Forums > Model Colloquy > What is appealing about shibari?

Model

Kelly Kooper

Posts: 1190

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hi guys,

For the people that shoot this style, what about it specifically inspires you?

One of my favourite art nude photographers tells me he loves the artistry in the way the ropes are tied.   

I'm an art minded person but I must admit this is one form of modelling and photography that I can't find an appreciation for artistically - to me, it only appears to be a sexual thing.

I'm interested to hear what others think, specifically from those that model or photograph it.

What do you love about it?

Jul 20 18 03:46 am Link

Photographer

Francisco Castro

Posts: 2487

Cincinnati, Ohio, US

Kelly Kooper wrote:
Hi guys,

For the people that shoot this style, what about it specifically inspires you?

One of my favourite art nude photographers tells me he loves the artistry in the way the ropes are tied.   

I'm an art minded person but I must admit this is one form of modelling and photography that I can't find an appreciation for artistically - to me, it only appears to be a sexual thing.

I'm interested to hear what others think, specifically from those that model or photograph it.

What do you love about it?

Think of the ropework as just another style of clothing. Just as you can appreciate a well designed and executed garment, well done Shibari can look just as beautiful.

To some models, it's just another gig and does nothing for them personally. To some, it's a more personal experience. To some photographers it pushes their boundaries dealing with control and (in the model's case) surrendering control.

To the viewer of the photographs, just as looking as any other art, it can help them think about and mentally explore something that they themselves can't/won't consider doing in their real lives.

Jul 20 18 06:10 am Link

Photographer

Jorge Kreimer

Posts: 3518

Los Angeles, California, US

I agree it's a sexual thing. It personally does nothing for me either.

Jul 20 18 06:29 am Link

Photographer

Jeffrey M Fletcher

Posts: 4805

Asheville, North Carolina, US

Well, at least when it's good it's a sexual thing. The original Japanese  stuff with it's discipline and sadism is fascinating. It can get watered down pretty quick outside of that. Still, even as a subset of macramé with a person in it, there are some craft and design elements to appreciate.

Jul 20 18 06:40 am Link

Photographer

TEB-Art Photo

Posts: 518

Carrboro, North Carolina, US

It can be very beautiful (see www.interwovenimages.com for stunning examples), but it's not something I would choose to shoot all the time. The knots take a while for the rigger to tie, and they do leave marks, which complicates shoot planning (I get enough headaches already from blue jean seam marks and marks from allegedly non-marking sports bras).

Jul 20 18 06:47 am Link

Photographer

goofus

Posts: 656

Santa Barbara, California, US

isn't it the photographer usually doing the tying up?


that could be your answer right there

Jul 20 18 09:22 am Link

Model

Alexandra Vincent

Posts: 261

Los Angeles, California, US

goofus  wrote:
isn't it the photographer usually doing the tying up?


that could be your answer right there

Not necessarily. I've done shoots where there was a separate rigger, including at shibari photography workshops, where the rope guru is considered a part of the "team" and compensated for his/her time.

Jul 20 18 09:36 am Link

Model

Laura UnBound

Posts: 28681

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

sex and art arent mutually exclusive

Jul 20 18 04:55 pm Link

Photographer

Jorge Kreimer

Posts: 3518

Los Angeles, California, US

Laura UnBound wrote:
sex and art arent mutually exclusive

I've only seen Araki do interesting things with rope.

Jul 20 18 05:05 pm Link

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Photographer

Rays Fine Art

Posts: 7454

New York, New York, US

Jeffrey M Fletcher wrote:
. . . . . . . Still, even as a subset of macramé with a person in it, there are some craft and design elements to appreciate.

That pretty much defines what I find interesting about it for me.  I shoot very little of it and when I do, the challenge is to see how interesting a design I can make with a single rope of a  specific length.  I'm completely turned off by the sadism and domination/submission aspects that generally define the form.

Jul 20 18 07:27 pm Link

Photographer

AgX

Posts: 2583

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Kelly Kooper wrote:
Hi guys,

For the people that shoot this style, what about it specifically inspires you?

One of my favourite art nude photographers tells me he loves the artistry in the way the ropes are tied.   

