Peter Felix Kurtz – the Cream of Fetish Photography

By on May 26, 2010

Peter Felix Kurtz is a long established and internationally renowned photographer, specialising in provocative and stylish fetish and BDSM images. For a couple of decades, he has worked with professional dominatrices, models, fetish clothes designers, BDSM product manufacturers and friends from the scene.
Latex Ladies Peter Felix Kurtz

Listed in Who’s Who in Art, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Peter’s work is regularly shown in galleries and exhibitions in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. His images are sold worldwide, and frequently featured in books, magazines, catalogues, websites, and advertisements.

Peter Felix Kurtz also runs the members website fetishfoto.co.uk with Mistress Hannah Price. He is available for private commissions and commercial shoots. Here’s a recent interview with an eminent art dealer…

When did you start photography?
Since childhood, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a camera. I guess that I started looking for subject matter and taking proper photographs (ie. consciously thinking out images for content and composition) in my mid-teens, when I got my first SLR film camera. By my late teens, I was taking fetish and glamour photographs, and developing my own prints. Where did the last twenty years go?

Why are you an artist and when did you first become one?
Choice doesn’t come into it. I’m a visual artist because I have to be. It’s a natural and inexorable drive to create. I don’t think that I ever experienced an epiphany. It has been a gradual and organic process, throughout my life, which has brought me to where I am today. But I don’t really think of myself as a ‘photographer’, more as someone who takes photographs. I have a lot of varied interests, and do a lot of different things, of which no single one really defines me.

Mistress-Hannah-Price,-Lucy_021What are your art influences?
My influences aren’t straight forward. I’ve never considered the work of other photographers for inspiration. I’ve studied the history of photography, both in terms of technology and artistry (an example of reciprocal catalysts), but I can’t really say that this has been a fundamental influence on, or inspiration for, my work. I enjoy European twentieth century art, which has been a big influence compositionally, particularly the cramped interiors of the German Expressionist movement (Dix, Kirchner, Grosz, Beckmann). I also have a great interest in architecture: east to west, classical to modern. I like neo-classical, but also adore modern deconstruction (Hadid, Gehry, Libeskind).

What is it that inspires you to photograph a particular subject?
I shoot what is around me and count myself immensely lucky to have so many friends who are creative, intelligent, generous, energetic, and gorgeous (both in appearance and spirit). It also helps that the bulk of my friends work, one way or another, in the adult industry (pro doms, sex workers, clothes designers, product manufacturers, etc).

How do you go about shooting a particular scene?
Early on in my career, I developed a thorough and methodical approach to shooting. This is a necessity, considering the sheer volume of work I do now. I usually like to blend a loose-but-thought-out plan, which is discussed and agreed prior to the shoot by all participants. This gives a good solid basis for the scenario, but I am always open to the improvisation that will naturally occur on a photoshoot, feeding off the energies of the models, the location, and the type of scene.

How did you develop your style?
As a natural organic process: a mixture of study, and practical application. I didn’t set out to deliberately contrive a particular style of work, or way of working. That said, I acknowledge that a distinctive style did emerge early on, and it’s nice when people tell me ‘“I saw an image in such-and-such and immediately knew that it was one of your photographs.”’ Photography or film, like any visual art, is largely about composition. Forget what camera you use, how many megapixels, etc, and concentrate on framing the subject. That is the art. Naturally, it is a necessity that you must have a thorough working knowledge of your equipment, and how to get the most out of it. That is the craft or science. It is the unique blending of this art and science that gives someone their inimitable style.

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What media do you photograph in and do you have a preference?
I started off shooting film and developing it in the darkroom, but my setup is entirely digital now and has been for some years. Instead of ruining my eyes in the dark, I ruin them in front of a computer monitor! I definitely prefer digital, especially given the speed and volume of my workload.

What materials do you use to create your art?
Models, makeup artist, hair stylist, digital camera, studio lighting, computer, software.

Could you tell us some more about your work?
I work with who and what I know, and try to keep it real. I don’t use agency models, unless they’re friends who happen to be professional models. I can never get enough submissive females to shoot with, though! The majority of my close friends are professional or lifestyle dominatrices, and I work commercially with many other professional doms, so I’m never stuck for dominant women to shoot with.

What’s your biggest accomplishment in terms of art?
Making photographs and films which I personally enjoy viewing. I’m my own worst critic, and hard to satisfy!

What inspires you to create art and how do you keep motivated?
There’s always something new to inspire and motivate: a new model to work with, a new piece of BDSM equipment, a new location, etc. My friends and collaborators invariably support my plans, encourage me, and add their own suggestions and ideas. It’s a fun, enjoyable, and exciting ‘job’, which I can’t see myself ever becoming tired of.

What other interests do you have outside of creating art?
My interests are really too numerous to list, but I make films, write, compose music, paint, etc.

What’s your opinion on the contemporary art scene in general?
It’s as vibrant, inventive, and challenging as ever. It makes me laugh to see new art taking such a beating in the popular press. If art history teaches us anything, it’s that the art scene has always been like that. There seems to be a life-cycle for new art, and art movements. After the initial shock, anger and proscription, there follows a general acceptance into mainstream culture, then promotion into the ranks of ‘the establishment’. Think of Caravaggio, the Sex Pistols, or Tracey Emin.

Is erotic art making an impact on the contemporary art market?
The erotic art scene is no different; a microcosm of art in general. It has always had a regular niche, whether openly or underground. Possibly, there now seems to be more acceptance of erotic art within mainstream art and culture, and a general relaxation of social enmity towards fetish pornography. Have you watched MTV lately?

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Do you think porn should ever become an accepted art form?
It isn’t? Even accepting the definition of porn as ‘the depiction of subject matter that embodies the intention of initiating sexual arousal in the viewer’, it doesn’t necessitate that the images can’t be regarded as art. I recently visited Tate Modern’s ‘Pop Life: Art in a Material World’ exhibition in London. A reasonable component of that was essentially pornographic, but obviously that work was clearly accepted as fine art by Tate curators, art dealers, galleries, contributors, and possibly the art conscious general public.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Be natural, don’t contrive, and try not to emulate or copy. It’s a hard gig, a labour of love. If you think you will l get rich, there are quicker, easier, and more lucrative ways of making a living, which will still leave you plenty of time and resources to conduct your passion. Every girl’s boyfriend is a fetish photographer these days, and every girl a fetish model!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still alive and in good health would be nice, and living somewhere warm during the seemingly lengthening northwest-European winters! In terms of work, I’ll probably be shooting more films than photographs, which appears to be where I’m naturally heading.

Is there anything else you would like to say about you, your art?
I’ve just had a new photostudio built in my London house, which means that I can work a lot at home. I’m always interested to hear from adult media companies who are interested in distributing my video and photo work.

Peter can be contacted by email at: pfkproductions@hotmail.com and his website is: www.fetishfoto.co.uk

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Models: Mistress Hannah Price, Lucy, Lena, Ivy, Holly, Tallulah Tease, Chrys Columbine, Poisoned Venus, Ellie, Dave, Gina, Stella Van Gent

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