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Kinky erotic portraits of Yukio Mishima

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In 1961, a young photographer named Eikoh Hosoe was asked by writer Yukio Mishima to take his portrait picture. It was a humbling yet surprising commission. Mishima was then Japan’s greatest living novelist—the author tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Hosoe was relatively unknown. The commission made Hosoe deeply curious as to why the great Mishima had chosen him.

When they met in the small garden at Mishima’s house, the author anticipated Hosoe’s question:

“I loved your photographs of Tatsumi Hijikata. I want you to photograph me like that, so I asked my editor to call you.”

“Mr. Mishima, do you mean I can photograph you in my own way?” I asked.

“Yes, I am your subject matter. Photograph me however you please, Mr. Hosoe,” he replied.

All my questions and anxiety faded.

The photographs Mishima so greatly admired were the ones Hosoe had taken of the dancer Tatsumi Hijikata. 

Hijikata was an originator of Butoh—an apocalytpic dance form developed in Japan after the Second World War in opposition to western influence. Mishima had similarly broken away from the prevailing western influence that had altered Japan after the war and during the 1950s. Mishima wanted a return of the Emperor and the ancient samurai traditions.

Mishima had been a puny kid. As he matured he changed his body through rigorous exercise and weight-lifting to become toned and highly athletic. His books often deal with the theme of the split between intellectual ambitions and the man of action.

His first novel Confessions of a Mask examined the “reluctant masquerade” between the perceived and actual life. Mishima was bisexual. He was married with two children but had an intense and active gay life. He was a sadomasochist, who believed in the living of a life through force of will. A life that he claimed adhered to the strict codes of the samurai. His books were fixed in this tradition—though his subject matter was preoccupied with sex and death. This led many critics in the west to misunderstand Mishima. One of my collegues here label him as a cross between “Proust and Jeffrey Dahmer.”

That fine day in September 1961, Hosoe quickly realized Mishima did not want a banal author portrait:

In offering himself as the “subject matter” of my photographs, I thought he might have wanted to become a dancer himself. I was still in my twenties then, so I was naïve. I did not make the distinction between an international literary figure and a dancer.

Mishima’s father happened to be watering the garden, so I grabbed his hose, and I wrapped Mishima’s entire body in the hose and kept him standing in the center of the zodiac, where he was planning to erect a statue of Apollo.

I asked him to look up and concentrate on my camera, which I was holding from a ladder above. I shouted, “Keep looking at my lens very intensely, Mr. Mishima! Okay, that’s great, keep going . . .” He never blinked while I shot two rolls of 35mm film. “I am proud of my ability to keep my eyes open for minutes,” said Mishima.

“I have never been photographed like this,” he said. “Why did you do it in this way?”

“This is the destruction of a myth,” I replied.

“You should wrap the hose around Haruo Sato,” he laughed. Haruo Sato was considered to be a literary giant at that time. But what I really meant was that I wanted to destroy the preconceived ideas about Mishima’s image in order to create a new Mishima.

After the shoot, Hosoe thought he may have gone too far. Two days later, Mishima phoned him to say he loved the photographs and wanted to collaborate with Hosoe on some more.

Over a period of six months Hosoe worked with Mishima on a series photographs which he hoped would capture the writer’s soul. These were eventually published as a book—with text by Mishima—called Ba-ra-kei or Ordeal by Roses.

In November 1970, Mishima together with four members of his secret army attempted a military coup. They broke into the eastern headquarters of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces taking the commanding officer prisoner. Mishima demanded 800 soldiers gather outside the offices to hear a speech and a list of demands he had written. Mishima hoped this speech would inspire the troops to rebel against the corruption of western influence and join his rebellion. Mishima wanted an end of democracy and a return of the Emperor. His rebellion was a literal union of the artist and man of action changing history.

The troops laughed and jeered as the author spoke. The coup failed. Mishima returned inside where he committed seppuku (self-disembowelment) before one of his soldiers attempted to decapitate him. After several blows failed to remove his head, another of his soldiers eventually managed to decapitate Mishima.

Mishima’s biographer John Nathan suggested this military coup was only a pretext for Mishima’s ritual suicide—something he had long dreamed about. In his short story “Patriotism” Mishima described an idealized seppuku where the central character pulls a blade across his abdomen cutting himself open:

The vomiting made the fierce pain fiercer still, and the stomach, which had thus far remained firm and compact, now abruptly heaved, opening wide its wound, and the entrails burst through, as if the wound too were vomiting. . . . The entrails gave an impression of robust health and almost disagreeable vitality as they slipped smoothly out and spilled over into the crotch. . . . A raw smell filled the room.

Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima taken in 1961 and 1962 capture the author’s terrible beauty, eroticism and conflicted sadomasochistic nature.
 
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More of Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Frankie goes to a bacchanalian gay fetish bar: The original, hilarious banned video for ‘Relax’


 
Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s 1983 single “Relax” is so gay. Specifically gay sex. It’s amazing that when the song first came out, the band actually tried to deny its obvious prurience. Two years later though, co-songwriter and bassist Mark O’Toole wrote in the liner notes of their follow-up album, “when people ask you what ‘Relax’ was about, when it first came out we used to pretend it was about motivation, and really it was about shagging.” It wasn’t the most forgiving time for explicit homoerotic sexuality, but the band was never apologetic, and really pushed the boundaries.

