As well as examining the historic Dominatrix, 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' follows Her trail right up until the present day, with artwork and portraits by leading contemporary artists.
In New York city, a body of works by contemporary artist Natasha Gornik takes the viewer along for the experience of Mistress Alex taking her slave out for a walk in Times Square. As you can see from the below image (featured in the book), the man is in a business suit with a gimp hood, and held on a chain by the fetish-clad Mistress while she walks through Manhattan. As I argue, she is not only taking her slave out for her walk, but also taking a taboo for a walk. The reactions of the people around index exactly the issues at stake around the concept of female domination.
Artist Natasha Gornik ©
'Mistress Alex in Times Square, NY' (2013)
In New York, Dominatrices are very much part of the cultural geography of place, which as Manhattan Dominatrix Mistress Darcy notes, is one of the most ambitious cities in the world, in which men are working hard climbing the corporate ladder and need a respite from the environment and pressures. She shares with us the thrill for herself and her client of the first moment, when she opens the door of her discreet lair to meet her waiting submissive.
As many 'slaves' will relate, the door into the dungeon is like a gateway into another world. The book takes the reader into this alternate universe, usually known only to the Dominatrix and her slaves, examining the types of equipment and activities which feature as part of Her 'sessions'. Contemporary photographer Phil Miller offers a peak into Mistress Morrigan's black dungeon with rotating bondage wheel, and glimpses of the 'Lady's Lair' dungeon near Kings Cross. Other London Dominatrices feature in the book as part of a body of portraits by well-regarded artist Kate Peters, whose 'Yes Mistress' series made newspapers around the world, featuring Mistress Absolute, Madame Caramel and Mistress Jezabel - who regularly make appearances out within London's buzzing fetish scene, as well as within their dungeons dominating their slaves.
Artist Kate Peters 'Portrait of Mistress Absolute'
Limited edition C type hand print. (Image © Kate Peters / Institute)
Many will be suprised to learn of the training which is involved to become a professional Dominatrix, which is typically 1-2 years. In some places, such as Australia, training is usually by apprenticeship undertaken within one of the large houses. One of the most famous of these was Salon Kitty's, a major institution for training Mistresses for nearly three decades. Some of the Dominatrices who used the establishment as a springboard for their development was Mistress Tokyo (now with her own establishment in Sydney specializing in rubber and Japanese ropes bondage), and Domina V (now based in Brighton UK where she offers 'a safe place for sissies'). Down in Adelaide, South Australia, Mistress Electra Amore discusses the two year training programme for apprentices at Fetish Palace.
One of the accomplishments of the book is to identify what it is that Dominatrices actually do in their sessions, in a manner more coherent than the catch-all phrase of 'BDSM'. Featuring artwork by Lucina Nathanel and Nuit d'Or of their own intimate collaboration, and Natasha Gornik's recorded experience of Domme Jaguar with couple, the book provides a highly personal interpretation of the Dominatrices' 'Seven Realm Arts'.
The famous red dungeon room of the former Salon Kitty's ©
Sydney, Australia (run by Mistress Amanda Dwyer)