The Fetish

I once won the Vogue/Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award, a competition for young photographers with a series I shot of a shoe. They were among the first pictures I took in what was to become my new style.
The Fetish III: The Dream of the Masturbator

I once won the Vogue/Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award, a competition for young photographers with a series I shot of a shoe. They were among the first pictures I took in what was to become my new style.

A Jackson Pollock patterned shoe is suspended on a wall of weathered boards, the shadowy orange evening light projects the shadow of a man in a hat and raincoat reaching for the shoe. In a flash this picture throws up a story that the viewer is coaxed to resolve. I have supplied you with the narrative elements please finish it off for me. There is something attracting and repelling at the same time about the picture. Maybe it will help if you know that the title of the picture is The Fetish III: The Dream of the Masturbator. I had conjured the “unresolved picture”, something that has stayed with me even to this day. It is the summer of 1984 and eighteen months after taking up photography I have found my real style as a photographer.

The Fetish I: The Two Towers

The work is as dark and as troubled as I am at the time. I am trying to resolve inner turmoil by putting ideas down on film but it is not cathartic, quite the opposite, in fact, it forces me to turn inward, a place where I am unhappy to be. I like the pictures though, I like being on the imaginative edge, I like photographing outdoors, I like these derelict buildings next to Battersea Power Station which I use as an open air studio, I like the warm evening light and have determined to use the long shadows thrown by a westering sun, I like the view of the River Thames from the rooftops  – as a result there are plenty of blue skies in my work, I like the fact that nearly all the pictures I set out to take, work. I generally take three frames of each set-up which I bracket and develop the slides at home myself in the kitchen sink because I have no money. The first glimpse of the wet milky slides is exciting, it is also surprising. The camera sometimes picks up things I did not know were there. Unlike painting, which you have to abandon because you reach a point where the next stroke will be too much, the transparency hits you with direct surprise. Voilà! There it is. It either works or fails.

Before I take the first pictures of my new style, I have already created it in my head and sketched it on paper. I create a world in my own image.  In cityscapes of oblique lighting, dark shadows, acid Technicolor and surrealist elements, strange people enact curious events. I become a fabulist, concocting a series of wilfully inconclusive and unsettling narratives or what I term ‘events’. I have kept the plausible topographical faithfulness of the photograph and have imbued it with an oneirical dimension filled with a sense of unease. The work is rendered with slickness, but it is only to set up the audience for the ambush – the menace of the shadow, or the knife, or the couple who in their passionate abandon may fall from the edge of the roof to their ruin. There is an alienating sense of tension and a pervading unhealthiness in these early pictures. I deliberately turn people into ciphers or objects. I crop out faces or mask them or use shadows to create menace. I want to become an object myself and I appear in many of these early pictures.

The Fetish II: The Shrine

The previous year I had declared myself an impressionist. This year I I wanted to be a surrealist but I had not taken any surreal pictures yet. The series started with the idea of a man standing on one leg, in the act of picking up something. What that object should be, I had no idea but it should have some resonance or deep meaning. I phoned the Fiorucci store in Knightsbridge, London and asked if I could borrow some clothes. They agreed. While in the basement, I saw the shoes and decided that this would be the object.

I brought the shoes home and held them, turning them over in my hands to observe their shape and texture. I wanted to feel the picture. I had never given women’s shoes much thought before but thought the shape rather elegant and could see why a stiletto was such a classic shape. For the first picture, which I needed close to the ground as possible, I reversed the column of the tripod and hung the camera upside down. The first and last time I have ever done so. I woman on her balcony in a block of flats across the road spotted me, went in and got her binoculars, while I was practising standing on one leg in preparation. It made me feel very self-conscious and foolish. I shot it at midday and offset the high colour temperature with a polarising and a warm up filter. I used an aperture of f16.5. My new style was going to be shot mostly on a 28mm and I wanted everything in focus from the front to the back of the frame. The background was going to be nearly as important as what was going on in the foreground. Back then just like now, there was a fashion for long wide-open lenses to blur the background. I deliberately rejected that and selected the opposite way. I was very satisfied with the result and decided there couldn’t be just one definitive photograph of the shoe and I should take some more. It turned into a project. I shot three the first year and one per year for the next three years. The title, The Two Towers, was a nod to Tolkien.

