When LEMPACON was forming, we had a dream list of the best photographers to invite, on the top of the list was fetish-fashion photographer legend, Steve Diet Goedde. I had been in contact with Steve via social media for a few years and once a great exchange about the sensitive nature of our work when the #metoo movement exploded with the outing of Harvey Weinstein. Aside from being a brilliant photographer, Steve maintains an extremely high integrity and is respected by his models, fans and collaborators. I was thrilled that Steve could be part of LEMPA and it would coincide with his third book, Extempore.
The best fetish photography and the most avant-garde fashion photography have long shared common ground, explored by Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth and others, who have blurred the boundaries with panache. Steve Diet Goedde’s photographs are concerned with fetishism, and can also be regarded as fashion photographs, being about clothes and the roles that dressing imposes on women, or allows them to play.
Steve Diet Goedde’s photographs are concerned with fetishism, and can also be regarded as fashion photographs, being about clothes and the roles that dressing imposes on women, or allows them to play.
Inspired by the work of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick – Goedde’s initial instinct was to become a filmmaker. His attention turned to photography and his published work has brought him continued critical acclaim and a loyal following.
Goedde’s classical sense of space and light and not least his eye, contribute to the uniqueness of his work within the genre, yet the most striking aspect of his work is the fierce and empowered beauty of the models with whom he collaborates.
Extempore brings together images representing glimpses behind the scenes, when the models aren’t necessarily aware of the camera. Most of the models are from Goedde’s close circle and one senses a shared trust and understanding. The book is a remarkable survey of Goedde’s practice – much of this work has never been published, featuring ‘unfinished’ – or ‘process pieces’ – revealing life candidly.
There is a charm and often humor in the images, of models going about routine activities – smoking, snacking, checking phones... a sisterhood, with women fixing one another’s clothes and hair. A relatable day-at-the-office vibe of women kicking off their heels – not what one would expect coming from the fetish world.
Today we are seeing a variety of counterintuitive versions of the empowerment of women on all sides of the conversation and on both sides of the camera.
Goedde’s portraits add to the discourse with a deeper, more nuanced appreciation of the woman herself, navigating not only the rigors and rewards, but also her own intentional presence in the process. In this way, the viewer’s gaze is mediated empathetically by the private fierceness of indelible, individual female realness. Entirely seductive.
LEMPACON is thrilled to have Steve Diet Goedde as a featured speaker and instructor. Meet Steve at the Friday night opening reception and presenting at Saturday's Conference. Sunday's workshop will allow a rare treat as Steve delves deeper into his work, gives one-on-one portfolio reviews and shows how he works with a model on a photo set. His influence & guidance will be invaluable to photographers working in the genre.