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S&M sexual practice came above ground a few years ago as the visuals and practice entered
the mainstream image machines. We had Madonna's Sex book, two seasons of Versace's
clothes, explicit magazine articles and subtly influenced advertisements.
The fad led so many
unsuspecting stockbrokers to NYC dungeons for the kinky fashion craze that business
skyrocketed, even though they usually left balling their eyes out within the first 10 minutes of a
real session when they were harshly reprimanded for their insincere pilgrimages to serve a
So what's happening now in the S&M world since all the tourists have been scared away?
Ask Doris Kloster, an artist who has been photographing these wicked delights for several years.
There are many facets to Miss Kloster's candid vision.
The timid might begin with a study of the series of black and white photographs of angels
and skeletons taken in baroque churches.
They are eerie and beautiful. The paradox of decay
and opulence is the prelude to Kloster's main body of work.
Thus acclimated you begin to see the locus of Kloster's visual desires,
in a series called "Passion Plays" - beautiful dominatrixes at work in NYC dungeons
photographed in mostly rich black and white tones and sharp still focus.
The tonal quality and elegant compositions being most similar to Mapplethorpe's floral photos,
not his S&M imagery.
With such artful and beautiful technique Kloster eases the viewer
into seeing the complexity of these sometimes extremely violent, often
misunderstood sexual practices.
Initially lured in by the beauty, the viewer is confronted by what
some may consider unmentionable and what others may consider sublime. Where else can one
experience, from a distance, the erotics of real violence administered by beautiful bodies.
The Babyland photos have so permanently altered Kloster's visual repartee that she will have to
rethink what counts for stereotypes of women and sexual transgression. I don't know where
she'll go from here, but I can't wait to see it. So get out your rattle, beg for forgiveness, and
maybe she'll take us on her next epic sensual journey.
by Patricia A. Cronin
A forthcoming book of
photography will be published this spring by German art book company Taschen.
See the latest Doris here
Check out Doris' work at the
Time Warner Virtual Gallery