Dominas (2015) documents the stories of individuals working as professional dominatrixes in Germany. This project utilizes the genre of portrait photography to probe the medium’s function as an instrument of power.
It was an experiment with an uncertain outcome when the London based photographer began to shoot portraits of German dominatrixes. Striving to explore the boundaries between the interior and the exterior: What is a mask? What is real? How much veracity is there in the way the women present themselves – beyond glaring red lips and a stern gaze? The results are portraits of strong personalities and wounded souls, of dedication and business acumen, of great empathy and lurid coldness.
“There was an ongoing power play between us,” says Max. “I kept wondering why they agreed to be photographed. Was it about being remembered? Was it vanity?
Open to a variety of interpretations, Dominas can be read as a multidimensional collage, as a visual study on both sadomasochistic aesthetics and the conventions of presentation and representation, and as a reflection on the triangulation among power structures, social critique, and the questioning of existing values and hierarchies.
Discover more of Max’s work here: Max Eicke