the lighting is good. The left hand side is distracting though. I don't think that peice of cloth on the floor adds anything to the composition. I like the idea of vignetting it.

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rob mccool , July 17, 2001; 11:30 P.M.

good thought

I like the idea of the a well-lit, colored, centered display of a woman- and it seems consistent to me that a "forced" portrait not include a face. Why should a forced portrait show a willing face??? As well, it is a good statement regarding the indiscriminate the "use" of us all. That said, the lighting on the curtain (circles) and the horizonal stitching across the curtain is really distracting. I'd like to see it shot again. Whatever you do- don't vignette it. That is too been-there.

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Jerry Matchett , April 12, 2002; 03:28 A.M.

Good lighting - problematic composition

The lighting is good, but placing the subject as a vertical centerpiece in a horizontal frame makes too much of a formal composition for a subject that does not want it. Also the yellow object on the left floor is poorly placed. Because it is bright and yellow it draws the eye in a nonproductive manner for its placement.

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Juliet Ray , August 05, 2002; 10:44 A.M.

distracted by her fingers

James, I love your work (yours too, Amy). My one general gripe about the bondage photos is that I look at the rope around the model's breasts, and I don't find the effect very flattering. It's not the rope per se; it's the way her breasts look like they've been squeezed out between the ropes. Other than that, I love this series - especially the black and white pic.

One nitpicky thing about this photo, though - somehow the photo looks especially staged to me because I can see the model's fingers clutching her right arm in a voluntary manner. I'm not sure what else you could do, but it kind of lessens the impact of the photo for me.

Keep up the good work!

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Trevor Miller , August 19, 2002; 07:09 A.M.

Snappy ?!?!?

In my humble opinion, this looks like a snapshot of someone's fantasy. I think this *type* of subject would do well to be done more stylishly, a bit noir-ish. I'd go for black and White, maybe high contrast. Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth.

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richard simon , December 08, 2002; 03:39 P.M.


This image of a nude woman is just that, Have you watched any television or movies lately? Most ofit is digitally enhanced. What if this was a phototaken with a camera, the ropes added, and knotreal, what then? To me it is just there to beadmired. aesthetics 7 originality 7

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Miguel Rodriguez , December 26, 2002; 03:51 A.M.


Great composition, and correct colors selection, for me, just only to complete background with red curtians instead of see the wood floor

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charles boyer , March 01, 2003; 09:14 A.M.

Wonderful Work

Sex is in the mind. Some may like this photograph merely for what it evokes, others, they may be threatened and not like it because it is not their taste, does not fit their politics, or quite simply frightens them. That's the beauty of art AND sex -- each to his/her own!

Now, onto the picture -- the dark red curtain serves as a wonderful backdrop, and gives the flesh tones a wonderful key to work out of and draw the viewers attention. Nice detail there, and thoughtful in the composition. Further, the red serves also to make the green of the dress stand out -- in other words, everything draws the eye to the focal point of the photograph. Truly the work of someone who has an eye for composition.

I like the model's not looking into the camera -- it adds to the mystery of this photograph, and makes the viewer wonder, exactly, what is she thinking? And the best part of it is that the viewer can convince him/hserself that she's thinking almost anything. I might say one thing, your mileage may vary.

As for the bondage aspect, this only adds to the air of mystery. It's controversy makes it impossible to look away from.

Some people love this art form. Others detest it. Bully for both. But as a PHOTOGRAPH, this is work well done, and the photographer should be proud of the work. Like all good art, it evokes an emotion.

p.s. -- the humor in the title did not escape me. A good addition.

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josh kirtland , May 08, 2003; 10:14 P.M.

on the right track I think

James, I think that your exploration into fetish photography is a great way to go. It can produce great photos if you know what your doing and use the right model. Though i'm not into that type of lifestyle at all i think the photo art work that comes from it is really amazing. As far as framing a vertical would have worked much better, and also the velvet and potato sack thingy shes wearing doesn't work as well as maybe latex would have. Latex also creates amazing hightlights. Maybe using a red rope or some other color contrasting with her skin tone would have worked also. I'm not sure if you can post links on here but whatever. Allen Faulkner is an amazing photographer in this style and his personal model Masumi Max are inspiring to say the least. Check out iamtrouble.com and obscurephoto.com to research this a little bit more. Sorry for the long post but its my first so i thought i'd make it count. Hope it helps. -josh

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