He told me that as regards emerging fetish talent, Reflective Desire was his favourite. He added:
“I’m not sure who they are (they keep a very mysterious profile) but they consistently create some of the best latex photography I’ve ever seen. They know their photography and what makes successful latex photography.”
Well, Steve, thanks for the tip! Reflective Desire was a new name to me, but as soon as I started to browse their website, I could see why my LA pal had recommended it.
Reflective Desire’s latex photography and eye for depicting heavy rubber and bondage fantasy are pretty much second to none.
But before I could e-mail them to introduce myself and propose an editorial collaboration, they contacted me with the same idea. Great minds think alike, eh?
So in no time at all we had set up the interview that has deservedly become our October Cover Story.
Steve was right about the mystery angle. While the website offers some interesting information, such as lists of participating models and of favourite clothing and equipment suppliers, the individual who produces all the site’s content remains determinedly anonymous.
Otherwise, however, he has been most forthcoming on the story behind the website and his creative modus operandi. So while his name remains ‘not for publication’, his generous responses to our questions should certainly remove a bit of the enigma surrounding this intriguing operation.
For this interview, we’re quoting him just as Reflective Desire, abbreviated to ‘RD’ in the Q&A below.
Let’s start with some of the most basic stuff. Where are you based?
RD: Seattle. I also love northern Europe and now have reason to travel there fairly regularly so more of our shoots may end up there.
How would you characterise the owners/ operators of the site (as opposed to the larger group that includes your various collaborators)?
RD: I have a deep temptation to claim that while the rubber dolls are real, Reflective Desire itself is just an intelligent chat bot. I won’t try and pull that trick, so to answer the question, I think of Reflective Desire as more of a brand than a persona.
I’ve collaborated with a few photographers but the vast majority of the work is done by me, so in that sense it’s a one-man show. I like the whole ‘man behind the curtain’ thing and will strive to remain invisible except at live events.
For events local to Seattle my friend Anamission has been instrumental, and in Europe, Moerket has helped shepherd us into the rubber world there (both are names from FetLife).
When was Reflective Desire launched as a website?
RD: We started shooting in 2015 and I think the actual website went live late this spring. We were mostly on FetLife and Tumblr prior to that. I’m increasingly alarmed by the dominance of social media and it was a fair bit of effort to set up a decent standalone site.
I don’t think people realise the threat posed to the internet and society generally by centralising all communication in a few services which are definitely not interested in the public good.
What happens when those services decide they don’t like what you have to say. Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter are really the only major services left that mostly leave free speech (and adult content) alone.
Twitter is being sold and Tumblr is being sold (via Yahoo). Maybe the new owners are still OK with adult content? Maybe they aren’t.
RD: At the risk of sounding like Grampa Internet, I remember being on the internet in the very early days of the web around 1994 and seeing pictures of Japanese people in rubber. My mind was blown.
I was always attracted to shiny things and tight clothing but I had no idea that people made clothing specifically for kink. I fantasised about this sometimes but it never felt like a terribly important thing.
I ended up dating a number of vanilla girls and was with one for many years. I was doing some event photography for some friends and ended up getting invited to a Burning Man decompression event in Seattle in 2008.
I saw rope bondage being done by Suspended Animation, which was my first time seeing anything kinky in person. It wasn’t at all what I expected and that was basically all I took pictures of that night.
I was amazed at the level of variety, connection and fun. I didn’t have a well-formed conception of kink but I knew that I was drawn to it immediately.
They were recruiting for people to come do rope bondage at Burning Man and they taught me how to rig for which I am extremely grateful. I ended up going with them in 2010 and had an amazing time, though I rarely tie these days.
I was very involved in the kink scene in Seattle around then and I ended up leaving my vanilla partner because of the lifestyle I wanted to live. That was a very painful time as it wasn’t an easy decision and we had a very good relationship, except for her not being into kink.
The reason I dive into this aspect of things is because I get a lot of messages from people saying “you are so lucky”, “I could never do this”, and a whole litany of “my wife would never” messages.
I am very privileged but I also made extremely difficult decisions. Some of us will meet the kinky dream girl or boy right away; the rest of us probably have some difficult conversations or decisions to make.
But if you want the thing in your life, you might have to work a little for it.
I met my partner Vespa in 2011 and we ended up doing a bike tour through Europe in 2012. Vespa is a bit of a kink omnivore though I don’t remember her specifically mentioning rubber when we met.
I hadn’t dressed-up anyone in rubber and I honestly didn’t think about it much at this point in my life. But while we were in Berlin, I thought to have a catsuit made for her (given all the rubber shops there), and we stopped by Fantastic Rubber.
She wore the catsuit a few times for play but we didn’t use the suit a whole lot. In 2015 on a whim I thought we should shoot a few photos of her in the suit. That got an amazing reception on FetLife, and Vespa figured out that she was an extreme narcissist. Thus our project was born!
It looks from your site as if you are producing most of the work from a fairly large property that one might guess is your private home.
RD: I like our home very much but I think it might look a bit bigger than it actually is, wide-angle lenses and all. We’ve also shot at other people’s houses and I’ve rented a studio for, I think, two shoots now while travelling.
How did your ‘family circle’ of photographic collaborators develop?
RD: It’s a mixture of a number of things at this point. A few people are friends who like an opportunity to grope Vespa. A few people sought us out on the internet (thanks Moerket!) and a few are people I’ve sought out.
The shared attribute is that everyone is an enthusiast and so far most people don’t have a huge portfolio of work they’ve made.READ MORE QUICK LINK:
Click previews below to open galleries of Reflective Desire Latex and Bondage photography.
Click on any individual thumbnail in the gallery to begin a slideshow of all full-size images
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