“Bound Insight: Homage to Bondage and Fetishism”
September 2009

This is a photographic exploration of the parallels between mainstream culture and “fetishist or kinkster” culture. It is also a tale of how photographic art is created as a collaborative effort between model (Subject Matter) and photographer (Artist). I view these two themes to be one in the same. A palette of color shared between two canvases. Learning about the creation of art between the model and photographer is like watching the dynamics between a sadist and a masochist or a dominant and a submissive. How does one live without the other in order to stay in their roles and be the partnership they desire? Static does not give way to growth or insight.

Narcissa, the subject matter and Michael Drew Sabatelle, the photographer combined ideas and concepts for over 3 months preparing for this exhibition to give life to this series of images. Hopefully a description of the each of the contributors, including Dov from TES, the rope bondage expert will help bring insight and at least a drop more clarity into a world that many do not have a chance to fully understand without classes, seminars, books about the subject or friends in “the scene.”

The education of the world of BDSM: bondage, domination, sado-masochism is one I do not intend to use force to change or pursue my lifetime to save the world from ignorance on many levels among many people. But I do find a sense of obligation to do what I can to share wisdom or shed light to concepts and affectation that is beautiful, real and familiar. Through my eyes, I tell the story that brought this collection to breathe and live.

A very good friend once said to me, “Narcissa, when you set yourself to do something, you do it till you get to the marrow.” Seems strange yet true that I could not choose a skill set or master a craft in any industry without the gumption to completely immerse myself with fervor to “get to the marrow” of the bone – the core. This became my new marrow.

Since late January of 2009, I started to regain my interest in admiring photography. Since my days of learning to be a professional dominatrix was over, I started my search for the lifestyle in the BDSM world. I set up a profile on one of those adult meeting, dating, friendship, forum discussion sites. Being coaxed by fellow forum friends, I put my pictures on a modeling site.

I had no interest in modeling or being the subject matter since I am now 38 years old and do not have the looks of an 18 year old denim jeans billboard girl. At my usual 120mph pace, I shot with numerous photographers and saw how they depended on me to give them a certain emotional affect and I in return relied on their visual expertise in perspective, composition, lighting and other technical abilities to take the one snap shot that was declared a piece of art. It was profound. No different from two people who may be dating to give and depend on each other for the nurturance and survival of a relationship to thrive.

Intertwined in themes, I pursued the artistic aspect of the process with a photographic eye always open. The product was secondary. My relationship with each artist/photographer was one that possessed mutual passion and dynamics so invigorating that I could not help but feel the euphoria of immortalizing my existence through the images captured. This was an incredible vehicle for me to use at the moment to “get to the marrow.” I decided not only to pursue photographic images of fetishism and bondage but to live the lifestyle that was considered different from “mainstream.” Yet I felt the internal conflict at kink parties where the segregation of mainstream, or what others call “vanilla” people a hypocritical practice. Fetishists may feel out casted yet no effort is made to make opportunities for learning, welcoming, explaining or just being a part of the cause to decrease the huge gap of so called “differences” between us.

Here are some rather large images of me. Scary yet affixed to the walls that show whimsical humor, elegance through different kinds of clothing and shoes. Make up and expressive faces that seem different yet the same. Different yet the same. I hope that this show has at least planted a seed among everyone to feed and cultivate and empathize with; if empathy can be passed onto a plant. But nonetheless, if one person leaves today after viewing the art and sees something new – INSIGHTFUL, then my job is done. Enjoy the journey; it was scary, exciting and exhilarating for me. I hope you feel the same…

Michael Drew
Michael Drew Sabatelle, a photographer and my partner in crime is equally guilty in creating this magnificent collection. Michael, born in NYC, has spent a lifetime devoted to the photographic medium. Receiving both a BFA in Art, 1973 and a MFA in Photography awarded in 1975, Michael studied photography under Paul Strand, Larry Fink and Walter Rosenblum. Since graduation Michael has been a full time photographer and photojournalist. He worked with both traditional film and digital medium. Since 1976, he has been a Professor of Photography with CUNY.
In Michael’s words, “my goal is for all my models to have a fun exciting experience so that way we both get the best photos.

A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety. The expression of what one feels should be set forth by simple devotion to the medium – a statement of creation and production. My approach to this end is based on photographing truthfully and effectively. To see beneath the surface and record the qualities of nature and humanity, the wealth of detail, forms, values, the revelation of poignant reality that escapes the eye but is captured by the lens. Photography allows me to express my innermost feelings and ideas.”

Dov is a NYC based artist, photographer, sculptor, educator; Japanese rope bondage and single tail whip fanatic, computer geek and just has way too many hobbies.
He has been involved for years both politically and artistically, creating works at Burning Man and other venues. His work varies from installations to performance art, both vanilla and fetish. His work has been featured at Diesel Denim Gallery in SoHo NYC, where he created a Shibari rope window to highlight a photo series of their jeans by
Japanese erotic photographer Araki as well as in V magazine photographed by Mario Sorrenti. And was an expert witness on behalf of TES in the Barbra Nitke V. Ashcroft lawsuit against the DCMA.