I'm an art minded person but I must admit this is one form of modelling and photography that I can't find an appreciation for artistically - to me, it only appears to be a sexual thing.

I'm interested to hear what others think, specifically from those that model or photograph it.

What do you love about it?

I shoot B&W mostly, and I was originally drawn solely to the aesthetic of texture and contrast. As I work with more and more people, I’ve discovered that individuals engage in shibari for a host of different reasons. Navigating those reasons and those individuals’ goals and finding mutual ground in rope continues to be exceptionally interesting and rewarding. Shibari can be a powerful connection. Or a pretty picture. Or nothing at all.

If it doesn’t work for you artistically, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Jul 20 18 07:38 pm Link

Photographer

GM Photography

Posts: 6316

Olympia, Washington, US

I think like many things in life it's one of those things that either appeals to you or not, and the reasons why can vary from lifestyle, to sexuality, to art, etc.   I don't "get" it, but I don't begrudge those that embrace it either. 

I love licorice ice cream.  Lots of people don't.  I can't describe exactly why I love it, I just know I do.  I also have a hard time understanding why some people don't like it, but accept that they don't.  If you don't like it I'm not going to try to convince you that you should.

Jul 25 18 05:51 am Link

Model

Laura UnBound

Posts: 28681

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jorge Kreimer wrote:

I've only seen Araki do interesting things with rope.

I've seen extremely few people do anything actually interesting with a naked woman on a studio backdrop or in the woods or on a sofa. /shrug

Jul 25 18 10:30 am Link

Photographer

Jorge Kreimer

Posts: 3518

Los Angeles, California, US

Laura UnBound wrote:

I've seen extremely few people do anything actually interesting with a naked woman on a studio backdrop or in the woods or on a sofa. /shrug

Me too.

Jul 26 18 07:22 am Link

Photographer

Risen Phoenix Photo

Posts: 3776

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Jorge Kreimer wrote:

Laura UnBound wrote:
sex and art arent mutually exclusive

I've only seen Araki do interesting things with rope.[/quote


Well I would love to know why you think his work is interesting versus others.

Are you sure you are just dropping names?

I was told by a well known rigger that some of the best Shiba ri was done by Japanese grandpa types who work in their basement.

What makes Araki stand out
.

Jul 26 18 11:32 am Link

Model

Laura UnBound

Posts: 28681

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Risen Phoenix Photo wrote:
Well I would love to know why you think his work is interesting versus others.

Are you sure you are just dropping names?

I was told by a well known rigger that some of the best Shiba ri was done by Japanese grandpa types who work in their basement.

What makes Araki stand out
.

I'm sorry, who said what?

Jul 29 18 09:35 pm Link

Photographer

hbutz New York

Posts: 3923

Ronkonkoma, New York, US

Always wondered how you can get thru a shibari shoot without the model telling you she's got to pee.

Jul 30 18 08:10 am Link

Photographer

martin b

Posts: 2704

Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines

I tried it before and enjoyed the preparation and the process. 5 years in Boy Scouts pays off.  Also a little bit of sailing.  I practiced for a couple of weeks before the shoot with some basic ties.  The model had done it many times and said I was half decent.  I would probably try again if the circumstances came around.

Jul 30 18 10:02 am Link

Photographer

Rob Photosby

Posts: 4678

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Francisco Castro wrote:

Think of the ropework as just another style of clothing. Just as you can appreciate a well designed and executed garment, well done Shibari can look just as beautiful.

I agree. I do not see shibari as necessarily sexual, although it often is, and my personal preference is for the style that decorates the body more than it sexualises it.

The art lies in making the lines of the rope complement the lines of the body, but not all shibari achieves this end.  The same considerations apply to underwear and bikinis, most of which (in my opinion) introduce lines across the body that conflict with the lines of the body itself and which, as a result, make a nude more aesthetically appealing than a bikini/lingerie photo.

Aug 02 18 05:12 pm Link

Model

Miss Dion

Posts: 3369

London, England, United Kingdom

I think I view shibari as an art-form in itself. For photographic purposes, it depends on many factors....such as the ties, the rope, the model, the environment, lighting, framing, story......same with any other types of photography.

