Ludovic Goubet is a French expatriate with a rich and consistent path to excesses with life... "The First French person to own a Rock and Jazz Club in the USA" !! He found, in photography, a great way to play hide and seek with his desires and fantasies. Interview with the photographer, but also with the man who, casually, tells us essential things about art and life ...
1. Whips, chains, leather, your cup of tea?
I would rather say my Absinte, bitter sweet and sweaty.
2. Initially, you have nothing to do with the Erotico/SM fetish universe: you were in jazz?
There were already the caves ... The sons of slaves enchained ... The sweat smell of cigar's smoke, women in stiletto heels and black stockings. This secret atmosphere that made of us feel to be on the sidelines of a "clean shaved" world and culture
In fact the Jazz could well be the soundtrack of the Fetish . There is definitely a relationship between a musician and his instrument. This enthusiasm to push his body to the limits playing 8 to 10 hours a day until his fingers bleed or that his lips are petrified. And then of course there's that sexual parfum that captivates people who live at night ...
3. What can lead a former juvenile delinquent to become the owner of one of the biggest rock clubs of the United States and photographer of naked women?
The desire to be noticed, appreciated, desired, respected. The déinquance, I have not seen it coming. I grew up in Villiers le Bel, a tough suburb of Paris , I followed bad influences and found myself one day juvenile offender.
It's true that I have enjoyed being part of a gang,secret societies, and private appointments.
We were a wild bunch with codes that reassured us. This is where I learned the value of a given word. The Chukker is not, was not the biggest club of states.. It was opened in 1956, the same day the prohibition ended in the county of Tuscaloosa Alabama.
The Chukker was an incredible adventure too long for this interview. But to answer this question. Most patrons of clubs are former juvenile offenders. The fact that mine was in Alabama is pure delirium...
I was father of two daughters and Pizza delivery man. I created a group of African Jazz " Indoor Samba Picinic "and we often played at The Chukker. When it went on sale, I jumped at the oportunity and collected in one week the money (God Bless America) The Chukker was located at equal distance from Nashville, Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans and on the road to Texas. we had all rock bands, surf-rock, garage rock, punk, Jazz, Blues, Country, Cajun etc etc passing on tour, which allowed me to have very big names and even legends such as Sun Ra, Dick Dale, Larry Coryell, Johnny Shine, The Hellacopters, the Addicts, The Lyres and many many many more.
The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix played at Chukker in the past. Incredible! And with the money and reconaissance my head got bigger and I started to drink, I made "trips" with Vietnam veterans, we were a dozen in motorcycle, we drank the moon shine. I fell into a coma for 24hr. After a depression and a detox, I met my second wife ...and started taking photos of her splendide nakedness...!!!
4. Your ex-wife was so beautiful that men were suddenly silent when she walked into a restaurant? You like beautifull babes ?
No babes are often futile. My ex was just incredibly magnitique. She was a triathlon junkie... Which gave her perfect body in my eyes. I must say I apreciated the prestige that her presence gave me.
Must it be said that at the time, I was very vain and egocentric. The money was flowing (almost afloat) there was the coke and Martinis. All this ended in a horible divorce american style.. Beauty is relative ...
5. What sexual fantasies lead you into the fetish and SM parties in Paris, armed with a huge camera ...
Another chance encounter. Back in France after my divorce I started to take photos of models in Normandy. One of them Was tattooed and made me discover the site of Demonia. It was just before the big Demonia party, I was invited by Francis. I knew immediately that I was sailing into another life. The camera has been my way of comunication with those present.
6. In addition to the erotic photography, you organize evenings and weekends in your mansion? Can you talk about ?
I love to entertain and to party.
7. Have you made the revolution with "Revolution fetish", your first private party leather-vinyl-latex , organized on July 13 ?
Yes, it was incredibly revolutionary. The first fetish/sm/erotico/ludique free party in paris (to my knowledge) .326 people from different millieux (goth, fetish, BDSM, Pin-up, Libertine, Artists. My goal was to propose people to be creative, to make possible encounter between people from different backgrounds, to discover the dark pleasures of sex play. there's nothing new in there, I did not create anything original. But as I am best known in the world of eroticism, it gives me a way to invite people who would normally be very reluctant in such environments. for example, there was no more than 60% of people found at the "soirée elastique"or sm night clubs. Many people were shocked, but they all stayed until 6am and some even participated and have discovered new horizons. I think it's time to organise those "soirée" in beautifull surrounding and salon...