The Fetish III: The Dream of the Masturbator

Not far away from the power station was a large Post Office sorting office and this is where I took, The shrine. I observed the transition of different patterns and colour and thought it would make an interesting backdrop.

I would pick my days to go to the power station and would go normally on sunny evenings, when there would be long shadows in the warm light. I was packing up ready to go when I turned and saw the light hitting the building through a hole in the awning that covered the goods yard platform. It was late and the sun was lowering quickly. I knew that I had to work urgently. I hurriedly to set up the camera and hammered in two nails to hold up the shoe and worked the shadow a bit. This was the penultimate shot before the light passed the hole in the awning and faded. That is how I captured The Dream of the Masturbator, which was a nod to Dali’s, The Great Masturbator.

The Fetish IV: Umbral Spectre at Eventide

The following year I shot one of my first nudes in the doorway on top of this building. When I developed it, it was alright but there was something missing. It violated the main rule that I had imposed upon myself. That was, there had to be something surreal or interesting happening in each photo. I stared and stared at it and came up with the idea of the shadow of a man climbing the shadow of the ladder. I could not get the model back and decided to make it part of my fetish series. I had to wait two or three weeks to get the right light again. I achieved the effect with a in-camera double exposure which I explained how to do in another article.

Many years later, I was in pain in my doctor’s waiting room. I picked up an interior décor magazine. In it was an Italian advert showing long curtains and next to them was the shadow of a man with a fedora hat and a trench coat climbing a ladder. I thought the stance looked very much like my shadow. I wondered where they could possibly have seen my picture. I then remembered it was in my first book, Bernadinism: How to Dominate Men and Subjugate Women, that was published worldwide. I could not be bothered. Years later, I added the shadow to the nude digitally to make it like I had first imagined.

The Fetish V: Hand and Knife Expressing the Sentiment of Love Are Metamorphosed into a Sundial Illumined by the light of the Moon, Whilst the Shade of Allessandro Valente Sings “Non Piangere Lui” from Turandot By Puccini

The Fetish V, was shot in a derelict goods lift. I placed a flash outside the concertina doors to create the shadowy lighting.

With the last one, Eucharistic Altar, when I decided to enter the competition, I did one more picture. It was shot on the rooftop of my building and you can see the silhouette of Battersea Power Station in the skyline. I wanted to symbolise the blood and the body with the wine and the bread. I had made the cupboard for a woodwork school exam and it was the only good thing I ever made. While moving it, it fell on its front and part of the door fell off. I left it in because I thought it might be symbolic of something. I mounted my images and handmade a marble paper covered box for them and stuck a picture of Christ on the front.

While scanning my work during lockdown, I came across these black and white images I had totally forgotten about. I thought I had gone straight to the colour pictures but it transpired I had essayed them before that. I had shot some on an overcast day, then dissected what was wrong with them. I was obviously dissatisfied with the composition of the man on one leg. The camera position was too high and the body was an ugly shape. The hand on the shoe was inelegant and the background all wrong. For the second, there were some alright elements in it but it was not really singing. The trouser leg was messy and the shoebox tilted too much. It is hard to adjust for these details when you are the one in the picture. Overall, I thought it would be best to lose the hat and coat. The third one was fine and I merely recreated it in the goods lift.

I was delighted to have won but dismayed to discover they were not having an exhibition for the finalists. The previous year they had an exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery, London, that I had seen. My highest ambition entering the competition, was to just get in the exhibition and get influential eyes, on my work. I was disappointed and vexed and the money for winning was little recompense. It was a damp squib and career-wise nothing happened. I wrote to them and virtually begged them for some work. I then got to do some cars and still lives for Vogue, then I worked for Tatler, another Condé Nast publication. I remember shooting rug dealers with the eccentric and enjoyable, Isabella Blow, who went on to discover the fashion designer, Alexander McQueen. Both are now suicides, I am sorry to say. After that I did some British GQ, which was just starting. I finally began to get some traction thereafter.

