An Interview with People Magazine Australia

PMA:  Name, age and nationality?

ANDY:  Andy Craddock, (working artistically as ‘Neolestat’), 42 and British.

PMA:  What got you started in photography?

ANDY: Probably a mix of mid life crisis, an urge for creativity in my life and a feeling of boredom working in the commercial sector. I have always had a creative streak and a love of art and photography but I was on a career path that meant I had no time for them; I was working as a senior manager for a multi million pound building company when I shot my first few model shoots. Slowly the urge to be creative rather than managerial dominated and I gave up my job, company car, salary etc to become a full time photographer.

PMA:  Who/what inspired you?

ANDY:  It’s rather what ‘inspires’ me. I am inspired on a daily basis by the desire to be different and to create images that people might not have seen before. On a photographic level I am inspired by the people I work with, by the late Bob ‘Carlos’ Clarke, by Richard Kern and Bob Coulter. Each of these photographers has or had a style of their own. Each took glamour or porn in a different direction to what had gone before and made it art rather than material to masturbate over.

PMA:  Do you shoot commercially or just as an artist?

ANDY:  I shoot commercially for fetish clothing manufacturers and corsetieres, commercially for model portfolios, I shoot for pleasure and I shoot for exhibitions. I love what I do so any excuse to get the camera out works for me.

PMA:  What are you trying to achieve through your photographs?

ANDY:  I’m trying to create something different and new. Definitely something beautiful, definitely something erotic and hopefully artistic but that’s not for me to judge. In the UK the heavy bondage scene is pretty much male dominated and usually shot on location as sexual imagery. I wanted to try something different so I shot females wearing heavy bondage in a high fashion style. I wanted the focus to be on the model and the leather/rubber wear rather than the sexuality. I also like to mix conventions so rather than have a ‘top’ looking domineering I would rather shoot them submissively and bound. Very few people are 100% top or bottom, straight or gay, male or female so why not mix and match to show this?

PMA:  Tell us a bit about the models you use?

ANDY:  I tend to find the models I work with through online modelling sites or by direct scouting. I consider myself a good example of the average male so I'm hoping that if I find a model attractive it’s a safe bet the majority will also. If I had a ‘look’ I preferred to work with it would be the ‘girl next door’ look. I shy away from the standard porn star/fashion model look and would rather shoot a girl that seems accessible. I like to mix and match here also; shoot the glamour model in a fetish style and shoot the fetish model in a glamour style. It throws them off balance a little so you tend to get personality rather than pose. I like personality!

PMA:  Tell us a little something about these photographs (featured in the magazine) and what it took to produce them.

ANDY:  There is a mix here of old and new. I think with the majority of my photography trust is the most important thing to produce the images I do. Trust and communication. I pride myself as being a completely ethical and hands off photographer, I like my shoots to be relaxed and fun. I try to build a rapport with the model and try to let her own personality dominate the shoot.

I tend not to use structured poses, I ask the model to act, to imagine a scenario and to react accordingly. I like the model to feel comfortable and relaxed and partly in control. I shoot with my camera tethered to my computer so the model can see each pose as I take the photo and readjust herself accordingly. I believe that stopping on a regular basis to discuss comfort levels, chill for a while and drink copious amounts of coffee also helps.

PMA:  What do you love about the female body?

ANDY:  Hmmm… That’s a difficult question to answer. I really think that since photography took over my life my perception has changed. Age has also changed my perception. I tend to look at and watch women everywhere, (luckily my partner understands). I no longer look at women as sexual objects I tend to look at them aesthetically. I’m a sucker for a pretty face so I tend to start at the top and work down. I’m well aware that the majority of the teens and twenty somethings I shoot will not find a slightly overweight, middle aged, tattooed skinhead attractive so why kid myself? I like youth and freshness and any male that says otherwise is lying. I prefer pert to pendulous and firm to highly toned or highly overweight. I like women that exude softness rather than hardness.

Personally, although I tend not to dwell on it, I suppose I would be called a ‘breast’ man. My partner and I while out and about (she also helps me scout as well as being understanding) tend to look for women with what we jokingly call ‘single bounce boobs’. If a women stops walking and her boobs bounce once, firmly, then we’re on track. If she stops and her breasts don’t and carry on swaying she’s too big for the ‘Neolestat’ look and if they don’t move at all she’s too small. ‘Single Bounce Boobs’ are definitely the way forward.

PMA:  Thank you for your time.

ANDY:  You're very welcome, thank you for the feature.

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