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

Savoring Photography by Michael Bomberger

Savoring Photography by Michael Bomberger

A discussion over dinner a few weeks ago with a noted local artist about the nature of beauty and how humans perceive it took me back to my university lectures with Paul Weiss, a noted professor of metaphysics.
Spatial Relations by Shannon Randol

Spatial Relations by Shannon Randol

How the singular subject, viewer in the case of photography, is located in relation to other objects is referred to as spatial relation. Often happening subconsciously, ways in which objects respond to each other impacts the use(s) of a particular space.
A Himalayan Journey By Abhijit Bose

A Himalayan Journey By Abhijit Bose

The beauty of The Himalayan Region is its color and mood. I explored almost every season and made trips towards Terrain Region. It was a treat to my senses when I used to watch changes in color of a region just fifteen minutes away from another place getting washed in torrential rain. I realized nature as the biggest chameleon.

Nude Photography Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the Nude Photography Awards. We are looking
for the best nude picture for this year, 2022.

Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of nude photography.

DEADLINE | SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2022

PHOTO BY © OLIVIER VALSECCHI
Underwater by Mike Potts

Underwater by Mike Potts

Underwater project was selected and published in our print edition 22. I see the water as a metaphor for a dream medium and I try to meet my subjects on that boundary and hope that we are able to take the viewer from tranquil peace to a burst of creation and back again.
A Space Odyssey-style evolution by Sonia Payes

A Space Odyssey-style evolution by Sonia Payes

A Space Odyssey-style evolution, is Alchemy (2021), a collection of 14 vibrant chromogenic prints. Each one reiterates the same basic composition and design, with Ilana’s avatar recurring indomitably across two orderly rows. 
Turin; You Do Not See by Riccardo Surace

Turin; You Do Not See by Riccardo Surace

The project titled What You Do Not See, Unordinary tells the story of the City of Turin, my city, seen through the eyes of passersby. All photographs have been captured with a long exposure technique; in other words, I mixed then history of the city with my own history, my life experience. In fact, after five years spent fighting a disease, my artistic purpose is primarily that of representing the all too familiar feeling when, as a young man wandering through the city, one feels invisible, and yet still he is thoroughly involved in its daily frenzy.

Featured Stories

Pets photography; Wet Dog by Sophie Gamand

Pets photography; Wet Dog by Sophie Gamand

Sophie Gamand is a French photographer living and working in New York. Since 2011, with both a documentary and artistic approaches,
Iceland by Ignacio Heras Castan

Iceland by Ignacio Heras Castan

The script of this sequence tries to convey the isolated way of life of many of the inhabitants of the Island, the different structures of houses, ships, churches that mix with the nature so characteristic of Iceland
Hyung S. Kim – Haenyeo: Women of the Sea

Hyung S. Kim – Haenyeo: Women of the Sea

The photographer, Hyung S. Kim who was inspired by the historical and geographical uniqueness of “Haenyeo” known as a female diver for living
Urban sprawl, emptiness by Emmanuel Monzon

Urban sprawl, emptiness by Emmanuel Monzon

This project was selected and published in our print edition 19. Deserts of the American West and their poetic and chaotic processions of motorway interchanges, cities without centers, residential zones without inhabitants.
Portraits by Ewa Cwikla

Portraits by Ewa Cwikla

The power of capturing the daily instant, to have the ability to convert the ordinary into a unique moment, because her camera and her life are two indissoluble concepts.
Photochemistry : Pears in the afternoon by Karoline Schneider

Photochemistry : Pears in the afternoon by Karoline Schneider

Originally a fine artist, I swapped my brushes for a camera and my colours for photochemistry. That’s how the ‘paintings’ that I never painted emerged.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/nude-banner.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Nude Photography Awards. Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of nude photography.

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/2022/09/mono2022.jpg

The best 100 images along with the winning images published in the yearly book “Monochromatic – Best Photographers of 2022”

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/banner23.jpg

Call For Entries #23 | After 22 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Nice Nosing You by Elke Vogelsang

Nice Nosing You by Elke Vogelsang

Born in 1972 Elke Vogelsang turned her professional life upside down later in life to leave a smoothly running and profitable but dull job as a translator to pursue what she loves - photography.
Acid Survivors by Jan Møller Hansen

Acid Survivors by Jan Møller Hansen

Acid attacks in Bangladesh are usually the result of land disputes, rejected marriage proposals, refusal or inability to pay dowry, resistance of being trafficked as sex worker or simply the desire for revenge.
Tokyo by Manol Valtchanov

Tokyo by Manol Valtchanov

Tokyo had always been a special place to me from my first visit. Since then, each of my travels there has meant a sort of break dedicated to an emotional research and sometimes even more to an inspirational flat-out.
La vida en disparos by Jose Girl

La vida en disparos by Jose Girl

Jose Girl is a Spanish photographer living in Los Angeles since 2010.Very related to the world of rock, she has to date published 3 books of photography on this subject, and has worked with some of the most important musical publications of Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia.
It´s just love by Sophie Ebrard

It´s just love by Sophie Ebrard

Pornography is the largest and most profitable market in the world today. However, the industry and its works are still subject to widespread scrutiny and taboo.
Religious devotion; Viernes Santo by Oliver Weber

Religious devotion; Viernes Santo by Oliver Weber

Ceremony of the funeral of god’s son Jesus. With the arrival of spring comes Easter week. It has centuries of history behind it and is one of Spain’s most authentic and emotive celebrations.

Trending Stories

Kashmir; The Earth’s paradise by Ankita Majumder

Kashmir; The Earth’s paradise by Ankita Majumder

Kashmir is Earth’s paradise , an alpine “ Switzerland ” for the Moghuls , ancient Srinagar, its capital city on the banks of Jhelum River, with nine bridges and waterways reminiscent of Venice.
Street show by Stéphane Navailles

Street show by Stéphane Navailles

Perhaps it is not as colourful as a ramble through the Guell Park, in Barcelona, but strolling along the streets in Paris or Strasburg is full of fleeting figures and elusive emotions.
BALI – Infrared by Marcel Rebro

BALI – Infrared by Marcel Rebro

Winner dodho awards - Traveling with art 2013 - The first time I smelled developer was in 1985 when I was memeber of National Sport Center (Parachuting) in Lučenec.
Living with albinism; Nude by Justine Tjallinks

Living with albinism; Nude by Justine Tjallinks

Living with albinism not only means an absence of pigmentation in the skin and hair, but also impairment in vision.
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
Circuses by Nicola Smaldore

Circuses by Nicola Smaldore

This photographic project documents the harsh reality of a few circuses that are still active .. In the era of technology; internet, virtual reality and social networks, most traditional circuses with wild animals are closing rapidly because of more restrictive laws and also as a result of public disinterest in this type of art.
Ten years ago; Dodital by Kaushik Dolui

Ten years ago; Dodital by Kaushik Dolui

Images were taken ten years ago during our trek to Dodital Darwa pass trek in Uttarakhand when digital technology has just begun to come in photography. Although the pictures are quite ordinary, but even  today it seems to be something special.
A Sort of Desperation: Self-Portraits by Jady Bates

A Sort of Desperation: Self-Portraits by Jady Bates

I have been locked inside since March. It has been almost a year and a sort of desperation is seeping in and seeping out. It is tangled and multi-layered, but deep and real.
City of the world; This is New York City – Johannes Heuckeroth

City of the world; This is New York City – Johannes Heuckeroth

NYC is the ONE city, the one that rules all other cities. I've always dreamed of visiting NYC since I saw the first movies featuring this amazing place. At the point when photography became a essential part of my life, I did not only yearn to visit the city,

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 contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.