Archive, Portrait, Projects

Buying items off an Amazon Wish List in exchange for a portrait

All images © Sophie Skipper

Sophie Skipper photographed women, in their homes, who exchange pictures for gifts, online

“All of my sessions require a tribute, but a good slave knows that tribute in itself is not enough,” Mistress Jezabel writes on her wish list. “A submissive who goes out of their way to please Mistress is one who is remembered affectionately by Her. Expensive is often good, but what’s more important is to find something that pleases Her.”

Mistress Jezabel, a London-based dominatrix (willing to travel to America and across Europe), is one of many women 23-year-old Sophie Skipper, from Long Melford in Suffolk, photographed for her collection entitled He wants to see my Amazon Wish List.

Mistress Jezabel

Mistress Jezabel

 

Honeypotsugarbush

Honeypotsugarbush

 

Megan Grimwood

Megan Grimwood

 

Speaking from her Cardiff home – she graduated from the documentary photography course at the University of South Wales last year – she tells of being interested in gift-giving and “whether it can ever be a selfless thing”. She noticed women using a hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest – #myamazonwishlist – with a link to a list of exclusive items on the shopping website Amazon. “I realised the wish list idea is intertwined with the dominatrix industry,” she says. “A lot, but not all the women who have a wish list are mistresses, who use it as part of their work.”

Mistress Jezabel’s wish list, for example, ranges from mains-powered vibrators to latex catsuits, Vivienne Westwood handbags, a homemade ice-cream machine and the complete DVD boxset of Peep Show. A typical tweet she sends to her more than 14,000 followers is: “Slave bought me a new food processor, amazing… #domesticgoddess.”

 

Blath

Blath

 

Maitresse Sin

Maitresse Sin

 

Nachob0obs

Nachob0obs

 

Skipper tracked down women such as Mistress Jezabel and agreed to buy an item from their list in exchange for a portrait. She photographed them in their homes with the item she had bought in the picture: “I wanted the exchange that takes place online between strangers to be mirrored by the exchange between photographer and subject,” she says.

 

Mistress Evilyne

Mistress Evilyne

Loren G

Loren G

She asked her subjects to present themselves as they would like to be seen online. “What they wore, their poses, the setting – it was completely their choice,” she says. Yet her photographs are tender and intimate; a reaction, maybe, to the judgements she admittedly felt at the start of the project. “We stereotype people without knowing them,” she says.

She discovered ordinary women living ordinary lives away from their day job. “One woman said she was a dominatrix in her professional life, but a 1950s housewife in her personal life. Another was about to have her second child,” she says. “They do it from their home. You walk in, see their bed, their kettle and wardrobe and everything that’s personal to them, but then there’s a spanking bench in the middle of the room.”

Get in touch with Sophie here.

First published in the July 2014 issue. You can buy the issue here.

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