The Library of Spanking Fiction: Wellred Weekly
ArticlesItems of interest regarding all things spanking
Spanking in Photography (cont.)
Irving Klaw and Bettie Page
In the early 1950s, Bettie Page became the first well-known mainstream model to pose for erotic fetish photos. Working for New York photographer Irving Klaw, Page appeared in hundreds of bondage and spanking photos as well as dozens of short 8mm stag films (non-pornographic film-loops featuring bondage, female wrestling, pony play, and foot-fetish scenarios). She alternated between playing the stern, punishing dominatrix and the helpless victim who gets tied up and spanked. The photos and films were sold out of Klaw's store and by mail order.
It should be noted that Klaw got into the fetish business totally by accident. He began selling conventional movie star stills and cheesecake pin-ups. But an increasing demand from his clients for kinkier fare led him to create his own brand of iconic fetish photographs and film-loops. The transformation of his business reflects a cultural shift that was just beginning to emerge from the shadows.
Adult stores selling erotic books, comics, and nudist magazines gradually began to openly display what were called "art photos". These were usually 3x5 inch black & white prints of nude models, including "exotic" sets with a bondage, spanking, or fetish-wear theme. They were often sold in sets of around 5 to 10 photos. An example captured on film occurs in the 1966 sexploitation movie Maidens of Fetish Street (which also contains scenes of spanking and whipping). One scene is filmed inside an actual Los Angeles sex shop that has fetishistic $2 photo-sets covering its walls.
The late 1940s saw the sudden rise of countless underground fetish-lifestyle magazines. The majority came from New York and Los Angeles. Many were covertly published under fictitious names. These under-the-counter, digest-sized booklets featured a variety of kinky black & white photographs of bondage, spanking, domination (male and female), pony play, doggie training, and other fetishistic subjects.
By the 1950s titles appeared such as Ultra, Unique, Masque, Exotique, and Connoisseur. Perhaps the most well-known of this genre is Bizarre (1946-1959), published in New York by artist John Willie. Bizarre is distinguished by Willie's vivid, realistic artwork as well as its fetish photographs, some of which were purchased from Charles Guyette's burlesque and BDSM equipment store.
The more permissive climate of the sixties led to a sharp increase in kinky imagery of every type in nearly every medium. The new wave of "roughie" exploitation films, underground 8mm fetish (and pornographic) film-loops, spanking/bondage novels and comics, girlie magazines and lurid "true adventure" and gory crime periodicals, and even mainstream magazines and movies became increasingly daring. All of this had an effect on spanking photography.
By the mid-sixties, single-issue specialty magazines devoted entirely to spanking photography began to appear, albeit covertly, at newsstands and adult bookstores. Perhaps the first ongoing all-spanking magazine was Corporal (c. 1967-1974) from New York publisher Leonard Burtman. The number of publications increased over the next three decades. Three of the best-known British magazines of that era were Janus, which began in 1971, Roue, and Kane produced by Harrison Marks in the 1980s.
Another interesting change that occurred in the sixties is the sudden appearance of ethnic models in the heretofore all-white world of erotic fantasy. African women in particular make frequent appearances, usually playing a dominatrix or "switch", in spanking magazine layouts, 8mm stag films, and sexploitation movies. This trend toward diversity, and gradual increase of Asian models, continued into the next decade.
Influence of videos
In the early 1980s the booming home video market ushered in a new era of fetish photography. Nearly all of the major producers of erotic bondage and spanking videos (London Enterprises, House of Milan, Harmony Concepts, Nu-West/Leda Productions, Shadow Lane, et al.) as well as many smaller companies began publishing their own photo-magazines.
Nu-West was perhaps the first to sell illustrated catalogs for their videos. These were small, cheaply produced booklets with black & white photos. The more ambitious (London's Spank Hard, for example) produced glossy full-size periodicals that copied the format of mainstream lifestyle magazines. These were loaded with spanking photos (usually a mix of color and black & white) and sometimes included amateur snapshots sent in by their readers.
Professional bondage models, and other adult entertainers, made the quick transition to making fetish videos, and many became well-known stars in this particular niche industry. The video producers were quick to capitalize on their popularity and sold photo-sets featuring their new stars. Some sets consisted of still photos taken from video productions, while others were created from exclusive photo-shoots.
Various "tie-in" magazines were also introduced to promote videos and create a second product line from a single source. Instead of posed photo-sessions, these consisted entirely of stills taken during the filming of a video. London, once again, was at the forefront of this concept. Now one had the option of buying, for example, London's Bondage Cheerleaders video or its companion magazine (also called Bondage Cheerleaders) which was packed with photos from the movie and a bit of narrative text.
However, this is not an entirely new idea. Irving Klaw did the same type of cross-promotion back in the 1950s. While making his 8mm bondage and spanking film-loops, he would simultaneously shoot hundreds of still photos. Many of these photographs became best-sellers and helped to increase sales of his stag films.
One negative result, among companies with less diligent quality control than London and HOM, is the intrusive clicking and whirring of still cameras and the glare of flash-bulbs going off during a video. This can be distracting as well as destructive to the fantasy the film has tried to create. The low-budget videos from Nu-West in the '80s and '90s are especially noteworthy for this practice.
Realism replaces fantasy
While spanking art photos have always been staged, today you can often see close-up views of bottoms that show real — or realistic looking — cane or whip marks. In an interview with veteran fetish actress and bondage model Kiri Kelly, she revealed that the standard practice among models is to paint on welts and bruises with rouge make-up. She, however, always insisted on getting a real spanking that created genuine red markings.
The increase in more realistic and severe-looking spanking imagery is largely due to the influence of video-based magazines that published, for the first time, vivid, color photos of actual punishment sessions. This, along with an overall demand by the public for more realism — a small part of a great cultural shift in mainstream entertainment — has made significant changes in the industry.
Although the depictions of corporal punishment are primarily authentic, fantasy scenarios are still being used, especially in videos. Elements of pop culture, films, television programs, history, and folklore remain the subject of parody.
Child spanking photos are rarely taken today. Most of the few around are either vintage or digital stills from mainstream movies, or fun spanking pictures.
Erotic adult spanking photos of every type and description can be found on the Internet. An increasing number of amateurs post their own photographs on personal websites, spanking blogs, and shared image sites.
There are thousands of free spanking sites of every variety as well as specialized spanking pay sites. Countless online databases of historical, as well as contemporary, photographs can be accessed for free or for a nominal membership fee.
The main difference is today one usually purchases viewing access instead of buying individual photos. Online access allows the user to print out images or download them onto their computer where they can be stored, uploaded to other websites or manipulated in a variety of ways.
Most producers of fetish/spanking DVDs also sell photographs (still photos taken from videos as well as posed pictures) directly from their websites. They also tend to display a great number of free pictures used to promote their videos. Some even offer customized videos or photo-sets based on specific client requests. And many professional spanking models and actresses, as well as a wide variety of amateurs, have personal websites from which they sell exclusive spanking photos of themselves.
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