8. Your website: a masturbatory mine?
Caution! My site is unique in the world ...: I realize I am one of, and may -be the only photographer who under his real name, aproaches all themes photographico-sexual and with success.... The editions Taschen are going to publish 6 of my photos in a book wich, according to the director of the collection, reassemble the best erotic photographers of the moment. I am published in the International Journal of eroticism and also in Interconexion, the Tribune of the Libertines and I'm also the only French photographer to have been published in the book of nude photos, "Naked" which is translated into five languages and distributed worldwide. This year I published 65 pictures. I am not a photographer of porn that does not interest me to take pictures of models with silicone and great makeup. My art is precisely to capture the beauty where some believe it does not exist.
9. Your dream?
Develop a Artistic Kibboutz on an island in the Caribbean.
10. If you were an animal, which would you be?
How would you describe your erotic work ?
The pictures speaks for themselve...
Where and what year were you born ?
1961 in Rueil-malmaison France.
Where were you raised and how would you describe your background neighborhood, school life ?
I spent my childhood in Villiers le Bel, a tought suburb of Paris. It was not a sad place, just full of colorfull people painting there life on a disolving canvas. School was like church. I always ended up in trouble with my Algerian freinds, not that we did bad things, we just did things that others did not tolerate...
Where do you live and work now ?
I live in Paris since a couple of years
How and when did you begin taking erotic photographs ?
My Father was a gambler and a womaniser , apart from being a Bariton singer and ?lectronic ingeneer. He called me Ludovic (wich mean playing in Latin ) and he had a good collection of ?rotic art books and subscription to the magazine Photo. He took photo as well and we had a dark room in the bathroom. He let me use one of his camera when I was around 19 . I then meet a girl and she posed for me. I took photos for a few month but the cost of paper et chemical was too high and I put the whole thing down. I started taking photos again in 1998, because of the incredible body of my second wife and the low cost of digital photography.
Which photographers inspired you initially and which today ?
Well I think that I was inspired equally by Brassai, Newton,Hamilton, Cartier-bresson,Doisneau with a little touch from Saudek. Of course it is fair to say that all the published photographers have been an influence and I thank them all. Today I look sometime at : Saudek, Joyce tenesson, Annie Leibowitz, Virginie Notte, Dejan Didzar.
What separates your work from other contemporary erotic photographers ?
I hope someone will answer this question for me. Most people say that I have a great respect in the way I show the women body, even in ?rotic situation. I also like to tell a story with my photos, and I put the modeles in a situation where they have the feeling that they can be themself with confidence. Most of my modeles are amateur and 90% had never posed before when I meet them.
Where do you find your models?
Most of the time I meet them in Paris's Night Clubs. I go to most of the f?tish party in the underground caves. I also put classified in papers. I tried the internet , but most girls are there for the money and I have none.
What makes a perfect model?
The désire to be a modele.
Does the ?muse? concept enter into your work?
It did with my first modele. I hope to find another muse, it's so magical to be atracted to someone in a artistic way. I have a few modeles with who I almost comunicate by th?l?pathie. I have one model with who I just cannot make a bad photo, it's just crazy, it's scares me...
What is the biggest obstacle you face in creating your photographs and in showing your erotic work?
Creating photographs is not dificult, but showing it is. Even in Paris it is hard to show diferent erotic art, not enought galery almost no printed support like art magazine. Internet is the best way so far for me, and I am happy with the freedom of choice that it procures me .
Do you recognize a line between erotic photography and pornography, and if so, where does it lie?
Well I think that ?rotic can be pornography, but pornography is seldom ?rotic. Pornogrphy is here for those who have no desir of imagination, who are unrespectfull toward women's body, who see sex as a violent way of affirming themself. But there is a guy named Andrew Blake who make good porn movie, we call that Porn Art... I think that erotic art should make you want to love the person you see when it's porno you want to F
Can, or should, a photo be called erotic that doesn't arouse lust ?
I think I just responded to this question.
What is your ultimate career goal?
Being published by Tashen under my name. To make erotic movies that inspire man to treat woman with respect.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a great lover, a good musicien , the most diversified photographer. A decent father.
What turns you on?
Girls in high heels boots with latex clothings and a strap-on. A 45 feet sloop. A hammac beetween two coconuts trees. My girlfriend.