Alva Bernadine

Alva Bernadine makes photographs and films. By using themes such as surrealism, sexuality and violence, Bernadine touches various overlapping topics and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matters can be recognised, such as mirrors, shadows, optical effects and representations of the female form. The work is filled with invented surreal scenarios, witty events, troubling scenes from movies that were never made and almost hallucinatory images that invoke narrative, prompting you to imagine what came before or what is about to happen. They are not only about desire but the problems that go with it. Bernadine was born in Grenada, West Indies and grew up on the outskirts of London. He won the Vogue/Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award as a young photographer and has since worked for many prestigious magazines and became Erotic Photographer of the Year for his first book, Bernadinism: How to Dominate Men and Subjugate Women.

More Stories

Conceptual photography; Dissection by Kaushik Dolui

Conceptual photography; Dissection by Kaushik Dolui

The physical presence of blood and flesh is felt in nature as well as material substances also. If the skin cover is eliminated from all living beings, what we see? Blood and flesh is visible in the innermost part of every living body.
The specter of life by Marcin Mirosławski

The specter of life by Marcin Mirosławski

It is a metaphorical and allegorical journey through my self, but at the same time it is a universal story through metaphors and symbols, everyone can try to find themselves in these photos.
Polaroid; Crisis of Experience by J. K. Lavin

Polaroid; Crisis of Experience by J. K. Lavin

This body of work originates from a series of Polaroid SX70 self-portraits made during a daily practice from 1979 to late 1987. Crisis of Experience is the result of an eight-year project exploring themes of self-reflection and female identity using the mechanics of seriality.

Call For Entries

We are looking for 6 fantastic photographers
who want to give an incredible impulse to their career.

We are going to put your photographs in front of the eyes of the directors
of the best galleries, festivals and agencies around the world.
Are you coming with us?

DEADLINE | TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2022

PHOTO BY © JULIA FULLERTON-BATTEN
Interview with Riccardo Magherini; published in our print edition #19

Interview with Riccardo Magherini; published in our print edition #19

Riccardo Magherini is a photographer and visual artist. By approaching his medium in innovative ways, Riccardo often challenges human perception, condition and context. 
From three to twelve by Tatiana Kireicheva

From three to twelve by Tatiana Kireicheva

This story is dedicated to my father: for 40 years he lived in two houses - in Russia and the USA. He migrated when he was very young, received US citizenship and was practically unable to return to Russia (due to legal, political and other circumstances).
November Light by Kip Harris

November Light by Kip Harris

The light in November is very different in Milan and Florence than it is in Rome. The warm amber glow of the eternal city does not penetrate that far north.

Featured Stories

Lov’yer by Marta Kochanek

Lov’yer by Marta Kochanek

The world witnesses love between people of all nationalities and races. This planet gives room to those attracted to people of the same, opposite and both genders. It is how this world is constructed. It is how it always was.
Intimate photography ; I am ready to dream a dream with her by Michiko Chiyoda

Intimate photography ; I am ready to dream a dream with her by Michiko Chiyoda

In my photography, my personal experiences often motivate me to start creating works. Eventually, it leads me to the fundamental theme of our life and I want to express what I think and get from there.
Self-portraiture; Made in the shade by Chloe Meynier

Self-portraiture; Made in the shade by Chloe Meynier

Made in the shade project was selected and published in our print edition 18. Through a mise-en-scene self-portraiture series, Made in the Shade depicts characters in Mid Century Modern settings, mirroring an era that was aspiring for change.
Old Father themes by Julia Fullerton Batten

Old Father themes by Julia Fullerton Batten

The River Thames is not even the longest river in the British Isles and a mere pygmy in comparison with many other rivers in the world, yet its significance to British and world history is immense.
Nudes for the women I’ve met by Dragos Dumitrescu

Nudes for the women I’ve met by Dragos Dumitrescu

Merely a portraying of nudity not in its simplistic undressed over-arousing form, more like its intimate, exposed gift of closure in a woman’s own space. More delicate or abrupt, in a rather organic relation to her personal background.
Intimidades by Guillermo Ignacio Rodríguez Lateulade

Intimidades by Guillermo Ignacio Rodríguez Lateulade

Intimidades is born from the spiritual claim about the hyper-sexualization of bodies and the subsequent trivialization of these by the, not so recent, vulgar vision of the cultural industry.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Mono-banner.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Monochromatic Awards. We are eager to see photograhs with new focus points and innovative approaches

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/banner.jpg

The book where words and images meet to never leave each other, The book contains 20 evocative paintings; each of them is a double page. 56 printed pages | 235x165mm

