Vitamin Dee Photography

Dee-a-logue

023: Seattle Shibari

Shibari 1

I've been having fun collaborating with local artist to mutually expand our portfolios. Check out my Interview with Jonathan of Seattle Shibari:

Tell us something about Shibari. What is it?

Well, it’s Japanese-style erotic rope bondage. The word Shibari simply means ‘To Tie’ in Japanese. That’s the term Western readers are most familiar with. Another term that’s used very commonly in Japan is Kinbaku, which means ‘To Bind Tightly.’ Rope bondage probably exists all over the world, but Shibari has really caught the attention of Westerners for a number of reasons.  It’s a really beautiful and evocative, you know, with power, surrender, and restraint and all that. It’s visually beautiful: some ties are gorgeously geometric, others asymmetrical, but all of them emphasize this sort of balance with the rope and the model. That’s what drew me to it, at first—the visual beauty, with those elaborate body harnesses and such.

What got you into Shibari?

It’s a funny story! I practiced really old-fashioned Japanese martial arts for a long time. Learned to speak Japanese, spent a month in Japan every year, the whole nine yards.  Some of my teachers taught me these antique methods of binding prisoners with rope, and it was rough, tough stuff, but it also had to be done beautifully and just so. Once in while me and my dojo-mates would make some joke about BDSM, but to be honest, I never thought of it that way…until one night I went out with a charming young woman who said ‘Will you tie me up?’ And I thought ‘Well, I can, but I don’t think you’ll care for it much.’ (laughs) Anyway, that gave me the spark to start learning Shibari, and immediately I started seeing these gorgeous images in books and online. I knew right from the start that not only did I enjoy the personal pleasure of tying with someone, but I wanted to work with models and photographers to make art, too. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to do so much with it: my partner O and I work on photoshoots, teach private lessons and workshops, and do performances of cirque-style suspension bondage. We’ve had a ball this year, doing so much with rope, and we’ve made a lot of cool things with cool people.  Like you!

What are you exploring right now with Shibari? What’s coming in 2015?

I’ve been focusing on collaborating on editorial/fashion shoots that combine Shibari with other things like clothing, creative hair/makeup/props, as well as working with photographers on different sorts of lighting situations. I’m being pulled by wanting to do very minimalist, precisely lit compositions, and big, gorgeous epic things, too. I’ve been happy to get to do some of both this year. Thematically, I explore themes of beauty, power, surrender, and longing. In 2015, I want to really push into new things: working with artists and models in mediums besides photography, for example. I’d like to do an installation, and I’ve got something along those lines in the works for 2015. Of course, I’m also always on the lookout for an artist or model who has their own vision already for something, and then exploring how rope can take it even further.

Jonathan’s website is http://www.seattleshibari.com .  Photographers, Artists & Models interested in working with him can reach him at jonathan@seattleshibari.com