Aug 09 18 04:29 am Link

Photographer

IMAGINERIES

Posts: 1464

New York, New York, US

http://illusion.scene360.com/art/97256/ … otography/

As a photographer these pictures......

As a participant not sure....

Aug 10 18 01:12 pm Link

Photographer

Michael DBA Expressions

Posts: 3619

Lynchburg, Virginia, US

Many things defy explanation. Sky diving, sex, altruism, BDSM, shibari, art, just to name a few. If such things don’t resonate with someone, often no explanation is possible and certainly all explanations are weak attempts. Still, we try to explain, don’t we?

In the case of shibari, one should note there are two perspectives to consider, the one tying as well as the one being tied. I would suggest that both must be considered. To the casual observer it might appear that the one tying is all, but this is definitely not the case. Having asked numerous women who enjoy being tied what they experienced and why they like it, a couple surprising themes emerge. They are obviously helpless but that is simply not mentioned. Those I’ve asked have always begun with feeling especially safe and cared for. Does this not go a long way toward demonstrating the difficulty of explanation?

Aug 11 18 05:08 am Link

Photographer

Atemi

Posts: 2

Barrie, Ontario, Canada

I personally make my business exclusively off of shibari (or kinbaku, for some of the jargon picky ones).

For myself, it peaked my interest when I saw that I could express myself, and my perception of Japanese aesthetics, while managing to be social about it.

If we had to define "art" (as some like to divide art and erotica), I've always appreciated the following definition:

"the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. (Google Define: Art)"

That being said, one an easily divide the practice from the erotic through technique applied. I can't very well run my weekly (twice a week) classes if it were simply a sexual thing (there's all sorts of tricky legal matters around that anyways), as such, when I run a class, the ties and methodology presented is extremely clinical, and yet we can make some very interesting presentations that can do anything from stimulate the imagination, to tell a story. We even apply principles such as breathing with the movements, ergonomics, psychology, the application of the golden ratio in presentation, the use, or absence of space, minimalism, etc.

When it's a stage performance, it may be at the local cafe or pub, in which it needs to be impressive and/or beautiful as per attending the audience. While if it's at an adult club, it may be nude, or even overtly erotic or sexual.

It can be loving and gentle like the late Yukimura Haruki's work, r both sadistic and powerful like Akira Naka.

in the end, the one thing I explain to people about it more often than knot, is that shibari is what you bring to it.

Jan 26 19 10:25 am Link

Photographer

Shadow Dancer

Posts: 8176

Bellingham, Washington, US

Laura UnBound wrote:
sex and art arent mutually exclusive

I agree with this 1000% percent but I also accept that we are all different and others may not agree.
In my mind, Art is a way of expressing the creation and release of tension through a variety of media. Different minds, different upbringings, different tastes and nobody sees or feels the same thing anybody else sees or feels.

That's part of the fun!!!!

I moved from California to a small city in northwest Washington 14 years ago and was amazed at how prudish and priggish the culture seemed here by comparison. That is, taken as an aggregate whole. Lots of folks up here that are more open to a variety of ideas but you have to find them and in some cases tread lightly.

Just a regional abberation, 50 miles north in Vancouver Canada it seems the aesthetic is more open-minded, somewhat like California.

Jan 26 19 10:57 am Link

Model

Ivy Wild

Posts: 51

Jersey City, New Jersey, US

*shrug* Why are boobs great to look at?

You can't really explain it.

Jan 26 19 06:04 pm Link

Photographer

Dorola

Posts: 388

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

How much salt do you put in your soup. That is the answer. Everyone has different tastes and you do what you think works for you.

Jan 27 19 06:32 am Link

Model

Jen B

Posts: 4327

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Kelly Kooper wrote:
Hi guys,

For the people that shoot this style, what about it specifically inspires you?

One of my favourite art nude photographers tells me he loves the artistry in the way the ropes are tied.   

I'm an art minded person but I must admit this is one form of modelling and photography that I can't find an appreciation for artistically - to me, it only appears to be a sexual thing.

