Spuiten, maar vooral slikken

Spuiten, maar vooral slikken

Op mijn telefoon verscheen een onbekend nummer en ik besloot tegen mijn gewoonte in toch op te nemen. Een kinderlijk klinkend stemmetje vroeg of ik Hans van der Kamp was.

Ja, dat was ik, maar er zijn veel mensen die zo heten.

‘U bent toch de Nestor van de BDSM-fotografie?’ vroeg ze.

Ik dacht na of er nog oudere mensen dan ik waren die zich verdienstelijk met BDSM-fotografie bezighielden en ik zag een paar gezichten voor me, maar ik kon er zo snel geen namen aan koppelen. In plaats daarvan probeerde ik de benoeming BDSM-fotograaf wat af te zwakken. BDSM was immers zeker niet het enige thema in mijn werk. Het meisje liet zich echter niet van de wijs brengen.

‘Ik hoor anders van alle kanten dat u de beste BDSM-fotograaf van Nederland bent.’

Als oude man klinken teksten uit de mond van een jonge vrouw al snel als een compliment, maar nu moest ik zonder dat er enig causaal verband was toch denken aan een pornofilm met de titel: ‘Interview met de Koningin van de Anale Seks’ die ik in een ver verleden had gezien.

Het meisje had immers gemeld dat ze namens een door jongeren veel bekeken televisieprogramma belde. De vraag of jongeren nog tijd hadden om televisie te kijken, slikte ik tijdig in. Fotografie is geen gouden handel meer en alle aandacht voor eigen toko is meegenomen.

Het werd een gezellig gesprek dat duidelijk moest dienen als een voorronde van een mogelijk later interview in dat televisieprogramma.

Mijn antwoorden op haar vragen waren haar te zakelijk, te neutraal misschien, dus op een gegeven moment haalde zij duidelijk hoorbaar diep adem en kwam ze met de vraag aller vragen. ‘Oké, oké, zo gaat dat dan bij zo’n fotoshoot, maar daarna? Ik bedoel: wat gebeurt er DAARNA?

‘Nou, dan ga ik meestal even een dutje doen,’ antwoordde ik geheel naar waarheid.

Ik hoorde de spanning wegebben. Ik was gezakt voor het toelatingsexamen Sensatie en Vertier, dat was duidelijk.

‘Ja, ik moet natuurlijk voor het definitieve interview nog even toestemming vragen aan mijn eindredacteur, zei ze. ‘Ik bel u over een week terug.’

Dat was een half jaar geleden. Het is beter zo, denk ik.

Goodbye, Uncle Sam!

Goodbye, Uncle Sam!

For a while now I have been considering going back to the United States, just for a visit to the old places where I once lived, but I have totally given up on that idea. President Trump was a good reason not to go but he does not represent the majority of Americans. Certainly not the ones I care for.

This morning I read the news and after a few lines it was clear to me. I will never ever go back to the USA, not for a million dollars. I read that US customs officials are considering to ask foreigners for passwords of all their mobile devices while entering the Land of the Free. It is silly of course, because every traveller will check before leaving for he US whether his or her device has information on it that could possible trigger suspicion. So, the bad guys will invent beter ways to cover up data. One of the easiest methods is to store sensitive data on paper in a language Americans don’t understand. That gives them a wide range of languages to choose from because Americans as a rule only speak English and not very well either.

Any foreign language is like 256-bits encryption to them.

Most of us are aware that if we visit the US chances are we will be shot by a policeman, or by some person who owns a collection of automatic weapons and happens to be mentally ill at the same time. Staying in Europe however will drastically increase your odds of actually being hit by an attack of terrorists who are sick and tired of America’s meddling in the Middle East.

As a direct result of American aggression Europe is being invaded by thousands of fugitives every week. That is supposed to be our problem. Right wing extremists here blame the Islam but it makes a lot more sense to blame the USA.

So years after 9/11 we can safely state that Osama Bin Laden and the many terrorists after him have won. Looking at the USA as the land of the free has become a joke.

If there is any good in all of this, I guess leaking all that classified information about secret backdoors in our mobile devices has made American officials quite humble. No relying on state of the art technology any more. They now have to ask for your password instead.

Innocent nude photographs

Innocent nude photographs

I have read it maybe a hundred times in the media. An innocent nude photograph can ruin a girl’s life forever. As a photographer with 40 years of experience I am not too sure if this is actually true.

