Photography at BDSM events and a warning about rogue photographers

There are in the UK bdsm scene generally accepted rules about the taking of photographs at BDSM/Fetish events.

Cameras are usually banned, and for good reasons!

But if photography is allowed by the organiser that ,such is the stigma attached by some people to bdsm, it is vital the following rules are observed to protect people present:

  • ALL persons present who subsequently appear in a photograph have to give their explicit permission.
  • Even if the organisers say that photography is allowed the photographer must seek permission from all in shot before, during or after the shoot.
  • No photographs should be kept that depict a person in a bdsm scene or which show them in a bdsm or fetish venue if you don't have permission from ALL the people in the picture.
  • If requested to destroy images by someone in the picture for which you have not got a signed, legal, model release you MUST destroy the image and notify the person of your actions. Your whole credibility as a scene photographer hangs on trust.
  • Politeness costs nothing and will often help your shoot. The opposite also applies!
    A general rule is ASK before bringing a camera out and ASK if you can take a picture of someone (and ASK all in the background who may be in shot). If anyone objects before, during or after the shoot ... destroy the images.
    If the model's face is shown, or the model can be identified in any way, the photographer MUST gain permission to publish them. In law 'to publish' also means to show the images any third party, including a friend.
    If they are for possible commercial use you MUST get signed model release forms.

    Some so-called 'professional' scene photographers seem to think that they are above these guidelines and that they can just ignore model releases and permissions. I am sorry to say that bravelady and I have met one at a private play party and have suffered by it. Let's just call this pond-life 'X'.
    'X' continues to blatantly ignore several of the above generally accepted guidelines.
    We met 'X at a private play party in the summer during which he started to take photographs using a digital camera of , amongst others, bravelady and myself playing. 'X' was clearly informed that he could not keep them or use our images without our specific permission being sought. He verbally agreed to send copies of all images with us on them to bravelady via email. Despite subsequent repeated email requests to him by her for those images, he has failed to do so, nor even reply to her emails. Until this time we have received no satisfactory explanation for his actions.
    Several months after the party I sent 'X' a PM ( a private message - not for publication) requesting he destroy the images of bravelady and myself taken at a private play party as he did not have any form of model release for them. His reply was that nobody told him what to do and that he would not destroy them. He then posted all the PM messages to a public forum, adding defamatory remarks about myself, and proceeded to threaten me. I posted copies of his messages on this site so that people could judge him by his own actions and words.
    What we now have had is a dubious threat of legal action if we continued to name him on this site. It is obvious to me that 'X' has no regard to scene ethics, manners or behaviour, as any legal action would require the public revelation ('outing') of all people who attended that spanking party who could be called by either side as witnesses.
    Unlike 'X', I am not prepared to 'out' friends and acquaintances by having to defend a spurious and highly dubious court action brought by a such a piece of low-life. I do not know why he wishes to keep images of people at play parties for which he has no model releases or permission to film ...... but I suspect knowing his manner that the reason may not be one that would be of comfort to the subjects of his filming. Knowing 'X's provable lack of ethics I hope nobody in those images becomes famous!
    For a so-called 'professional' scene photographer 'X's actions are deplorable and his actions are now well known in the BDSM scene. I think his days of being able to take images at play parties may well be numbered.
    That is why I strongly recommend that NO photographs are allowed at play parties unless written permission is granted by the subject and ALL in the shot.
    'X' will certainly be banned from taking photographs in any club or event where I or my friends are Dungeon Masters.
    In future I will not take anyone's word re photographs and I will prevent photos being taken of myself or bravelady - by whatever means are neccesary!