They started their combined creative career almost nine years ago after meeting at a gothic models and photographers get-together.
During this event they discovered that they had a lot in common: they loved art, they loved the ‘dark scene’, and they loved fetishwear, especially high heels.
So they started to think about some collaborations — and fell in love with each other after a while.
They’ve been married now for four years, and creating artwork together is very much a part of their married life.
They describe their preferred image style as “dark glamour fetish, mixing gothic moods with fetish materials, fashion poses and artificial styling”.
Together they produce printed art which is shown and sold at various exhibitions.
Prominent among these in recent years was the Art Bizarre show held every Easter in the basement of Essen’s Bredeney Hotel as part of the annual Fetish Evolution Weekend.
This is the event from which many fetish scene people know the couple and their work today.
Sarathustra (Sarathustra von Lichtenstein on Facebook) explains that, with Essen only a 30-minute drive from their home, FE was an obvious event for the pair to visit and they attended five or six years in a row.
At first they simply participated in the Art Bizarre exhibition as exhibitors, showing their artwork to the Fetish Evolution audience as very high resolution prints, usually on canvas or Acrylglas at 70 x 100cm or larger.
“Then, at the end of 2012, the FE management invited us to become their new art directors for the Art Bizarre show. We said Yes, and that was the beginning of two very exciting years as part of the Fetish Evolution team.”
The model adds that one of the great pleasures of those two years was “being in contact with so many lovely artists”. So although the couple parted company with FE after its 2014 event, they would consider similar collaborations in the future, she confirms.
Apart from their exhibition appearances, Sarathustra and blende666 also work for several fetish labels, creating catalogue and editorial imagery for these clients.
Their portfolio (see galleries above) shows just how much they have to offer.
Sarathustra is a striking looking model and in this role she is bookable for shoots, choreography and catwalk shows.
For shoots she often creates her own outfits and accessories and in recent years she has attended further education classes to improve her make-up skills.
As the photographer (or, as they say in Germany, photoartist) half of the duo, blende666 can often be found in the pits of fetish fashion catwalks or “lying on the floor shooting his wife” (with his camera, we hope).
“We’ve got that great benefit that we’re living together,” he says. “So we can do brainstorming for new projects even late at night.
“Very often we make props together and we also discuss all picture post-production before we publish our photographs.”
Sarathustra adds: “And because we’re working together in every single phase, we’re able to create our artworks as harmonic compositions.
“The style and colour of the clothes match the location. The accessories and make-up perfectly match the clothing.
“My poses and facial expressions underline the mood we want to set in the scenery, supported by my husband’s lighting set-ups and perspectives.
“And with different methods of post-production we make everything even more harmonic once again. We love to be accurate in each little detail.
“We’re not that spontaneous. And we’re perfectionists. Every single shoot takes a minimum of three weeks of planning and preparation.”
So there’s a huge investment of time and money to produce new photographs. Can this be a lucrative business?
“We believe that artwork and business can run alongside each other,” Sarathustra asserts.
“We offer all labels the assurance of booking a perfectly matched team of model and photographer.
“We know each other very well and so, on a catalogue shoot, we can produce high quality pictures from the very first second.
“There is none of the stress of booking a model separate from a photographer, no schedule problems, easy logistics, one contact and a makeup-artist included as well.”
The money Sarathustra and blende666 make from shooting catalogues and fashion shows is spent directly on funding new artwork projects.
“Most of our artwork projects are quiet expensive. For example, for one of our shoots we rented a whole baroque castle which cost us about €1,500. As a free art project without a paying client behind it, this is not that cheap.
“Our second — perhaps even our main — pillar is selling our photographs afterwards as artprints or in calendars. Of course we always feel very honoured if someone likes our artwork so much that they want to take some home!”
The art prints shown by the couple at exhibitions in Germany can also be ordered via e-mail or from their DaWanda online shop (see Links panel below).
But while Sarathustra and blende666 love to break boundaries with their art, they do have some no-goes.
“We’d never glorify cruelty and violence against any living creature,” Sarathustra explains. “And I’m really bad at acting like I’m a submissive person — it never looks authentic. In fact I really don’t like to play a sub role at all.”
What materials do they prefer to shoot with? Well, as you can see in the gallery pictures, it’s much more than just latex. Sarathustra says she prefers the smell of leather, but she refuses to wear real fur.
With vinyl clothing label Lackina as one of their clients, the couple also do lots of PVC shoots. But one thing will never change, says the model:
“I don’t care if I wear no clothes at shoots or shows. But I’d feel naked if not allowed to wear high heels!”
And recently, thanks to their new sponsor Elite Heels, the couple’s shoe collection has grown to the point where Sarathustra now owns about 100 pairs of heels.
Most of them are six inches or higher (even without platforms). “They deliver to us almost every high heel we need for our shoots,” says her photographer husband.
“And as Sarathustra also wears them in her private life on a daily basis, it is a big benefit in this way too.”
The spiked outfit above, featured in the large banner at the top of this article, and also on our August cover, has a very special meaning for Sarathustra.
“It’s a homage to our late friend Schemie, the owner of the company Heisse Eisen,” she explains.
“I was already a model for Schemie before I got to know blende666. He made this bra and slip out of
“Then all of a sudden two years ago, Schemie passed away. After his death his wife gave me this dessous set, saying, ‘I know that he would be happy if you’d wear this’.”
The couple promised her they’d do a “very extraordinary” shooting with Schemie’s last dessous set. And so Sarathustra started to design a complete outfit around the steel pieces.
“I sent a sketch of a latex bolero to Your Fetish World and they made it possible to get that stuff plus the leggings I asked them for.
“Fantastic Rubber donated the corset. A friend of our cut some metal splints for me. And the designer at Lackina helped me to sew some of these splints into my thighboots.
“My sister helped me with gluing the shoulderpads.
“Finally, all the spikes plus the eyepatch and metal appliqués (except the dessous) were crafted and added by me.
“It was a really great project and I’m so glad that so many lovely people helped to realise my ideas.
“My husband did a really great job of setting the perfect lighting. He also showed so much patience while our whole flat looked like a hardware store for several weeks!”