In several interviews (e.g. Sylven & RbbrDutchRyder) on sadOsam we have had the pleasure to publish real great kink pictures which have been made by René Zuiderveld. In my eyes Good SM sessions and photo sessions have a lot in common. As more trust the involved have, as better the session becomes. Of course is the experience of the top/photographer and his knowledge also an important factor. And I think that René has this experience. I’ve talked to René and asked him to present himself.

René Zuiderveld

1950 | 183 cm | 86 kg
Amsterdam (NL)

I would like to tell how I started photography. I think it says a lot about my approach to capturing fetish ideas into images.

Following serious surgery and a long period of chemotherapy, I discovered photography quite by accident. Taking a compact camera along on my daily bike rides (meant to build my physical condition again), I began to document the environment I had lived in for several decades in. Amsterdam is a never ending inspiration.

Within no time photography grew into a passion that developed from architectural and nature photography to portraits…and finally to a specialization in male photography. 

In close cooperation with my models, I try create photos that show the male body in suggestive, playful and erotic images. My work often shows a sharp use of color, a nod to the kinky/fetish world, and sometimes joyful humorous eroticism. According to many those elements have given my photographs a recognizable signature, and they quickly earned me invitations to exhibit my work. 

In my photography I search for imagery that always places the human being in the centre, showing an aspect of eroticism that is mostly considered as an underground and often also subversive aspect of male eroticism. The domestic and theatrical settings of many of my images on the other hand also emphasize trust, strength, warmth and longing. 

On many of my images I have had  various reactions – some just simply 

appreciate the playful aspect in many of my photos, while others read messages of subtle comment on inequality in society in my fetish photography.

My primary objective in creating my work though is a close collaboration with my models and, through that process, achieving imagery that invites viewers to finish what they see by using their own fantasy.

A connection with my models is absolutely a necessity. Without a playful relaxed atmosphere and trust I don’t feel inspired. Whatever the theme of photo shoot may be, whether fetish/kink or playfully erotic, it is a mentally extremely intimate process. Often I have experienced that the mental connection during a photo session is far more personal and intimate than the physical aspect of such a session.

Being physically naked is quite different from sharing insecurities, shyness. 

All I can do in these moments is making sure my models feel at ease, which can only happen when we team up and collaborate. 

Photography is an illusion. At least often it is. There are so many different approaches to taking pictures. 

Lots of guys prefer to show bdsm elements in their images without them being actual action pics. In a studio setting a more artistic translating of those elements works best. Those images tease the viewers and make them fantasize about what happened or what will happen. Creating images that the viewer can finish in his own fantasy often inspires me.

I have done “sexual action” shoots though. Important for me is to make myself unnoticed as much as I can. How annoying can it be when a photo grapher is overly present to catch the best light. That can kill the vibe, the horniness. And yet I sometimes will have to be in the way to get the best perspective. So also then we need to create the best trusting connection we can.

Jokingly I often say, please go ahead and play, I won’t look. 

A truly successful photo session for me is the one of which you remember the entire process of creating images. And not the one of which you only think of a few good pictures.

I have hardly ever seen my photography as a hot or exciting process. It is not about how I feel or about what I consider hot or exciting. And if ever there is, it is the mental aspect of it. The possibility you get to bond with your model(s). I consider myself extremely lucky in knowing that many of my models have become friends. Seeing them come over to have a coffee, to maybe do some pictures, to spend time together, to talk, laugh, chat.

When I moved to Amsterdam over 45 years ago I could finally come out of the closet and live my live freely and openly. A crazy, openminded city that had kept the best aspects of the hippie era. Known as the gay capital of Europe it offered me just about anything I needed to discover my sexuality. Disco, bars, sauna and freedom, lot of it. 

It didn’t take long for me to visit gay leather bars. The combination of leather (rubber was far less visible in the ’70’s) and bdsm was something I simply had to discover, investigate, experience. I can’t even think back to how I was so drawn to it. It was simply there and never changed since. 

I bought magazines and books on that topic, looked for images wherever I could (not always easy in pre internet years), because I had to feed my voyeuristic need.

Funny, in a way, to discover more than three decades later that voyeurism would be my motivation for photography. 

Although I am not exclusively focused on fetish/kink photography my work appeals to the fetish and kink scene specifically. An ideal situation to live a fetish life style without actually actively living it.  

You know, I have done a lot of erotic stuff in my life, experimented a lot, had an enormous amount of fun, but now photography took over. 

My days of active sexual exploits me be mostly over, I am very happy to offer my photographic services to guys in order to capture their desires in images.

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