I received this volume as a gift, given by a friend who knows my interest in forensic and fetish photography. The subtitle is `A Medical Art Diary 1993-1996,' but it is actually a difficult book to classify. It is composed of 100 plates, most of which are of bandaged women in various stages of mild undress. They are either wandering around Tokyo, in hospital rooms, or at home. There are some additional contextual shots of scenes in the city without the obligatory bandaged woman.
I am tempted to leave it at that. There is no doubt that this is fetish photography. The liner notes write of Slocomb's vision of Tokyo as `a city seething with undercurrents of violent fantasy, fetishism and bondage.' What gives me a problem is that Slocombe's images lack the kind of intensity that I would expect in this kind of photography. If anything, the bandaging de-sexualizes the women, unlike true bondage, which over-emphasizes sexuality.
The printing style emphasizes this difference. All but the cover are in black and white, and are a bit soft in tone and focus. Composition is very offhand and snapshot-like. The overall effect is almost ethereal and bloodless. It's as is we are living in a dream, but one that lacks a story line. I find myself intellectually understanding the implications of the photographs, but totally lacking any visceral reaction.
If I were to attack the same problems, I know I would do it differently. I would strive for some element (other than the mere presence of bandaged women) to focus the viewer and provide continuity over the range of images. Slocombe's choices are interesting, but I do not find them compelling