Mark I Chester photo of the day
Mark I Chester studio  1229 Folsom St./SF  415-621-6294 

November 19, 2011


photo of the day 11/19/2011. photo Mark I Chester
Photo of the leather bondage suit from behind. I am showing this image because I can't show you the image I want to show. This post is prompted by a post by a photographer friend of mine, Michele Serchuk who raised questions about some questionable comments by John Waters about gay leathermen in his new book. But whether John Waters gets it or not, let me tell you how John Waters influenced me.

I was watching Female Troubles in the late 1970s in San Francisco and was stunned by a segment with Edith Massey in which she is wearing a skin tight black outfit that is in panels, held together by lacings. Edith was one big woman and her flesh literally oozed out of the suit between the lacings. It was a bizarre repulsive look but strangely fascinating. Sitting in that dark theater, I remember thinking how hot it would be to have a suit like that made out of leather, but of course, without all the oozing flesh. <eg>

After the Folsom St. Fire, I took every penny I had and spent it on the creation of a leather bondage suit. It was a mad ritual act declaring who I was in this world, refusing to bow down or submit to those voices that destroyed my photographs and stole my personal belongings. A few years later, I published a story in Drummer magazine showing the leather bondage suit. And years later David Menkes, a fine leathermaker who makes and sells leather bondage suits told me that he started making them when someone brought in that issue of Drummer, plunked it down and said, make me one of those! And the rest is history.

Except that even years later, some gay costume designer into leather who worked for Wes Craven saw the leather bondage suit in an ad in Drummer magazine and called and asked if I would *rent* it for a new Wes Craven movie called, "The People Under the Stairs." I told them it would be cheaper to make one and one that would be appropriate for filming - easy in and out. I never saw the film, but I understand it has a psychopathic killer who wears a leather bondage suit to do his evil deeds.

When you put energy out into the world, you never know the strange and wonderful journey it will go on and whose life it will affect and change.

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p.s. Check out this photo of Edith Massey in that very same outfit from Female Troubles, or one that is very similar.