Review of Barbara Nitke's New Book of Fetish Photography:
Kiss of Fire

by Sensuous Sadie

There's a photo of fetish photographer Barbara Nitke that particularly fascinates me. She stares out at me with a slightly fanatical glint in her eye, a glint that reflects of the tart beauty of her art. Her fetish photography is not the pseudo porn slop littered across the internet. No girls gazing up and pleading, "please rescue me." No perfectly formed breasts glowing with perfect lighting. No close-ups of giant penises, milk spurting out like Old Faithful. Nor is her photography the kind of photos that I have so often done of myself - portraits designed to make me look glamorous and sexy, but mostly devoid of real BDSM content.

Instead we see the very real players of the New York City BDSM scene. Real women and men, big and small, thin and fat, dressed in glamour and dressed in nothing. All of them expressing the mystique that happens between two people exploring BDSM together. The agony of a hard whipping, the tenderness of aftercare, the laughter after an odd moment. Barbara's photos are far more than beautiful lighting and glowing body parts. Instead she captures the intimacy, mystery, and darkness of our world.

Kiss of Fire is a beautiful coffee table book with over 60 stunning photographs published on a glossy paper stock. Each photograph is notated, sharing the secrets behind each story. At the end of the book, I felt as if she had invited me into this secret world, peering around her and her camera into these beautiful scenes for a glimpse of something elusive. I found this book a wonderful way to share BDSM with a friend, not the practical how-to-tie-them-up stuff, but the intangible mystery that makes our explorations truly unique.


Barbara Nitke is a well-known fetish photographer living in the New York City area. Her photographs are posted on her website as well as in the collection of The Finnish Museum of Photography, the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago, and in numerous private collections in the US and abroad. She has been a featured artist at many S/M conventions across the country. She is a member of The Eulenspeigel Society (the oldest S/M support and educational group in the country) and also of the Lesbian Sex Mafia, a women-only group based in New York. She has also received a President's Choice Award for community service by Pantheon of Leather. Barbara is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York, and is the president of the Camera Club of New York, which was founded by Alfred Steiglitz in 1884.

Read the SCENEprofiles Interview with Barbara Nitke at:

Barbara's Website

Barbara's E-mail Address


Sensuous Sadie is the author of It's Not About the Whip: Love, Sex, and Spirituality in the BDSM Scene. She is the founder and leader (1999 - 2001) of Rose & Thorn, Vermont's first BDSM group. Comments, compliments and complaints, as well as requests for reprinting can be addressed to her at or visit her website at . Sadie believes the universe is abundant, and that sharing information freely is part of this abundance, so she allows reprints of her writing in most venues.

Copyright 2003 Sadie Sez Publications