Flowers

Flowers is a series of portraits of men from the BDSM and fetish community in London.

I was inspired to start the project after seeing a couple drinking outside Compton’s pub in Soho, London. They were dressed almost exactly like they’d stepped out of Robert Mapplethorpe’s famous image ‘Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter’.

That iconic black and white photo, shot in 1979, shows two leather-clad men situated in a fairly conventional living room; one seated with manacles attached, the other stood with a riding crop.

On asking the pair at the pub, they said they knew of the legendary New York photographer and his work but hadn’t ever seen the photo.

Two things struck me.

First, how Mapplethorpe’s visuals have become a benchmark for how we see men in fetish clothing and also how they dress themselves, whether they realise it or not.

But more importantly I wondered, had Robert Mapplethorpe lived long enough; who would he have seen in the suburban lounges of men from the fetish and BDSM community in London in 2019, forty years later?

Flowers is a series of portraits attempting to answer that question.

Miko, photographed in Kennington, south London