Introduction by Angela Lieben
I met Eric Kroll many years ago while visiting Miami and then again in Los Angeles. What struck me was his gentle demeanor. His laid-back personality was unlike other fetish photographers I’ve met. With silver fox hair and a grandfatherly mustache, I instantly fell in love—not only with the man but the artist. His images are well-known around the world, and he’s often compared to Helmut Newton. But Eric Kroll’s work stands on its own merits. His carefully crafted style is a hallmark of early fetish photography (before anyone thought it was the popular thing to do) and it belongs to him. With each look, I find it difficult tearing myself away. This is because there is a connection and sense of humor to his work. Eric Kroll knows how to draw you in. From my perspective, it appears that he does not take himself, or the world of fetish, too seriously. So to honor the Godfather of Fetish Photography, and to sum up the career highlights of Eric Kroll, I’ve reposted an article from Fine Art TV dated 2010.
Eric Kroll has no interest in photographing nude women. But show him a lady in a pair of extreme heels and panties and he’s all eyes. Best known for his 1994 coffee table book “Fetish Girls” — published by Taschen, it has sold some 200,000 copies — Eric Kroll composes kinky art pictures noted for the rich mix of accouterments which he adorns his models. The black leather gloves and red rubber corsets, fencing masks, cactus needles, cellophane, ballet shoes, bird seed, custom-made harnesses, and underwear are sewn together to fit two are all part of his allure.
“I don’t think my work stood out until I started using elements that really turn me on — high heels, stockings, vintage girdles.” Eric Kroll
The Master of All – Eric Kroll
Raised in New York, Eric Kroll began his career as a photojournalist. His work has appeared in Elle, Vogue, Der Spiegel and other prestigious magazines. It took him a few years, but he eventually devoting himself to fetishism fulltime. It was in 1988 when he took his first photograph of the genre. That image is his first wife all masked in leather that set everything in motion. Throughout the decades, Eric Kroll has accumulated a true fetish collection which includes leather dresses, corsets made of PVC, back and neck braces. Everything he uses is meant for spicing up his images.
The Ladies in the Photos
The models Eric Kroll uses for his iconic imagery typically come from the street. He knows how to scout beauty and originality. Now, how they meet is important. He generally invites them to look at his work. He wants them to see what he does. Then he awaits their call and signs an agreement. Some of his models, who are admirers of his work, will also contact him. Because Eric Kroll does not shoot anything pornographic, he puts women at ease by role-playing. He does not like transforming them into sex objects. Instead, he brings out their sexy by putting them into settings sprinkled with humor and nonsense. It is not rare for Eric Kroll to cross a woman holding a leash connecting two men or someone with only one leg as a guépière.
After the launch of “Fetish Girls” in 1994, international German editor, Taschen, published two other of his books: “Eric Kroll’s Fetish Day’s” (1996) and “Eric Kroll’s Beauty Parade”(1997). Later, Eric Kroll was offered the role of editor for Taschen books. Eric has made retrospectives on artists like Eric Stanton and John Willie—two of the masters of fetish from the Fifties. His status as a historian of the genre and thus affirmed his stature as a living memory of erotism, making him the Godfather of Fetish.