Based in London, Matt Spike is one of the leading gay fetish photographers working today. As well as producing works for fetish websites, stores, and other businesses, he regularly exhibits his work around the world. Alphatribe talked to Matt Spike to find out more about his work and how you can take better fetish images. And there’s a chance to win a photoshoot at Darklands 2020 with the man himself!
How did your interest in photography, and more specifically, fetish photography, begin?
I began my career as a photographer about 11 years ago, although I’ve always been interested in photography. I was working a mundane job and jumped directly from that into BDSM escorting and taking pictures of my clients. My earliest photos are from my escorting days.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think it all stems from the work I did as a leather/BDSM escort, and the experiences I had. Everything I saw and wentthrough. All these ideas and experiences, good and bad, would flow through me. I found that when they were transformed into images, they became very powerful. I always look for power play in my work, even in portraiture. I putmy models into difficult situations, from climbing rooftops to extreme body manipulation, to cages and body graffiti. Most recently I photographed a choking scene which sold a lot of prints. I was also inspired by the artist Leigh Bowery who apparently used to ask ‘where’s the poison?’ when viewing art. I liked this a lot. Whenever I shoot now I always remember to ask myself ‘where’s the poison?’. It helps me to add a dimension of darkness and a narrative to the shots that I take.
Are there other artists you admire?
Fleshblack Images really got things going for me. When escorting, I needed photos of myself for promotion and I really wanted him to shoot me. But I was always far too disorganised to get to Belgium. He’s created some wonderful images. From the classics, it must be Mapplethorpe and Ritts. I’ve also always loved Joe Oppedisano’s style. I also admire the work of Si Hands, and miss the days when people thought he and I competed. In fact, we encouraged each other.