Cole Black has cheerfully been documenting latex fetishism in the UK over the course of the last ten years. Whether he’s out covering a fetish club or filming a photo shoot, Cole’s classy films offer something intriguing and unique, not to mention a positively stupendous amount of people in latex.
Which is always fantastic to see.
A quiet Northern Gentlemen with an easygoing lilt, Cole took a little time out to talk to MG about his love of fetishism and his work with LatexFashionTV.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Cole Black.
When did you first start becoming interested in fetish, and what are your earliest memories of it?
I grew up with Eurotrash and Men & Motors, so it always caught my eye. But I blame a lot of it on Batman Returns, as I’m sure many people do!
When and how did LatexFashionTV get started?
I’ve always worked with film and video and my day job for the last fifteen years has been in video production. I got into the fetish scene about ten years ago and it was inevitable that the two would mix.
My girlfriend at the time was a fetish model in London and I went along to a one of her shoots. She modelled and did her thing and they were recording it. I just thought, if I was doing that I’d do this or the other and then it kind of went from there. I thought I’d start doing my thing.
LatexFashionTV essentially started in February this year. I’ve been making short latex films for about nine to ten years, which are now collected under LatexFashionTV. What I found as I got more into the mainstream filming cosplay or fashion shows, is that people would misunderstand what I wanted to shoot. Mention ‘latex videos’ and they were like ‘is it Babestation, is it porn’ so LFTV grew from there. If I’m approaching someone saying, ‘hi, your outfit’s great, can we talk to you for LatexFashionTV’ it’s kind of self explanatory.
What do you look for in a subject? Do you approach clubs and models or do they approach you?
I’m lucky now that they approach me. We get invited along to a lot of things that models or designers are doing, particularly something special, and it’s the same with events. I guess the message to get out is, if people are doing something shiny and think it would make a good video then get in touch.
I was talking with a photographer friend recently who takes a lot of photos of fetish clubs around the country and in Europe, and we were both saying that we’re so used to being at an event with our cameras, that we couldn’t remember the last time we attended a club without a camera to shoot with. Without it I don’t know what I’d do. It’s a talking point. You get used to using it.
How long does it take to make a film from start to finish?
It depends what it is. There’s obviously about a day to film and maybe a day or two to edit. Sometimes the films come together really easily because the filming has gone well and you know what it’s going to be, and other times it takes a long time to find out what the film is going to become.
Your films are shiny, polished, spic and span, yet still brilliantly voyeuristic. Is that a conscious thing?
That’s a good way of describing it. My background is in documentary, which I think works well, especially the behind the scenes photo shoots. I think there are very few films where I direct something, although there’s more of those coming along in the future. A friend once described it as ‘hyper reality’. Everything is just that little bit shiny or a little bit more polished and I guess that’s the kind of look that I go for.
Within your work it’s easy to see a UK fetish timeline: Atom Age – Skin Two – Preaching to the Perverted, and everything since. Is this deliberate, or are you just capturing the nature of fetish in the UK?
Yeah, I’m aware of it to a degree. I’m a big fan of Preaching to the Perverted. It’s probably Preaching and Batman Returns that sent me on a dark path ha ha! I grew up with Skin Two and Marquis and some of the Atom Age stuff. I’m lucky to count Tim from Skin Two as a friend now as well. So it’s great to chat to him about history and the way things have evolved.
I guess if you watch my films from start to finish – I think they start about 2010 – you can see how it’s gone from clubs and the odd photo shoots to much more mainstream like Comic Con at Earl’s court. I guess I try to bring a sense of fun to it. Generally people in latex are having fun and having a good time and being positive and I try to capture that.
By making your films you’re documenting the fetish world’s history. Is that something you’re aware of or are you just making the films as you go along?
I am now! I guess to some degree it’s the kind of thing I do away from work. I go and do this and it’s fun and it’s all the way that I want it. I never really thought about it like that but I guess you’re right. It’s little snapshot of the UK latex along the way. It’s amazing how many models who were around when I first started who are now on hiatus or who are retired. But I guess that’s the way things are.