Do you prefer film or digital, and why? What equipment are you using currently?
I use a Olympus E20 for economical reason. I prefer digital for now, but I will go back to film when I start making it. But I must say that digital is fantastic, it's just completly diferent aproach to photography.
How does the Internet affect your professional life (do you have a website)?
Internet is a wonderfull thing, I am completly satisfied with it. I have a website www.ludovicgoubet.com
1. Hello Ludovic Goubet, would you say that your photos navigate from the Glamour Porno chic with a hint of Trash ...
Yes, it sounds good, I think I'll keep this definition for now . Because very soon I will also show photos very soft and sensual. In fact I started with classical nudes due to the fact that I lived in Alabama and that for most girls, showing her breasts was not an easy thing to do, Over time they have learned the taste of nudity , for our greatest happiness of all. But it was very hard to decide from a field of artistic action, for I "was always subject to moral limits of models. One thing is sure I am interested in all forms of sexual expression and artistic.
2. A photographer is first a great voyeur ?
A photographer is not a voyeur, an exhibitionist he is ... Especially the paparazzi. I've become a voyeur because of the photo. I can not prevent myself from looking at women who have beautiful alure. Those who just made love or reading a love letter. Men are also beautiful when they cry. But I'm not into fitting rooms!
3. Your photographs does not tell us specifically what you are..., straight or bisexual, you gladly cultivate the ambiguity...
It is true that most photographers specialize quickly in a well-defined style. I call them binary. It does not interest me because their works is the product of numerous years of research on the same topic.
The photograph must remain (in my opinion) a way to enhance life by capturing the timeless and magic moments... Photographers who are preparing a photo by selecting the model, the decor, the lighting ... etc., etc. are not photographers, they are frustrated painters.... And it's the same thing with sexuality.
Straight, Bisexual, gay, I dont give a "fuck" to all these reassuring words. My photos represent human beings, who are sometimes ambiguous.
4. There is a terrible "amateur feel " in your work, in the best sense of course. Do you agree ?
In every sense of the term in fact. I never took photos classes and I do not earn my living through the pictures. But yes, I love taking pictures. I think for a man who loves human company photography is always a privileged and secret momment that last for ever...Especially when the model comes back regularly and trust settled.
I think the nude photographer, is the most feared of all, because with a photo he can make you cry or laugh and thus for life.
5. You are very sensitive to the shapes and movements of bodies...
Fortunately, if not I would change hobby.
6. Does photography feeds your fantasies ?
I answer the same thing as Hugh Heffner: It depends on the girl in the photo ... In fact i will answer both. I fantasize hugely before encountering a model, but I am by nature very dreamy and utopian.
But actually, I think (and I'll reveal a world interest secret) that fantasy is just a premonition of what can be achieved if you give yourself the means. I went from street musician to owner of one of the most famous rock'n Jazz club in the US, "The Chukker" (Jimmy Hendrix, the Rolling Stone, among others REM played there) I ride on cadillac with beautifull womens. All this is fantasy realized.
But it is true that in some way nude photography allowed me to calm my sexual fantasies.
I finally have the pleasure to be in the company of very beautiful women regularly, I watch them change, applying makeup, posing, laughing, playing femmes fatales, girls, and in addition they sometimes tell me their secrets (it's crazy that a woman can reveal when naked).
Of course do not believe that things are going on between my models and me, it's a fantasy that I learned not to have. I think many people have this desire to take photos for this reason. I had it, I confess. But it's a fantasy that the photo has calmed.
7. What is the style Goubet if you were to define yourself ?
Louis XIV without hesitation. Besides, I look like him. The last time I was in Versailles on company of the surrealist painter Mitchell Cashion, tourists stopped to take pictures of us, before a large painting of the king. I have the sense of excess. My style is multicultural, I lived in Spain and the Caribbean, and 16 years in the United States.
My influences may be able to reveal my style. Saudek, Brassai, Hamilton, and the master of porn-art Andrew Blake. I think actually I do not have a defined style.......
8. What is you most beautifull encounter as a photographer
One that made me the most trouble! My ex!
9. What's romantic about fetishism ?
All, of course! Other than the name ...Maybe..
10. Where did you want to finish this interview ?
By saying a big thank you to Bill Gates and all the geniuses who have invented the Internet. there's now no possibility of censorship on the part of any government. I think the Internet will be the biggest creation in the whole history of mankind.