WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PICK UP A CAMERA?
I guess I've always been a voyeur at heart. I enjoy watching my surroundings and seeing how people behave. My first dive into photography was to capture nature and landscapes. I traveled a bit and had the opportunity to see diverse climates and settings. In 2006 my family grew and travels became less frequent. I felt the need to keep feeding my photography bug, but needed a changing subject without traveling around. At this point I put together my first studio lighting set up, shot my first human subject, and have never looked back.
WHAT PARTICULAR CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE WITH EROTIC PHOTOGRAPHY AS OPPOSED TO OTHER GENRES?
Erotic photography will always have critics. The line between what people consider art and smut is as diverse as the human population. While at a rational level I do not seek "approval" of the general population, at the emotional level approval it is definitely a factor. I sometimes feel like I need to justify the artist value of my work and that definitely can dilute the creation process. My greatest challenge is an internal struggle to better understand why an erotic image I create is compelling to me. Is it the composition, is it the emotion, is the sensuality, or is it simply the nudity. Each has merit in it's own way, but I find that I want to understand the basis for my image. Perhaps this is my own struggle at defining my line between art and smut.
An addition challenge is simply dealing with two very different halves of my life. My day job is far removed from any artistic goals, but as a person I bridge the two worlds. Trying to explain my photography to half my world is almost too much of a challenge. I simply don't discuss it, and if I do, I'm always concerned that they'll focus on the nude aspects without trying to understand the images as a whole.
DO YOU PREFER TO SHOOT WITH FILM OR DIGITAL?
I definitely prefer digital. I'm impatient by nature, and need to see immediate results. I don't feel I grew as a photographer until my first DSLR which allowed instant feedback. Once I shortened the learning cycle, I really began to better understand the entire process. I do want to do more work with film, simply for the experience if nothing else. However, digital will always be my format of choice.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN FETISH/BDSM?
My interest in the fetish genre and lifestyle comes from the aesthetic of the people who live their lives in this manner. There's a certain darkness and base instinct that seems to be present in the fetish culture. I find the emotions and imagery generated fascinating to observe and document. I also feel that the fetish culture is about exploration and experimentation. My own personality is fairly reserved and controlled. I think that by shooting fetish subjects I'm learning about how to be more open and expanding my personal horizons.
DO YOU ENJOY FETISHISM/BDSM PLAY IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE, AND IF SO WHAT ARE YOU INTO?
For the most part, fetishism doesn't play into my personal life. My exploration of the fetish world is strictly though the lens. Folks who know me outside of my photography would think of me as being a very lighthearted and upbeat guy. I always try to make people laugh at silly jokes. I think that one of the reasons that I enjoy shooting darker, more sensual subject matter is that it's my personal way of expressing those emotions. Some folks express these emotions through their actions or wardrobe. I express them in print.
DO YOU THINK PINUP AND FETISH ARE BECOMING PART OF THE MAINSTREAM CULTURE?
I do think that fetish and pinup is becoming more acceptable in mainstream culture. More and more you see references to fetish fashion, fetish sexuality, and the idea that embracing your sensual self is a good thing. I expect that these ideas will slowly grow to be much more accepted in mainstream culture. I do think that it's inevitable that a backlash occurs with a counter movement in another direction. For many the excitement of a subculture wanes once it becomes acceptable. Who knows that subculture might evolve next.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER CREATIVE MEDIUMS YOU WORK IN?
My mental vision to hand coordination is horrible. Photography is my preferred medium since I can create using live people and electrons in the computer. Give me a pencil and paper and ask me to sketch out a vision, and you'll get stick figures.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LIKE?
I listen to many kinds of music depending on my mood. I'm currently in a more goth metal streak since several of my models introduced me to some great artists. I also listen to ska and punk when I'm in a dancing mood. My secret love is 80s alternative and pop... then again I was in high school during the 80's so I guess I've just kept listening to that all my life.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?
Outside of photography and my other job, I have a family I love spending time with. Having a 5yr old pretty much means I like what she likes... Princesses! However, I do also enjoy brewing beer, gourmet food & drink, and entertaining friends. Happiness for me is surrounding myself with the folks I like and love.
See more of Rahul A. Saha - Eye of Ra Photography: