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I want to show people that submissiveness is something beautiful, vulnerable, yet strong.

In our last interview with the kinky photographer Dylan, we have also been talking about the dominance of photographers. The photographer with me today is not only a Dom and photographer but also a professional army officer. Seems that he really likes to be in charge and to lead other guys.

Hey Arjan. If you have a slave boy with you, is it more the feeling of submission he is gifting you, or to feel yourself in charge and responsible for the situation you love?

I like the interaction where the guy gives me control and permission to do what I like. For me, the fun is to discover what my partner enjoys or dislikes and what sensations work for him. But for me to be able to do this, I need him to trust me into taking care of him.

You’re totally right. Trust is the base of good sm, but it needs time. If you look back, when have you discovered that kink sex is more what you like, and what have been your first steps into the kink world? 🙂

I never really thought of fetish and anything like it until just a few years ago. I was studying at the Photography Academy and one of my teachers asked me to do a project for Hello Gorgeous Magazine. At the presentation of the magazine I met a couple of photographers, one of them was Taco Smit who is known in the fetish world. But at that moment, it still didn’t trigger me.

A few months later, I had arranged for myself to make portraits at the Milkshake Festival, an event for gay people. Here they had created a “Fetish street” where I got in touch with it for the first time.

I was still in the closet at that time, but I noticed how different the people were, than I expected them to be. Here I also met Taco again, and he invited me to come to Darklands in Antwerpen to make photos there. From here on I started my own discovery in the world of Fetish and accepting myself as being gay.

When it comes to the fetish side of it, it provides a deeper layer when you are connecting with someone. Where ‘regular’ sex can be very superficial, whenever I include fetish it is build on trust and builds a requirement of a deeper connection.

So the fetish photography has helped you to discover yourself?

My photography has and is still helping me to discover who I am. Although the projects I do tell something about the guys I photograph, they always tell something about me.

Part of it is my admiration for the submissive guys, in their vulnerability lies a lot of strength and beauty. Although, when I talk to people, I often notice how they see a submissive person just as weak.

Even if SM is playing with stereotypes of inferiority and superiority, it doesn’t mean that submissive guys are weak and less valuable. Trust is the base and this trust has to be earned, even more as a Master, because the decision to submit is a free one. You’re working in a field in which institutional authority is part of your daily life (even if that has also changed a lot in armies) but in BDSM the personal authority is the key and the slave is free to decide if he accepts you as Master and if he wants to submit to you.

In life, between black and white, there is a lot of gray. I don’t think everything is always just one side or the other. For instance, when you look at the different roles in life one could see me as an officer, as a photographer, or private with fetish. My role is different in every situation. Some times I am more dominant than others.

The similarity in all these roles comes to trust, this is an important aspect in all relations whether socially or in work. Only when you can trust the other person, the relationship works. For instance, you wouldn’t work for your boss if you didn’t trust him to make the right decisions. With SM play, this is the same, I need to trust someone who is submissive to tell me his boundaries. If he doesn’t do so, there is the risk of me crossing his lines, which would result in a bad experience. On the other hand, it is up to me to work on the acceptance of the other guy when it comes to my decisions. Only when everything in the play is in balance, it is fun to meet up again and again.

If I watch the fetish photos you’ve done, I can hardly believe that you’re kind of new into kinks. The pics show a lot of emotions, you have to know how to provoke. Is that a natural talent or hard work? And what kind of story do you want to tell the viewer of your art work?

Being in the closet for 38 years, I have learned how to provoke people to stay out of my business. I guess when needed, I can trigger this with people.

But mostly I work with natural people and their real and pure emotions. I prefer that to working with “professional models”. I do this by creating a specific setting and talking about the emotions we all have. This does require me to choose specific people from who I expect they can show these emotions.

The story I want to tell people can be very different. But overall, I want to show people that submissiveness is something beautiful, vulnerable yet strong.

Can you tell us with the example of one of your pictures how you have prepared the models for that picture?

This year I won the Morepixx Fetish Photography Award with a photo that combined Fetish and dance.

I wanted people to see that fetish is more than sexual pleasure. So I asked @Masterpuppyke and his boyfriend @dutchpupmomo to work on this project. Because they know what fetish is, I could easily explain what I wanted to create. Of course with a dancer it is easy to have them create specific visualizations. For the sub, it was a lot harder to really be the bottom of the image. Having someone really dance on you multiple times requires a lot of determination.

So the weak and vulnerable sub guy has had to be very strong!?! 😉 Do you think that to sub to someone, to deliver your self into such a vulnerable situation, is a strong decision? A decision which, if you aren’t just a stupid guy, is driven by clear desires, needs and knowledge about what satisfy yourself?

Yes I agree. It requires a strong mind to choose for your desires and a lot of courage to give others control.

I disagree to the fact that a sub is weak. Showing your vulnerable side requires character. Even in daily life, people often try to hide their vulnerable side. In my opinion, a sub guy has to be very strong to be able to bring themselves into such a vulnerable situation.

If a guy is actually weak of character, making him submissive could result into losing balance between each other. In these cases I wonder if we are still talking about sm or the exploration of boundaries that could result in abuse.

But the decision of a sub to put himself in a submissive position, should be driven by strong desires. However, this does require that the submissive guy has a lot of self-knowledge and the courage and desire to discover himself as well.

What’s the beauty of submissiveness?

For me, the beauty is the double layers of it. The submissive guy is always vulnerable, and although seemingly depending on the dominant person, on the other side they are always in control.

In my photography, I catch these pure moments in the beautiful lighting of their body, but always with a focus on their real emotions. Using black and white often strengthens this emotion and takes away the attention and distraction of colours.

Now I’ve really got to ask where people can watch your artwork? Do you have an exhibition planned, and are there other ways to see your kink photography?

Unfortunately, with Covid-19, most events and also exhibitions have been cancelled. At the Mister B store in Amsterdam, they had a small group exhibition. For now, people can see my fetish work at the Zerp Galerie in Rotterdam and my website. I do hope to find new chances for expositions, so if people have opportunities or ideas, feel free to send them in 😜 …

I know next year Morepixx will organize an interesting expo during Folsom at the Schwulenmuseum. Here you can see some of my work for sure.

I know a photographer has always some projects in mind. Can you tell us about your kink ideas you have for upcoming projects?

Hahahahhahaa yes. The next project I am working on contains some puppies who are very curious and in the process of discovering themselves. But I am always working on many projects at the same time.

You know, how in daily life, people sometimes just walk over you? Step on you? Use you like a doormat? I see this happening around me to often, and it has triggered me. This forms an image in my mind, which I am working on. Between the emotion and idea, and the actual possibilities to create that image, lies time. It required different assets to come together at the same time. I need a good location, the right model, the time and tools. When all of these things match, I have the chance to create a new image.

It’s almost like gardening, taking a lot of time to grow … before I can harvest. On the other hand, there is always the cuteness, shyness and curiosity of new puppies that can be fun for photoshoots. But than again, these photos have a different depth than images I work on for a long time.

Arjan Spannenburg

1978 | 194 cm | 104 kg
Almere (NL)

Website | Twitter

Hey, if you're cruising on KINKFINITY, you probably know I'm the master of this fetish blog. BDSM isn't just sex for me; it's a lifestyle I've embraced for over 25 years. Along the way, I've met some fantastic kinksters—some dropping by my massive 200m2 dungeon for parties, others for days or weeks, and a few as 24/7 long-term slaves. Swing by my Bluesky account for more:

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