We must ask ourselves what the definition ‘innocent nude photograph’ means. The first thing we have to understand is that the meaning of the words ‘innocent nude photograph’ change rapidly over time. I vividly recall the 1970s when photographer David Hamilton who photographed very young girls in a hazy, pseudo-romantic environment was highly popular. Despite the graininess of the photographs his pictures were quite revealing. An example of a typical Hamilton photograph: an extremely young model kissing a slightly older girl.

These pictures were called fine art photography and they were praised because they were supposed to be celebrating the innocence of youth. Camera company Minolta used these pictures to promote their cameras. In 1980s and 1990s this way of thinking changed. Suddenly the works of David Hamilton were labeled ‘child pornography’ and I tend to agree with that. I believe in age limits for photography.

After a few lawsuits and a nearly complete ban on his works, Hamilton committed suicide.

Now, in 2017, it seems that every photograph showing a nipple is considered to be provocative, even if the nipple shows on a picture of a woman breastfeeding her child. So, from a pragmatic point of view one could say that ‘innocent nude photographs’ no longer exist. All nude photographs are to be considered ‘guilty nude photographs’ from now on. I know, the words ‘guilty nude photographs’ as the exact opposite of ‘innocent nude photographs’ sound odd, because photographs do not have a mind of their own.

Photographers and models obviously have a mind of their own and they are to be considered ‘guilty’ if you happen to believe that human nudity is offensive. You also have to ask yourself why you think the natural human form is offensive or obscene. My best guess is that you have been taught to think that way. By whom? By your parents or most probably by social media run by people who do not want to displease advertisers who hate distraction from their sales messages. Because however decent we are, most of us do like to look at nude photography. Statistics show that we even prefer looking at pornographic pictures.

Hypocrisy is not a philosophy, although many seem to think so. We are all voyeurs in one way or another. Some people prefer to look at images of people being cut in half by machine guns, others get a kick from watching Tsunamis on YouTube, gamers get a high from killing virtual opponents, we are all animals of some sort.

It is not the photograph that ruins people’s lives, it is the social embedding in which it is taken and shown that may ruin lives. If you are surrounded by sexually frustrated bullies expect to be bullied if you show yourself in the nude on a photograph. Just take a look at the last scandal in the US Marine Corps. These Marines, prepared to kill innocent people if ordered to do so, formed a Facebook group to post pornographic pictures of their female colleagues and of course they were enthusiastically posting degrading comments.

The news is brought to the world as if this is a surprise. I feel badly for the women are who are victims of these actions, but why would you want to be in the Marine Corps in the first place? Despite your poor American education you must have had some knowledge that the Marine Corps is and has been illegally invading countries for decades to celebrate American exceptionalism?

So, if one of these Marines points an iPhone at you while you are happily sucking dick, know who are you dealing with and do not blame the smart phone or digital photography, but the man or woman taking he photographs. Just say no, and if the person does not comply, file him for sexual harassment. And if that hurts your position within the Marine Corps, you have simply chosen the wrong profession. You were trained to kill, so don’t go all soft when your position is in danger because of your own gullibility.

In my archives there are numerous photographs taken decades ago of people who are now in positions that these photographs could really hurt their careers. They are worth quite a lot of money if I would sell them to the media. I shall never do that because that would result in professional suicide. I depend on the trust of the people I photograph. There are many photographers like me who have that kind of material and they would not publish those images for the same reason. Professional photographers are trained to know about the legal responsibilities that come with photography and since everybody is a photographer now, it is time to educate people about those same liabilities.

Safety first

Safety first

The Internet is becoming a dangerous place. We knew that all along but we always felt that it was sufficient to protect certain pages with password systems and in 21 years none of our password protected sites were ever really hacked, mostly thanks to a company specializing in membership software called s2member.com.

This new site however is built on Buddypress and WordPress. Both are quite heavy on load, especially if you need lots of extra functionality that is supplied by add-ons — or plugins as they are called in WordPress. Each plugin has its own load on the server and although s2member is remarkably lightweight for its many options, we decided not to use it here, because we will not have a payment system on this site. It is basically a small network for friend and models. Anybody can register, but all registrations go through a screening test and not all members get access to all groups.