I'm interested to hear what others think, specifically from those that model or photograph it.

What do you love about it?

While many shoot this very well, it is a fetish art. If someone is interested in modeling fetish or kink or in exploring it a little then this might be an expression of it.
Modeling it might open the door to your own interest or close it completely.
Jen
Edit: typos and finger fumbles due to finger neuropathy...not related to poor circulation from shibari, (tried to make a joke! It was not for me at all.)

Jan 27 19 08:07 am Link

Photographer

C.C. Holdings

Posts: 785

San Francisco, California, US

Ivy Wild wrote:
*shrug* Why are boobs great to look at?

You can't really explain it.

If multiple people like something, then there is utility in asking them why in case you are missing something

This thread has shown non-obvious meaning to the art form, that goes beyond just its aesthetics or lack thereof

Jan 27 19 11:41 pm Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 12305

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Its basically a fetish. If you don’t get it then its not your thing. Nothing to explaign or understand.

Jan 28 19 05:11 am Link

Photographer

IMAGINERIES

Posts: 1464

New York, New York, US

Ivy Wild wrote:
*shrug* Why are boobs great to look at?

You can't really explain it.

I remember my first nude drawing class around 17 years old......Some boobs are not so great to look at......And so are other parts on a human body not very inspiring but, make some interesting drawings.

Jan 28 19 09:31 am Link

Photographer

C.C. Holdings

Posts: 785

San Francisco, California, US

Robb Mann wrote:
Its basically a fetish. If you don’t get it then its not your thing. Nothing to explaign or understand.

I don't agree with that.

The un-relatable nature of most of these fetishes and interests are more of an inability to articulate why a subset of people happen to find something obscure appealing.

Jan 28 19 12:00 pm Link

Photographer

Shadow Dancer

Posts: 8176

Bellingham, Washington, US

C.C. Holdings  wrote:

I don't agree with that.

The un-relatable nature of most of these fetishes and interests are more of an inability to articulate why a subset of people happen to find something obscure appealing.

Can you accurately describe why you like a particular aroma so that I will understand exactly what you are smelling?

Jan 28 19 12:47 pm Link

Model

Jen B

Posts: 4327

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Robb Mann wrote:
Its basically a fetish. If you don’t get it then its not your thing. Nothing to explaign or understand.

Exactly.

Feb 01 19 06:20 pm Link

Photographer

DCurtis

Posts: 639

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

Robb Mann wrote:
Its basically a fetish. If you don’t get it then its not your thing. Nothing to explaign or understand.

I disagree.

In no way do I have a fetish regarding rope, cord, thread, clothespins, or tape.

But, I have found some of those images well executed and intriguing.

Shibari is just another prop, nothing more. That some people might infer a fetish ... Well, that is in their head.

And you know what? I might use shibari in a photoshoot - because it is just a prop (I might have to hire a shibari wrangler, or whatever those people who do macrame are called) I might also use a brassiere and lace panties in an image - doesn't mean I have an underwear fetish.

Imagine a painter who paints a mountain in the background - does she have a mountain fetish?

Feb 01 19 07:06 pm Link

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Model

MatureModelMM

Posts: 2640

Detroit, Michigan, US

I'm convinced that many people see it as an art form, while others see it as an artistic fetish.  Neither is wrong. It can be very visually appealing and for that reason I like to look at all the interesting patterns created by the ropes on the model's body. I know I'm not talented enough to be able to do even the simplest form of it, but I wouldn't hesitate to let someone who was very experienced with it use my body as part of their creativity, within reason of course. When you are my age, you simply aren't as physically flexible as someone younger.

And trust me on this one......a lot of photographers and artists who want a model wearing very specific types of underwear most definitely have an underwear fetish, which there is nothing wrong with either. I've done enough of that type of modelling to be able to tell right away if they have that fetish or not.

Feb 01 19 08:44 pm Link

Photographer

Photo Jen B

Posts: 301

Glendale, Arizona, US

DCurtis wrote:
I disagree.

In no way do I have a fetish regarding rope, cord, thread, clothespins, or tape.

