Behind the Scenes: Kittens and Rope

Ok, so we have rope and a talented model from Montreal who’s done all sorts of bondage and fetish modeling in the past – how do you take it to the next level? Suddenly it popped in my head – Kittens! What better way to add some ‘fun’ to an otherwise potentially very erotic, and rather borderline concept?

How a Kitten Turned an Ordinary Rope Bondage Fetish Shoot Into a Modern Kinky Pin Up Look

I was sitting on my computer and I got a message from one of my favourite models Joanie, from Montreal, saying that she was going to be in town in a few days, but just very briefly. She was wondering if I was available for a shoot, and I said absolutely.

Next was the challenge. What were we going to shoot? She is a talented and experienced model, and has practically done everything worth doing. How do you give a model who has almost done it all, something new? She was practically crossing the continent, so I had to think of something unique.

Having an interest in the alt community, I have seen a lot of rope bondage in various circumstances and forms. I think it is beautiful art, and when executed properly, can be extremely creative with just the right touch of eroticism. I had started a series of rope bondage shots with Amberlynn (link perhaps? – sure. Link to where exactly? a post about that shoot? or a portfolio?) a few months back. I knew Joanie was very fit and quite flexible, and would be a great contrast in the series because she is quite blonde, and Amberlynn is brunette.

shibari artist meets the model and kitten during photo shoot

Procuring the Shibari Artist Was Easy…

Ok, so we have rope. Procuring the shibari artist was easy, as I lucked out and the guy I like to do my rope work for my shoots was available. How do you take it to the next level? I percolated this thought for quite some time, and suddenly it popped in my head. Kittens! What better way to add some ‘fun’ to an otherwise potentially very erotic, and rather borderline concept? Kittens are adorable, they love to play with string, and so does our model!

Quick email sent to Joanie to make sure she had no allergies to baby cats, and we were good to go. This was probably my favourite casting call to date. I put a post out on my facebook pages that read something along the lines of “In need of your kittens for photoshoot!” My inbox and status updates were soon flooded with oodles of the most adorable little fluffballs I had seen in months. I was so excited as I waded through the trove of photographs and promises of well-behaved kittenry. I love my job, but this was a definite perk!

rope bondage photography with kitten (behind the scenes)

After much deliberation, I settled on two kittens. One tiny little grey female named Sherrie Moon, and an adorable little Siamese named Stirfry.

The day of the shoot had come, and I was entirely giddy with anticipation. While Joanie was getting ready, we had the task of watching kittens. My studio is nothing too fancy. It’s in the basement of an old warehouse that has a multitude of tiny cracks, holes, pipes, and random openings that could mean a very long evening of kitten searching if they escaped. We had three people on permanent ‘kitten duty’ to prevent any catastrophes, and I went to set up my lights.

Setting Up The Lights

I wanted a soft white background, but not blown out. I shoot with an Alien Bee 800 with an 87″ PLM attached. This generally means that soft white light goes EVERYWHERE. Which, is kind of how I like it, especially for shooting a subject like kittens, where they potentially could be running off anywhere at any moment. I wanted to highlight the sides of Joanie’s body, so I put two Alien Bee 800’s with 30″ gridded softboxes on either side of her. I punched them up to about another stop above my PLM so I would get a lovely highlight. In the test shots, I wasn’t sold as there was this dark side to her right side of her body and face, so I tossed in a large rectangular reflector to soften the transition between the PLM and one of the separation lights. (see strobox below)

Once Joanie was ready to go, we got her into position, and began to dangle strings, rope, shiny objects, and anything to grab the kittens attention for the poses and shots we wanted. Joanie was as talented as ever as we kept her in a multitude of rather uncomfortable positions to get the shot of the fluffy animals just right.

shibari artistry with kitten and bondage model

behind the scenes with Renee Robyn Photography

The result, was what I hope, a series of images that had a very pin-up feel to them, with a modern and slightly more kinky twist.