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Hywel Phillips -Restrained Elegance

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Hywel Phillips

My name’s Hywel Phillips, and I’m a full-time fetish photographer. I should write a serious third person bio with claims to portentous seriousness. “Hywel Phillips’ work is inspired by the musings of Joseph d’Obscurartist on the misery of being”.

Actually, it was luck.

I got to be a pro photographer by a series of bizarre right place-right time coincidences.

I was a keen amateur landscape photographer taking photos of the mountains I got to walk in by virtue of working as a particle physicist at CERN in Geneva. Working in the lab where the world wide web was invented meant I was building websites years before it went mainstream.
A poverty-stricken posting to Geneva also spurred me to start drawing portraits (pencils and paper are cheap!) which got me into photographic people for references to draw from.
Working on particle physics detectors prepared me to understand the deep inner workings of digital cameras (the chip in your dSLR is very similar to the inner tracking detectors at the
heart of the ATLAS experiment at the LHC) and therefore be very comfortable with ditching film for digital early on.

And I’ve been interested (interested? hello, bordering on obsessed) with bondage and BDSM for as long as I can remember. I was an avid consumer of bondage scenes in Charlie’s Angels,
then cutting girls’ pictures out of lingerie catalogues and drawing on some bondage, then buying actual bondage photosets, then magazines, then websites. I’d tried drawing bondage,
copying other photographers’ images as references (which everyone was super nice about and gave me permission to do, thanks guys!)

Cue dramatic music, thunder and lighting… the dim spark of the world’s most obvious idea finally flickers in Hywel’s head. Why not take some bondage photographs? You know, myself?
Maybe I could draw from them or something?

Face-palm D’Oh effect of Hywel finally waking up. Two shoots in and I was:
a) hooked
b) clearly a better photographer than an artist
c) running out of money to pay for shoots
d) going to need more lighting gear. And bondage gear. And camera gear.

So I decided to launch a modest little website (which luckily I already knew how to build).
That could pay for shoots and gear, and maybe it would make a modest profit to pay for a holiday or something.

Twelve years on and the modest little website, restrainedelegance.com is my full-time business. I quit particle physics having got fed up with the multiple conflicting demands on my time as a lecturer, which meant I always felt I was doing second-rate work. I still miss it, but bear up under the strain by tying up naked girls and taking photos.

If you want to know what my taste in BDSM is, have a look at the images- beautiful girls in sumptuous settings, elegantly accessorised with inescapable but still flattering bondage. And barefoot, because I have a foot fetish. (Hey, it’s my website, indulge me). And whipping. And bastinado because I am a dominant sadist as well as a photographer and it’s my favorite thing in the world.

I now run the site with a small group of talented and enthusiastic friends, lots of great models, and my fiancee who I met when she came and modelled for the
site. (Irony alert- the first time she emailed me asking for a shoot, I said no. Fortunately, she was persistent!)

I hope you enjoy our work. All the images you see are collaborative ventures between photographer, model, rigger and cinematographer (fancy word for bloke what set up the lights). On some shoots I have to do most of those jobs (fortunately not the modelling, which wouldn’t be good for anyone) but the best shoots of all are where multiple people have worked together to make
something special.

Oh, and we now make movies too: elegancestudios.com

It’s a hell of a fun way to make a living!

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