But, I have found some of those images well executed and intriguing.

Shibari is just another prop, nothing more. That some people might infer a fetish ... Well, that is in their head.

And you know what? I might use shibari in a photoshoot - because it is just a prop (I might have to hire a shibari wrangler, or whatever those people who do macrame are called) I might also use a brassiere and lace panties in an image - doesn't mean I have an underwear fetish.

Imagine a painter who paints a mountain in the background - does she have a mountain fetish?

A well executed image of fruit intrigues as much ... Yes indeed there are some well done works which are compelling captures.

It is a Fetish. Perhaps your interests in it are more journalistic then.

Jen
P.s. edit to add: if you view the entirety of Shibari as just a prop to use in a shoot then its likely you aren't giving its history or the ritual of it sufficient acknowledgement. A mountain is not likely kink.
Edited lots for poor wording

Feb 02 19 06:20 am Link

Photographer

shibarifann

Posts: 4

Raleigh, North Carolina, US

Its a sex thing
In the fall of '17 I was getting a lap dance in a private room at the local gentleman's club where I was drawn to the mural on the back wall, a blonde in an erotic pose featuring a basic shibari suspension tie.  A couple months later, while immersed in that image, I experienced an epiphany - yeah, I wanna do that,,,

Its a form of creative expression
Been doing it about a year now. Not much interested in working on a project that doesn't involve rope in some form or fashion.  For me, Shibari is the adhesive that binds all of the elements in my projects from set design, lighting, model selection, etc.

Its a fetish
How fetishy depends on the context. I consider my style (stil evolving) to be somewhere in the neighborhood of fetish-lite. For riggers such as Fred Kyrel's (https://www.fredkyrel.com/)  pinup style (a personal favorite) is not at all fetishy.

What shibari is not
Shibari is not a prop any more than a fashion designer's creation is a prop.  Shibari exist on it's own terms and as such should be considered a medium in photography context.

For what its worth, several of the models I've worked with over the last year have characterized it as a unique and/or satisfying experience, sentiments I share

Mar 03 19 05:10 pm Link

Model

Laura UnBound

Posts: 28681

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Photo Jen B wrote:

A well executed image of fruit intrigues as much ... Yes indeed there are some well done works which are compelling captures.

It is a Fetish. Perhaps your interests in it are more journalistic then.

Jen
P.s. edit to add: if you view the entirety of Shibari as just a prop to use in a shoot then its likely you aren't giving its history or the ritual of it sufficient acknowledgement. A mountain is not likely kink.
Edited lots for poor wording

It's history is torture.

It's fine if someone sees it no different than a prop or article of clothing - it's ok for stuff to just look cool without anything deeper.

Mar 03 19 11:38 pm Link

Photographer

ZMPHOT

Posts: 1621

San Anselmo, California, US

My reaction to the subject is that it is unadulterated KINK...None of the female models  ever are smiling...I don't see Male Models being roped.  Hence  the inference is  that it a a sensual/sexual fetish. **** Too bad the Marqui  De Sade  is not around to give an opinion .My guess he would love it.

Mar 04 19 03:06 pm Link

Photographer

Sablesword

Posts: 304

Gurnee, Illinois, US

ZMPHOT   wrote:
My reaction to the subject is that it is unadulterated KINK...None of the female models  ever are smiling...I don't see Male Models being roped.  Hence  the inference is  that it a a sensual/sexual fetish. **** Too bad the Marqui  De Sade  is not around to give an opinion .My guess he would love it.

1. Well yes. Some of it is artistic nude with kink added, some is pinup-style with kink added, and some is outright erotica with kink added.

2. How often do you see female models smiling in artistic nude photos? Also there may be a definition thing going on: If the model smiles, then it isn't True Shibari. (Because True Art is always angsty.) But lower-brow bondage photos can have smiling models. E.g. (NSFW 18+) https://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/43008278

3. Yes, male models getting roped are a minority. But so are male models in general, here on MM.

4. My guess is that Marquis de Sade, if he were still around to browse, would be more interested in spanking-reddened rear ends than in shibari or any other sort of bondage.

Mar 05 19 09:34 am Link