Photographer Danny Ghitis started to take these photos of the BDSM and fetish subculture in New York City with a particular goal in mind. He wanted to know more about his own sexual identity, preferences, gender, and social norms by contrasting them with those of his subjects. He decided to seek out and connect with people on a social network called Fetlife. Described as being “similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me”, Ghitis found himself meeting people through this site he normally wouldn’t get the chance to encounter.
He became familiar with the world of transgenders, dominatrixes, submissives, and kinksters, and proceeded not to exoticize or eroticize them, but rather to familiarize his viewers with them. Ghitis says:
“Something I accomplished through meeting these people and getting invited to their homes was seeing them as real people living in New York and not as stereotyped 2-D caricatures that I think are often portrayed. I wanted to contribute to a positive dialogue about the complexities of sexual and gender identity. I felt somewhat a sense of a responsibility as a journalist to do that, though it was sort of secondary to the primary goal of wanting to learn about this for myself.”
He wanted to accurately document the sexual preferences of these usually very alienated people and to normalize them. He was very inspired by these everyday people accepting themselves fully and truly for who they are and what they want, and aims to live his own life in a similiar, honest and unhindered way. Ghitis tends to hunt out individuals with complex and fascinating histories and documents them for the benefit of us all. “He believes that challenging social norms with self-aware imagery can spark the curiosity needed for open dialogue in the average person.”