What’s Your Fetish?

On the crest of the “Fifty Shades Of Grey” wave, I was invited along to a proper, well established & respected fetish club in the Elephant & Castle, South London to soak in & photograph what goes on behind those velvet doors & more importantly, meet some of the clientele that frequent these places. As you can imagine with such an establishment, discression was of paramount importance & I was instructed explicitly to only shoot in certain areas, as well as making it very clear to one & all whom I was & where the imagery was intended to be published.

We started off with a quick portrait session before the club got too busy with my journalist Holly Thomas, whom was also there taking in the event & suitably kitted out in a shimmering red PVC number.


We managed to squeeze in two locations before the club got too busy; the above spot in the VIP room on the upper level.

Photo 06-04-2015 7 51 22 pmBefore moving onto the suspended cages on the dancefloor, which was already filling up. I’m really pleased we managed to shoot this sequence as it was my favourite shot of the night mixing the ambient light from the dancefloor & my portable studio rig,

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBOnce we wrapped up the portraiture, we went our seperate ways for a wander. I was expecting a certain amount of hostility from the patrons; partly because of the whacking great camera around my neck & partly because of my attire, or lack of it (unsurprisingly I don’t own any fetish clobber, so instead stuck to the house rules of all black- but still felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb!), but everyone was really friendly. I got plenty of knock-backs on the night. Not surprising, really considering the eclectic mix of patrons in attendance. Most were happy for me to take their photograph, but once I explained I was shooting for the Metro newspaper, London’s morning commuter companion, most of my early acquaintances became sheepish about pictures. This young couple were my first yes of the evening (thank you guys!).

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBI moved from the now heaving dancefloor area to a stunning red corridor where I set up a small honeycomb rig to make the light extremely tight & directional as not to catch any of the other patrons by mistake in the back of shot. It seemed to be one of the main meeting points for guests & was steadily busy. the house lights were also a little kinder, which meant it was easier to spot someone coming along that I thought would fit well with the piece.

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBI shot a handful of people before the PR pointed out that this area was called the Dungeon; an area on my brief designated as off limits, I showed her a couple of shots on the back of my camera & she was happy with what she saw & allowed me to stay in the dungeon area, although as it, too was now filling up, i’d have to move further along it to a quieter corner.

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBWhich actually worked out brilliantly as I now had a proper spot right next to one of the private rooms, which meant I had people asking me for a picture, not the other way around!

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBWe got a fantastic spectrum of clients including the couple above who have been on the fetish scene for over a decade.

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBThese guys were also a favourite. The young lady on the left wearing a wedding dress.



METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBThe two gorgeous young ladies above were the last I shot in the dungeon & I was very happy with my output for the evening, so I headed for the door but got hopelessly lost in the darkness of the enormous, packed club. I ended up stumbling out into a smoking area & straight into this young lady.

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBA university student whom spends her evenings sewing the intricate, elegant outfits you see above. Standing right next to her was this couple;

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBThe gent on the left is also a photographer & we ended up having a right old chat about our cameras. By this point in the evening, it was very late & I had an early start the following day, but everywhere I looked, there were guests that looked amazing. Being out in the open air smoking area & away from the loud music of the main club, I was able to actually converse properly with the guests, which was really great.


A huge majority of the people i’d bumped into were couples, many married, which was probably why the vibe was so relaxed.

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBAs I wrapped up with the gents above, it started to rain so I rushed hurredly to the exit trying not to notice anyone else in case they’d be pictorial when sod’s law I ran into this showstopping blonde, whom I just had to photograph.

METRO FEATURES : FETISH CLUBWhat a fantastic shoot & a really great evennig. My Editors were happy with the shots & the piece got a great showing the following week.

10981739_827621690643218_3221518669100227640_nThis was a shoot I took on completely blind. This is not a world i’ve had any personal contact with & know very little about. I had absolutely no idea what i’d get (or be allowed to get) out of it & was left gobsmacked at just what an open door this seemingly underground realm really is. For all the (pleasant) knockbacks I got throughout the evening, I had twice as many positive responses & willing subjects eager to tell me about their experiences. This was a blog I felt compelled to pull together as a big wet thank you kiss to everyone I bumped into that evening. There are only so many picture slots in the paper & this was also my way of publishing a few more images of the willing patrons I met that evening. Big thank you’s are due to the London Torture Gardens & their team for their hospitality. A special mention is also due to the lovely PR Charlotte who took care of us on the night.

There is an old house music label that I used to love called Fetish Records & from the moment I was given this shoot, I couldn’t get their music out of my head, so as I jumped in my car & headed home, I stuck on Joey Youngman‘s first album & nodded my head all the way home. If you can track down a copy, i’d highly recommend it.


My day-to-day snappery can be found on EyeEm. You can also follow my day-to-day activities on the Facebook & Twitter Channels…


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