Photographs by Rick Castro.
Presenting another guest post from John Wisniewski who back in May contributed an interview with William E. Jones about gay film director Fred Halsted. The subject this time is Rick Castro, pioneering bondage/S&M photographer, and also the proprietor of the Antebellum Gallery in Los Angeles which bills itself as the only fetish gallery in America. Castro has worked with Joel-Peter Witkin and Bruce LaBruce, and also photographed subjects as diverse as the Dalai Lama and Kenneth Anger, neither of them in bondage, unfortunately. As before, John offers a list of ten questions. Read on to discover why hustlers always used to wear white jeans (I have wondered about this)…
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John Wisniewski: When did you begin photographing?
Rick Castro: 1986…around June…. My first photo was of my longtime friend (and former GF!), Odessa. I was a wardrobe stylist at the time, so I dressed her like Morticia Addams. Very high contrast/high shadowed B&W.
My second photo was of Tony Ward. I cast him for his first “mainstream” photo shoot. Editorial for a now defunct men’s magazine, INSTYLE, (published by porn mag IN TOUCH). We were working for photographer Albert Sanchez at the time. Between takes I’d dressed him up in full leather fantasy—leather hood, harness, gauntlets, codpiece, boots and horsetail!
JW: Whom are some of your influences in photography and art?
RC: I like the dead guys: Brassai, Pierre Moliner, F. Holland Day, Julia Margaret Cameron, Otto Dix, Paul Cadmus, Egon Schiele, Tennessee Williams, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gilles De Rais.
JW: When did you meet fellow photographer Joel-Peter Witkin?
RC: Also during 1986, I bought Joel’s first book. At the back of the book was a request: “I am looking for people with physical deformations, amputees. Quadriplegics, burn victims, persons into extreme S&M, a woman with three breasts, geeks, pinheads, a woman with severe skin disease that will pose in an evening gown, anyone bearing the wounds of Christ, Christ.”
Later that year the new annex of Book Soup on Sunset Blvd hosted the first LA photo exhibit for Joel. I attended, introduced myself and gave him a stack of photos I had taken of my potential “models.” He called me the next morning. From then I worked with Joel on 13 of his most iconic photographs as a wardrobe stylist, costume designer, location scout, model scout, casting director, photo assistant, art director, make up artist and all around assistant.