Back to Writing / 11-22-2005



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Preeminent fetish photographer Christine Kessler lives and loves her perversions -- everything from "challenging Shibari bondage to hot chicks in latex or super-tight corsets." On MyFetishDiary.com, she not only offers hundreds of deliciously perverse photo sets, but she includes personal accounts of why, exactly, each shoot was even hotter than you can imagine. The result is a nuanced combination of stunning graphic content, enticingly foxy chicks, and personal emotion rarely acknowledged within the pages of even the sexiest erotic sites. We spoke with Christine about what it's like to emote such a clear love of fetish through her flawless art.


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Sez G: You say on your site, "a girl with a camera travels the world of kink and you're invited along for the ride." How much of your shooting do you think is documenting this underground culture, and how much is a collaborative, active creation of a scene with your models?

Christine Kessler: That's a good question. My interests and subject matter vary greatly from shoot to shoot and year to year. In the past, much of my shooting consisted of documenting real scenes with Domina friends and their slaves, as well as the non-pro friends I've made in the scene.

Lately, however, it seems that I've been concentrating less on that aspect of "fetish" and more on studio work. This is true for a multitude of reasons, primarily because there has been a demand for me to shoot more fashion (mostly latex). Also because changing things up keeps the work fresh for me. I still love to capture the animal reality of a hot BDSM scene. I just haven't had the time to focus on that as much these days.

Sez G: Did photography come before fetish for you, and when did you decide to unite the two?

Christine Kessler: Photography came first for me. My father was a photographer, and I am sure that my love of that medium began at his feet. I've been actively shooting since high school, and looking back, erotica has always been my main interest.

I'm trying to think back and nail down the first actual "fetish" photographs I took. It would have to be a duct tape mummification that I shot for a high school photo assignment when I was 16 or 17. I doubt I even knew what it was at the time.

Sez G: So, were your first fetish shoots more tentative, and how have they evolved?

Christine Kessler: I started going out to clubs in LA when I was 15. Even then, I spent my nights at edgier spots filled with punk rockers and drag queens. In the late '80s and early '90s, I gravitated toward the more underground fetish clubs, and my photography naturally followed.

As I became more comfortable with this new group of people, I began to photograph them. I was very intimidated at first. I felt like a total poser. But I was lucky enough to be embraced by this wild group of people who turned out to be the most genuine, loving friends a person could hope to have.

Before the advent of the internet, my models were friends and friends of friends. I was able to grow through word of mouth. With the internet, it has all changed. Self-promotion has gone to a whole new level.


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Nowadays, I'm much more secure in my abilities and in my life itself. I have spent a lot of time educating myself about all the aspects of fetish and BDSM that interest me; I'm fascinated by alternative sexuality. Consequently, I'm able to approach a shoot with much more confidence. I know what I'm into, what I'd like to explore, and what I can bring across in the final image. Education and experience have allowed me to be more fully involved in the shoot than I may have been in the beginning.

Sez G: Do you think being a female photographer in a predominantly male field has helped or hurt your career?

Christine Kessler: I think the greatest impact my gender has had on my photography career is that many models have told me they feel more comfortable working with a woman. This is particularly true for those models who shoot nudes. I don't know how things would have turned out had I been a man. I have not experienced any negativity based on my being female… None that I'm aware of, at least.

Sez G: One of the really unique aspects of your site is that you offer diary entries about the shoot with each group of images. These stories are filled with delicious details, not just about the pre-game and inspirations, but also what turned you on in these women. I love the intimacy of knowing the thoughts behind the images! Why did you begin doing this? How does it add to your connection with the model and even your site viewers?

Christine Kessler: Actually, I can't take credit for this. I had been spending a lot of time with one of my best friends, a now-retired Domina. She has always been one of my greatest supporters, and she suggested that I take my images and create a membership website. We sat down in my office one day and searched for a website name that wasn't taken. "My Fetish Diary" was actually her idea. Of course, with a title like that, the diary aspect was a given.

I've gone back and forth with the diary entries. Not every shoot has a thrilling story, and not every thrilling story is suitable for mass-consumption! I try to give details, a little window into the shoot, and I do hope that my members enjoy it. I'm happy to answer any questions as well.

Sez G: Our list of questions is being compiled! You mention your Domina friends, and you shoot a lot of BDSM sessions with subs and riggers/doms. Do you ever play the role of rigger (during your shoots, that is)?

Christine Kessler: I am by no means an expert rigger! I have been known to tie a few knots and lock up some cuffs... For shoots, though, I like to concentrate on safety. I don't feel that I'm able to pay close enough attention to the sub while simultaneously composing images. And besides, I'm a big fan of beautiful bondage. I like to watch the show too!

Sez G: You also run one of the best foot fetish sites online, ToeAndArch.com. When did you decide to split this off from MyFetishDiary and make it it's own entity? Has this changed your approach to your shoots?

Christine Kessler: I have got it bad for super-high stilettos and ladies in stockings. Those garments are almost always a part of a well-put-together fetish outfit and I found that I was spending much of my time concentrating on those aspects of dressing for pleasure. It occurred to me that the foot fetish images were lost among all the latex and corsets and BDSM, so I chose to split it off into its own website.

It hasn't really changed my approach, except that I can concentrate more on expressly foot fetish shoots. Now, rather than having the heels, stockings, pantyhose, etc. be just a component of the shoot, they can shine on their own.

Sez G: You've worked with just about every fetish model out there, from the big names to the up-and-comers. Any muses?


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Christine Kessler: Oh! So many! I am so very fortunate. I know it. I sometimes can't believe my luck! Ok... Here's the short list, and I know I'll forget some of my favorites... Darenzia, Betka Schpitz, Emily Marilyn, Lorraine (Tall Goddess), Masuimi, Aria Giovanni, and lately, Pia Kaamos. If I listed all of the beautiful women I've been lucky enough to work with, all of the ladies who continually inspire me, we'd be here all week!

Sez G: Luckily, they're all on your site! Do you do gallery shows? How does your work translate from print to web and vice versa?

Christine Kessler: The web is the best way to view my work en masse. Obviously, more images are available on my websites than could ever be displayed in a gallery. Having said that, though, I do show my photographs from time to time in both solo and group shows. My portfolio site has a news page where I list upcoming shows, magazine spreads, books and the like. I've been steadily contributing images to Skin Two and to book covers for Virgin's Nexus line of erotic fiction.

Sez G: Fetish seems incredibly infused into all aspects of your life, both personal and professional. What else do you dig doing when you're not getting kinky?

Christine Kessler: When is that? Ha ha.

I love to laugh, read, and cook. In that order.

This year has been quite turbulent for myself and so many people I know. Priorities are changing; life is changing. I've personally reaffirmed my love of kink and have endeavored to devote as much time to living it as shooting it!

Sez G: I'll drink to that! What's next for you?

Christine Kessler: I've still been shooting for my sites and have begun working for an up-and-coming "alternative girl" membership site. It's not very fetish oriented, but the change has been good for me. It's been rather freeing, actually, and I believe I have left my stamp on it. I doubt they would have seen latex and corsets without me, not to mention those extra-high stilettos!




Mission accomplished! To see more of Christine Kessler's work, visit MyFetishDiary.com and ToeAndArch.com.

Christine Kessler - by Sez G.