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/call21.jpg

Call For Entries #21 | After 20 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Cairo; A Beautiful Thing Is Never Perfect by Jonathan Jasberg

Cairo; A Beautiful Thing Is Never Perfect by Jonathan Jasberg

The project title for his work on Cairo is inspired by an ancient Egyptian proverb that states ‘A Beautiful Thing Is Never Perfect'. 
Iceland by Alvaro Tejero

Iceland by Alvaro Tejero

Iceland, a paradise for photographers and lovers of nature and landscape. A unique and wonderful country. For those of us who live in Europe it is fortunate to have such a relatively close territory.
My Wonderland by KireevArt

My Wonderland by KireevArt

Photography certifies experience and at the same time narrows - limiting him to searches of photogenic, turning experience into the image, into a souvenir.
Self-Untitled by Samantha Geballe

Self-Untitled by Samantha Geballe

Self-Untitled is an on-going self-portrait series that aims at establishing connection through vulnerability, and combating the shame that separates us from one another. Shame can be understood as the fear of disconnection.
We’re Happy Together by Gabriel Carpes

We’re Happy Together by Gabriel Carpes

In this series called “We’re Happy Together" Gabriel Carpes photographed his family in the years following his father's passing and his sisters moving away from their hometown of Porto Alegre to different parts of the country.
The Land Where the Roots Grow Deep by Rebecca Moseman

The Land Where the Roots Grow Deep by Rebecca Moseman

This series of photographs is part of an ongoing project about the African American people living in the deep south.

Monochromatic Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the monochromatic awards. We are looking
for the best monochrome picture for this year, 2022.

The contest is open to any interpretation of monochromatic photography,
black and white, grayscale, sepia or any type of tone.

DEADLINE | THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 2022

PHOTO BY © SVETLIN YOSIFOV

Trending Stories

Woodland by Justine Tjallinks

Woodland by Justine Tjallinks

Loneliness and isolation are conditions that a human being has difficulty of coping with. It is even proven that it can seriously shorten your life expectancy.
Urban and social landscapes; Paradise Inn by Marinos Tsagkarakis

Urban and social landscapes; Paradise Inn by Marinos Tsagkarakis

My photographic work focuses mainly in urban landscape and it has been affected by the current situation in my country, Greece, which from has entered a state of transition that extends to present day.
Susan Baraz, Head of jury of IPA and Co-Chair of the Lucie Awards

Susan Baraz, Head of jury of IPA and Co-Chair of the Lucie Awards

The International Photo Awards is just what it sounds like-a competition of photography entries submitted from around the world that various jurors go through, vote on, and select the winning images in several different fields.
Vietnamese We – Beyond divides by Huy Trang Bùi

Vietnamese We – Beyond divides by Huy Trang Bùi

There are many art photography works that focus on a single country, but very few dealing specifically with its people. Two legendary books exist though, published more than half a century ago
Colors of little China by Juan Rodríguez Morales

Colors of little China by Juan Rodríguez Morales

I have always believed that a good photograph is hidden behind any corner. It is not necessary to travel thousands of kilometers or visit exotic places to find an image that excites or surprises you. That's why I like street photography so much.
India in Search of Gender Equality by Francisco Alcalá

India in Search of Gender Equality by Francisco Alcalá

According to Dr. Vasa Prabhakar (SAP College) in India, discrimination against women can start in the womb. Gender inequality, patriarchy, caste system, dowry system is an acute and persistent problem.
Daria Amaranth ; Fragile and melancholic emotions

Daria Amaranth ; Fragile and melancholic emotions

In my works I'm trying to depict something strange and mysterious - all these things and feelings which we often feel but are not able to describe.
Moscow White Dreams By Rosa Rodriguez

Moscow White Dreams By Rosa Rodriguez

Russia has undergone a radicalchange over the last two decades. It has changed from being a socialist state-­‐run system, with central planning based on cooperatives,to a market economy. The result of this transition has been the emergence of two social strata
Own Place by Wiktoria Wojciechowska

Own Place by Wiktoria Wojciechowska

This photographic series of works is a symbolic attempt of connecting a human being with his place of living. In times when distance is no longer a barrier and when settling down and identifying with space is getting harder.

Other Stories

stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Get in Touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact hello@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.