This way we protect our models and the photographs. But to solely depend on WordPress security seemed like a gamble too. WordPress is regularly updated and quite secure, but we decided to add SSL encryption to the site.

There was an additional reason for that. There is this Google initiative to promote web safety. Through their own browser Chrome they warn people for sites such as these that collect passwords and data if they are not encrypted through SSL. This also has an effect on the Google listings. As far as we know this site is not prominently listed at all in Google since it is pretty new, but we do not want to hurt future listings either.

Model Sets

Model Sets

As a photographer I always work with a publication or an exhibit in mind and I rarely use more than one image of the person I photographed. Selecting photographs from a three or four hour photo session is not easy, certainly if you have to pick the best pictures just a few days after it all happened. You still have vivid memories of the person you photographed and somehow that disturbs the process of selecting the best pictures. I cannot completely explain why this is, but a selection made after half a year or even a year after the shoot always delivers better photographs.

Of course I cannot ask models to wait that long to see what I have produced. So a primary selection is made within a week after photography. It is not a quick selection, I take my time and I look for the photographs the model will most likely appreciate. In the end 10 or 20 photographs go through post-processing. After that I rarely look at these pictures until I need material for a show or a publication. Then I go through all those pictures once more and I often come up with a different selection. I strongly believe that there can only be one best photograph in each series and that is obviously the one I am looking for.

The model sets are interesting in a completely different fashion. They show how a photo shoot of hours slowly evolves, how directions pay off, how a model slowly relaxes, etc. Some of these pictures end up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. If I am lucky they are not cropped, filtered or otherwise tampered with. If I am really, really lucky I even get a photo credit, but that rarely happens. Lately I happen to photograph a lot of BDSM Dominatrixes and it is often not in their mindset to say thank you or to give a photo credit. In their perception every man is a slave. They confuse their profession with day to day reality.

I don’t mind the lack of a photo credit too much because these same people are often also the ones who like to filter, crop or disproportionally resize my pictures. I do not need a credit for other people’s violation of my copyright. Some Dominatrixes are emotionally disturbed beings who cover up their insecurities with a lot of shining armor, many slaves in their entourage and grotesque behavior. Well, no need to get upset about the mentally ill, they cannot help themselves.

But back to the model sets. Lately I decided they deserve a place of their own and I created a closed group on this site, where only the models and a few trusted people can have a look at these sets. No need to sign up for a free registration on the site, because all registrations are closely monitored and one needs an invite to enter the group.

Too old

Too old

It seems I am slowly withdrawing from the Internet. I believe it is safe to say I was one of the pioneers in 1994 when a limited supply of Internet connections became available in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In January this year I deactivated my personal Facebook account for many reasons. One of the more important reasons was that I simply can’t stand the way how the nerds who run the show there deal with nudity. However, I left my professional photography page up at FB. I must have had a very good reason when I decided to do so, but I forgot what it was, so I might deactivate that page too.

In a way a large network like FB is a ‘global society’ governed by a single corporation. Or by just one sexually frustrated nerd, if you please. If that is not enough to scare the hell out of people, nothing ever will.

I still have Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and a few others, but I rarely use these accounts. I really see no point in using them. I am too old to fake enthusiasm for things that do not interest me. It is okay to know that some star in some forgotten movie has died, but I really do not need to be reminded of this dramatic event by thousands of network users individually. I don’t need to know what my ‘friends’ are having for lunch either. And for fuck’s sake… I really do not need to know their religious and political views. It is just too much information.

The Internet has changed a lot over the years. We now live in an era where Internet connectivity is built into almost every object. In my humble opinion the smart phone is the most obnoxious gadget around. I have photo models sitting in front of me checking their phones every 20 or 30 seconds. It reminds me of the Sony Walkman in the 1980s. In case of an emergency like a blazing fire on the first floor you had to literally tear the head phones from people’s heads to get your message through.

But most of all people handle smart phones like they used to go for their cigarettes anytime someone asked them a question that wasn’t easy to answer. I try to be polite about it, but it is my strong conviction that smart phones not only promote antisocial behavior, but they will also stress you to death much faster than any amount of cigarettes will ever make you suffer from terminal cancer.

So, I created this little social network that will most probably never host more than fifty people so I may enjoy social networking in one way or another. For the rest I will focus on what I like to do best — photography.

Hans van der Kamp