Text and Photographs by Tony Ward, Copyright 2023
Erica and The Dungeon
I don’t remember Erica that well. I only shot with her once. There was a guy she was with, presumably her boyfriend made arrangements for her to meet me at the dungeon.
Getting to any dungeon is a process. You have to know certain people. The folks that operate a fetish dungeon operate on the edges of what is lawfully allowed to function in some states in the US. In Philadelphia, the location of this particular dungeon some 20 years ago was operated by a friend of mine that I met taking pictures at a fetish party in the early 1990’s. He had a distinguished look about him. An older man in comparison to the young men and women he was often assigned to photograph. They were part of the Philadelphia underground scene, the raves, fetish parties, Electric Factory events that were off the chain you would see him there.
We became friendly enough do to the mutual respect we had for each others work. When he learned through the grapevine that I was producing pictures for Larry Flynt’s Taboo Magazine, I found out that the photographer by day was a dungeon manager at night.
I had to go through quite a process just to enter the place. The location was a secret and you had to be trusted to even get close to the front door. I was told to call him from a phone booth that he could see from outside of the dungeon’s window. There would be a wave and then I had to be at the disclosed entrance within a matter of seconds or I was told he wouldn’t let me in. Once I got through the protocol, the shoot with Erica began and ended with the model seated on a faux electric chair. The dungeon master made a cameo at the end of this most memorable series.
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