What’s it like being a man in a predominantly women’s world?
Oh, interesting question! I guess being behind the camera you disappear. There’s often been a time when someone points out ‘oh that’s so and so’ and you turn round and glance and they’re naked applying lube in places. It’s like okay, nice introduction. You just take it in your stride.
It’s always great to see latex, and I think you have to tap into the sex appeal to some agree in order to shoot things in a certain away because otherwise if you don’t have that it it would be sterile. I think a bit of that makes the videos more fun. You need that extra spark.
What’s the best thing about the fetish world for you? And how has it changed since you got first involved?
(laughs) I think it just brings out the best in people. Photo shoots are really positive and in clubs everyone dresses up and looks amazing. If it’s a photo shoot people have come together to create something or if it’s a club everyone’s having a good time and partying. It”s just really nice to be in that atmosphere and to try and capture it and try to relate that in the films.
It’s a lot more mainstream now and there are a lot more clubs. Latex is a lot more popular, same with shiny clothes in general, and you have more celebrities in music videos wearing it – which is always a good thing. I know some hardcore fetishists aren’t as happy about it, but I’m of the opinion that the more the merrier!
Latex Fashion TV has global appeal. How soon will you be taking over the world? And are you planning to get into Europe or USA etc.?
Oh gosh! I mean there’s one or two of the fetish, well latex channels out there, but they are event based. I think LFTV might be the one of the biggest with over a hundred videos that cover a bit of everything. So it’s just expanding that and then seeing where it goes.
Dominatrix Weekend or Wasteland would be really fun to do. But then to be fair they have really good videos as it is so I’d have to think of something different. There’s Sexpo later this year so maybe we might be covering that.
I guess the next big thing is to maybe take some of the films I made in Spain and turn it into a feature length latex fashion documentary and to get that online and see what happens with that. I can’t decide whether it will self indulgent or not though!
One of the things further down the line is to put together interviews with latex lovers or people in the scene. I want to do a series of interviews with them explaining their role and how they get into it.
Tell us about your upcoming work at Sexhibition:
It’s a two-three day event and I’m filming everything as far as I know. Everything latex, definitely. There’s sixty-five models and twelve of the biggest latex designers, all in one place being very rubbery and shiny, which should be fun. I’m going to be there with Portia Victoria, who’s a great model and actress and was in Game of Thrones earlier this year. We’re going to be going round interviewing store holders and anyone in latex basically and saying hello and it should be a exhausting but really fun two days.
There’s something like three different after parties that all overlap slightly, so I’m still figuring out where I’m going to go and exactly what to cover. I might have to hire a chauffeur! But I know that some of the clubs are within event city so if you’re there you’re there. But there’s still logistics to figure out!
What else have you got coming up next, and what are you looking to do in the future?
There’s some films with Portia Victoria and Fantastic Rubber being made featuring this all in one catsuit, which takes a lot of lube and stuff to get into. It’s just how much of this I can get done before Sexhibition.
Finally, throughout all of the last ten years, what responses have you had from the public or from models about LFTV and your work in general?
With LFTV it’s been pretty good so far. I came out with this relaunch, but it takes ages! Even just updating Facebook, Instagram etc., takes an hour out of the day. But I have posted something at least once a day since the start of February so that adds momentum. People have been positive so far and it’s nice when people get in touch and say we like this or we like that.
As for responses, once at a Rubbercult there was this big, six foot tall guy in a latex manga anime outfit with a full hood. He saw me filming from across the room and he came striding across the floor, and I thought ‘oh, god!’. He took his mask off and he said ‘do you do the videos?’ and I said yes. And he just shook my hand and said ‘I think they’re great and I think what you do for the scene and everything is really positive and I just wanted to meet you and say thank you’. I was taken back. That was really nice.
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