Currently reading : Joe Vanos and his private face deforming fetish
Joe locks himself away in a room in his middle class home and takes self portraits of himself covering his face with tights and other domestic materials. Sometimes he wears animal masks with a woman’s satin shirt, other times he inflates a latex glove over this face but most of the time he wears womens stockings to distort and disfigure himself to the point of having no recognisable identity.
Looking at Joe in these photos is a bit like looking into the depth of someones soul, the most private reaches of an individuals self exploration are presented to us with no boundaries.
How often do we see affluent, white men so openly create without the excess of ego or socially ingrained concepts of sexuality infiltrating them? The production of imagery without any premeditated arrogance or plan is now such an unusual happening.
Being able to voyeur a totally random man’s deepest sexual experimentations with no barriers is alone a fascinating process but especially so when their explorations are so intrinsically creative and unattainable.
Joe’s age is also another area of fascination. He is over the age of sixty adding to the intrigue of how he uses modern technology to discover a fetish he has embodied his entire life. Sexuality doesn’t stop being something to explore once you reach a certain age but urges and curiosities remain enflamed. In this case, the internet has enabled him to explore it with other like minded fetishists therefore allowing him to have an objective to create towards.
Maybe what is so special about Joe is his originality. The juxtapositions of classic menswear, the safely educated interiors to his home accompanied with him wearing a gas mask with nylon stockings over his head reach the spectrum of outstanding perversion. However this is only interesting to us because Joe is utterly ambivalent to it.
You know that you’re not supposed to be looking at these photos, in fact no one is. You can’t help but feel like an uncomfortable voyeur as Joe stares straight into the camera. But once again like many other of these fetish photos there is nothing conceptually ‘wrong’ with them.
It is all too easy to think of perversion as something dangerous and regressive. Is Joe a pervert? He possesses all of the stereotypes of one, an older, balding white man wearing starched shirts who enjoys reading books about the history of Ireland all seems too perfectly obvious.
However his fetish is completely and utterly private. A form of unadulterated self pleasure and discovery which is now so unusual in many peoples modern lives. In fact the harder you look at these images the more harmless and more playful they seem. To celebrate discovering Joe’s fetish within the depths of Flickr we’ve spoken to him to find out more about his ritualistic series of self portraiture.
Is your fetish completely private? Does anyone else know about it?
My fetish is private, only close friends and family know about it. And my partner.
How did you realise that your liked wearing women’s tights on your face?
Woman’s tights on my face ? Stupid, really ! Boys at my early school days, played around with stocking masks. I liked to try it myself. Asked my mother for an old stocking, and played. Innocent child’s play! But my father, stupidly, became very angry, I did not understand, (maybe he recognised something?) So I stopped playing, but played on in secret. I think that this angry reaction, more or less ”progammed” this play! Without it, you just play around, and forget about it. Never interfere with innocent child’s play!
Why do you feel the need to document these private acts?
Document act- It is fun for yourself-on your self. I try to do picture story’s, so I can watch the effect.
What do you feel you get out of sharing them?
Sharing them ?-I am sure that there are more like me ! Only it is mostly done in the bedroom, in strictly private ! Sharing them, my wish was to have some contact with others, (internet). But as not one fetish is the same, ”they” are searching, think they have found something, then, something is not to their taste, and they lose interest, and go on searching ! I find it very sad…
Do you like the visualisation of morphing your face?
I like the shine of nylon on my face, and others, but lucky enough, let’s say, You Tube, you can find many others playing around with pantyhose!
How does your partner feel about your fetish, do they also get involved or is it totally private?
My partner knowes about it. But does,nt want to be confronted by it. I am free to ”play” whenever i want, in my room, he doesn’t interfere.
How often do you wear tights?
It is important that I am not stressed, nothing on my mind, to concentrate on my fetish. But it is also important to play regularly to not get stressed. It is like a drug-it gets my mind at ease.
How does the environment of you being at home effect how you feel? Do you ever want to try them on in other places away from your home?
I never go out, wearing something (pantyhose-girdle etc.) It doesn’t feel comfortable. I tried it
How long have you been doing this for?
How long.-The experience at school, i was about 8 years old. When does it become a sexual thing ? In my adolescent years. I used to play with my mothers stockings in secret. Nobody at home. Later on-living with my partner in my twenties, just in my fantasy. Then, about 1987, 37 years old, all those information programs on TV, about all possibilitys of sex, i slowly realized that my fantasy was about fetishism! And so I talked with my partner (see my previous answer about that).
You occasionally wear masks too, why is this?
The masks- The nylon stockings are my fetish- but i have many ”likes” The masks-specially rubber-latex-it became a thing the same way as the stockings-you like it-play around-but daddy forbid it-(parents can be so stupid) But I also like nylon sportswear. Now that is a world related to fetishism ! (Designers work with the secret feelings) And nylon shirts for men-that horrible thing-but i like it. (Memories of sweaty bodies in my school days!)
What is the closest you have come to meeting someone with a similar fetish to yours?
Meeting-My partner won,t allow it-(specially after his brain attack) And in secret-that is not my thing! Few years ago almost met someone-internet contact-who lived nearby-but it did not work out in the end. (Later i discovered that he lived nearby-was on facebook-just a boy who was on drugs and in the evening-high-tried to get contact-just for fun-nothing serious!) So i nearly escaped ! Ofcourse i long for someone to play with-like so many of us. But you are very lucky if you actually have someone, a partner or a friend!
How has he internet changed your fetish?
So long live internet and all its blessings !! I like the world wide possibilitys of internet-so I can watch someone in China-playing with pantyhose ! 2007-My mother died-2008, After the clear up of her home, my cousin recommended internet-and helped with the first steps. You can imagine that i tried EVERYTHING to find out about my fetish-possibilitys ! It is a relief to find out that there are more like me-and that there are many sites about sex. Things you can’t imagine! The possibilities are endless ! So in my sixties now, I only ask myself, why now? Now it’s too late to change my life and do more with my fetish. But would i have liked it? It comes when you are ready for i! I am often jealous to see someone in his twenties, and know more than I do now…Kindest, Joe.