During an infamous Top of the Pops performance, frontman Holly Johnson actually tore up a copy of The Sun, the tawdry rag that had been harassing his parents at home for quotes about their gay son. “Relax” also had a 16-minute-long “Sex Mix” that was just a bunch of samples of water noises—apparently even gay bars refused to play it. Then there is the original music video for “Relax,” an unintentionally hilarious ode to gay hedonism, which was almost immediately banned.
 

 
Johnson says the video got pulled when “a big wig in the ‘Big Brother Broadcasting Company’” found his kids watching it. Later the record company asked them to make a second video, the one everyone now knows as the “Relax” video. The second video is dated, naturally, and Johnson describes it as “almost like a satire of a regulation pop video—you know, guys in makeup and laser beams, lots of looking at the camera.” To be fair, the song does contain the line “hit me with your laser beams,” but I think that might be referencing something a little less… literal.

The video is utterly ridiculous of course, but what strikes me is the relative tameness of the queer debauchery. Drag queens and leather daddies, some people in cages and on leashes, a lot of mesh tank tops and gratuitous contouring blush, an actual tiger, and a hedonistic old queen overseeing the entire spectacle while being shaved. Completely insane? Yes. Is there innuendo? Definitely (especially the rather obvious reference to water sports). But there’s nothing hardcore, and it’s hard to believe that a video featuring this kind of hetero sybaritism would have gotten banned.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘They call me Jurassic Mod’: Brits of a certain age, still deep into their subcultures


Isobel Varley
 
For his series Rebels Without A Pause, British photographer Muir Vidler captured the most daring and stylish renegades “of a certain age.” Muir seems to specialize in surreal portraiture, extreme events and settings with the odd flash of quiet. Other series include Israeli death metal fans, a circumcision party in the Maldives, and a beauty pageant in Libya, complete with a cameo by the late Colonel Gaddafi. His elder rebel study however, has an intimate feel, with little sense of spectacle to the staging.

Take for example, Isobel Varley (above), who held the Guinness World Record for the most tattooed female pensioner up until her death just this last May at the age of 77. Varley only started getting tattoos at 48, but went on to cover every square inch of her body except her face, her ears, the soles of her feet, and parts of her hands—even her scalp is tattooed, underneath the cute blond coif. Varley isn’t the only local celeb either. You can see video below of one of Muir’s most charming subjects, Paul Elvis Chan, who used to perform his Elvis impersonation act before a delighted audience at his Chinese restaurant.

My favorite though is Danny Lynch—aka, the Great Stromboli, who did his fire-breathing act for Muir with his adorable wife in the background. Muir remembers her as very hospitable:

Yeah, she was going into the house to make a cup of tea. She said, “Cup of tea darling?”, I said OK, then all of a sudden he was blowing fire and she was dashing off to put the kettle on. With the dog and the station wagon in the photo too, it was a very suburban backdrop.

Isn’t it so terribly quaint?
 

 

Mick and Peggy Warner, whose son is a Teddy Boy
 

John G. Byrne, gay skinhead since 1969
 

Sid Ellis, who says “In my spare time I either go to fetish clubs or do needlepoint. I like medieval tapestries.”
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Radical queer photographer documents S & M culture in ‘family photos’
04.30.2015
04:28 pm

Topics:
Queer

Tags:
photography
sadomasochism


 
Photographer Kevin Warth does queer family photography… sort of. His work is actually a re-imagining of the family within the BDSM scene. I sense a tongue-in-cheek diss to the bourgeois gay politics of the day—if you’re not looking to adopt or get married, does the mainstream LGBTQ movement really offer you anything?

From his artist’s statement:

In the series “Boy and his SIR: BDSM and the Queer Family”, I photograph constructed realities in which BDSM practices coexist with domestic and familial rituals. This body of work stems from my disidentification with moderate gay politics, which primarily concerns itself with the legalization of gay marriage and adoption. In response, I question if this normative family structure is a desirable goal for queer relations, or if other modes of kinship are more suitable.

Okay, so that’s pretty thick with post-structural academic influence for a series with ball-gags, Saran wrap and a K-Mart photo studio tableaux, but I think there’s a sense of humor here I really like! Plus, in this era of 50 shades of fan fiction, it’s really refreshing to see some average faces and bodies being kinky in a domestic setting.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Juxtapoz

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The gorgeous vintage S&M of trailblazing pornographer Jacques Biederer
04.13.2015
10:09 am

Topics:
Sex

Tags:
photography
sadomasochism
Jacques Biederer


 
Czech photographer Jacques Biederer began his Parisian career in 1913 with G-rated portraiture, but soon moved on to more prurient subject matter—though this was still fairly “conventional” sexy materials for the day—ladies in their underwear, really. Then Biederer went through a period of full-on classical nudes, sometimes with couples, sometimes shot “on location,” outdoors or on a carefully arranged set. Then he got into fetish photography—whips, domination, corseting, pony play—pretty scandalous stuff, but always shot with an artistic eye. Biederer was a forerunner of someone like Irving Klaw in the US.

Biederer’s work—whether a smiling ingenue or a dominatrix always valued composition, the emotions of his subjects, and sexuality—rather than simple sex mechanics. Even if it ain’t your bag, the photos are lovely and weird—they have a sense of humor about them they and aren’t misogynist or pretentious. His dames were often the doms, whipping their male slaves, but sometimes it was the other way around.These are some of the more “safe for work” pictures, but you can see (slightly) more explicit stuff here, though he never did anything “hardcore.” He also made some giggly stag films, but again, we’re talking a lot of cutesy, sapphic slap and tickle (literally, dude was apparently way into spanking).

When France was occupied by the Nazis, Biederer who was Jewish was sent to Auschwitz where he died.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment