Photographer of the Week: Solmaz Saberi

Since her childhood in Germany, the joy in Iranian-born Solmaz Saberi’s life came from fashion. Now she’s a noted fashion photographer based in Los Angeles, having first got into the business as a hair stylist and make-up artist. And her photos are breathtakingly beautiful.

Picking up the energy on the set is key to her technique: she doesn’t plan ahead meticulously, but responds to the creativity of the models and technicians working with her.

The result: some striking poses and stunning compositions!

She has her own magazine, Unleash’d, which often includes runs of picture that tell a story. And, however much she goes with the flow, she also recognizes the need for coherence:

‘My stories need to be cohesive, make sense, not just as a story but the feel and colors. You can’t start a story moody and then the mood of the model changes.’

One cohesive story she told concerned a celebrity couple, the Californian actress Nazanin Mandi and the Mexican singer Miguel.

Err… who’s the photographer here?

Twang a man’s braces and you may have to face the consequences.

Come on, Miguel, don’t let her off too lightly!

If you are interested in Solmaz Saberi’s work, please visit her website.

Spank the Journalist

Meet Vicky Davila.

She’s a broadcaster and journalist in Colombia.

And, if you pay attention to the background (and have a smattering of Spanish), you can see that she is a political journalist – and a serious one, too. Her stories have exposed scandals and held authority to account, which I guess is just what we want from our journalists, whether or not they also have nice legs.

In August 2009, some felt that she went too far when interviewing the then Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. It was what you might call a robust interview, which is again very much the sort of thing we’d hope to see from a serious political journalist. But Venezuelan Presidents are not noted for their equanimity in the face of dissent: offense was taken and Vicky was rebuked for being aggressive and confrontational. One satirist had an idea what Chavez should have done with her:

And maybe that too is something we might enjoy seeing happen to our serious political journalists – but only if they have nice legs!

Shrewing, Brazilian Style

If Fred Graham’s troupe of strolling players had included South America in their itinerary, instead of Italy, their musical celebration of the laughs, bars, dough and girls to be found in Cremona might have been suitably replaced with the line, ‘Lots of spanking in Brazil’. They might also have needed to make certain associated amendments to their musical version of The Taming of the Shrew, which, remember, features no scripted spanking scene and only gets its unscripted one when Fred loses his temper with Lilli on stage…

Today we’re going to look at two recent examples of Brazilian Shrew spanking, one a straight performance given by a musical theater company, and one a musical version performed by a straight acting group. The former was done at Niteroi in 2014, by way of celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth, and was a staged reading rather than a fully rehearsed show. In other words, the actors hadn’t learned their lines in advance, so each of them carried their own script and needed to keep hold of it throughout the performance, no matter what was going on. The result is the slightly artificial effect you can see in this picture of Priscilla Borring’s Kate being beastly to Bianca:

But when she tries it on with Petruchio (Leo Moreira Gomes)…

the outcome isn’t quite as she might have wished:

And just for once, the actors have relinquished their scripts – you can see them on the ground at Petruchio’s feet. Giving the shrew a good spanking is something best accomplished with your hands free, and as for Kate, she can ad lib this part of her part – since most of what she has to say is likely to be variations on the word ‘Ouch!’

Even in Brazil, The Taming of the Shrew raises legitimate questions about sexual politics, and in 2015 these were inventively addressed in a musical adaptation by Luiz Paulo Correa e Castro. It was performed by his Rio-based experimental theater group, Nos do Morro, in July and August that year, plus a short revival run the following May to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

It worked by, in effect, telling the story twice, simultaneously. The cast of twenty were divided into two troupes. Ten of them were actors. The other ten were clowns. Here are Marcello Melo and Melissa Arievo, the actors playing Petruchio and Kate:

And now meet the clown Kate, Lorena Baesso:

Each of these two ‘sides’ performed competing versions of the play, often with the same scenes running concurrently, each using a completely different theatrical language: straight acting versus surreal physical comedy.

For example, in the scene where Petruchio convinces his prospective father-in-law, against all the obvious indications, that the bride really is willing, the actors in the foreground do a lot of talking, along with a certain amount of conventional slapstick. Meanwhile, in the background, the clown Petruchio crosses the stage pulling a shopping trolley – with the clown Kate’s head poking out of the top. Two different sets of business, and two different implied attitudes to the story; and the effect was to put interpretations and responses into tension, rather than obliging the audience to take a single version of the play as it stands.

And one vital piece of business was not forgotten, in the acting version, at least:

Of course, we can’t expect every Brazilian Shrew to feature spanking, any more than there’s a spanking scene in every Brazilian telenovela; so maybe the Latin American leg of the Fred Graham Roadshow’s tour would have gotten away without hiring the Spanking Spewacks to write in some new business. But still, as always with Brazil, there’s a greater risk for actresses, and a greater potential reward for us. So let’s have another three cheers for the Brazilians!

Photographer of the Week: Lance Andrews

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Lance Andrews of In Vogue Photography is a fine art and fashion photographer based in Greenville, South Carolina.

He describes his work as ‘sophisticated, yet different without making a big fuss about it’.

His imagery effortlessly achieves a very modern look, even when it makes ‘retro’ gestures.

His colors, when used, are brilliant and luminous, really eye-catching:

And everyone he shoots ends up showing real grace and poise, no matter what they’re doing.

The shoot that most interests us was in mid-July 2017. Posing for Lance’s lens were Samantha Weiss and her boyfriend Josh Royston. Let’s meet Samantha:

But it seems Samantha has been naughty:

In fact, she must have been very naughty!

If you are interested in Lance’s photography, please visit the In Vogue website.

Where the Spankings Come From

Latin America seems to have a much more relaxed and much less complicated attitude to spanking than many people do in the tormented liberal north. Nowhere is this truer than Brazil, itself a society of admirable and long-standing liberal values, where it is illegal to spank children, but where television viewers can enjoy an abundance of the kind of traditional M/F spanking scenes that fell out of fashion decades ago in the English-speaking world.

To illustrate that, we turn to the prolific Brazilian ‘telenovela’ genre, halfway between a very long serial and a soap opera. Our initial set of examples spans more than a quarter of a century, from the late 1980s to the mid-2010s:

2011 Morde & Assopra

This is relatively unexplored territory: each series is extensive and there have been hundreds of them over the years. There are probably a number of spanking scenes that have yet to come to light – and there must be many more that never will, since Brazilian television certainly used the scenario in its programming well before the era of home video and accessible viewing, or indeed responsible broadcast archiving. This is a progressive modern nation enjoying a plenitude of mainstream media spanking to rival the Golden Age of Hollywood in the Thirties and Forties.

So if you’re an actress in Brazil today, your chances of making it through to the end of your career without being spanked are worse than those of your fellow professionals in the USA or Britain!

For a case in point, let’s turn to Regiane Alves.

She has worked as a model, albeit not always as underdressed as this:

And as an actress her big break came in 2003 when she was cast to play the conceited, self-centered Doris in the telenovela Mulheres Apaixonadas (Women in Love), a character who achieved infamy in Brazil for the way she mistreated her grandmothers. In the final episode, Doris at long last meets with retribution, administered by her father, played by Marcos Caruso.

To publicize this pleasing outcome, some photographs were taken:

Mulheres Apaixonadas 3Mulheres Apaixonadas 2Mulheres Apaixonadas 1 Marcos Caruso & Regiane Alves

After that, the actual episode comes as a bit of a disappointment, because what Doris gets isn’t an OTK spanking at all but a full-on belt thrashing:

That was the end of Doris and Mulheres Apaixonadas, but Regiane Alves wasn’t finished with telenovelas, nor with us. In 2010, she joined the cast of Tempos Modernos (Modern Times), which is all about Leal, a millionaire who divides his business empire between his three daughters – a story that may seem just a little familiar to anyone who knows their Shakespeare. Regiane plays the middle daughter, Goretti, whose efforts to run her share of the business are not as successful as Leal would like. In fact, she makes such a mess of it that he decides what she needs is…

2010 Tempos Modernos Antonio Fagundes spanks Regiane Alves

And, thanks to the magic of closed-circuit television, she gets it in front of her entire disgruntled workforce too!

So Tempos Modernos inducted Regiane into the ‘spanked more than once club’. And what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The actor playing her father is Antonio Fagundes, and he has a track record that goes way back to 1974, when he played the male lead in the telenovela O Machao (The Tough Guy). It’s all about Petruchio, a macho man who agrees to marry a rich man’s daughter in a bid to settle his debts, even though the young woman has an aversion to men. That too is a story that may seem just a little Shakespearean, and indeed Petruchio’s reluctant bride, played by Maria Izabel de Lizandra, is named Caterina. So it may not be much of a surprise to learn that the taming of this shrew entails the following:

1974 O Machao with Antonio Fagundes & Maria Izabel de Lizandra

So Fagundes is notable for his longevity, but for frequency and impact (in every sense), the king of the Brazilian spankers has to be Jose Mayer, known informally as Zé.

This probably has something to do with the type of alpha male he tends to play: rough, aggressive countrymen, whose way of handling romantic complications is likely to be a little less urbane than the usual stereotypically suave Latin lover. In 1988, for example, he took the role of the farmer Fernando Flores in Fera Radical (Wild Beast), the story of Claudia, who, as a teenager, witnessed the murder of her family by arson and now returns home determined to take revenge. She’s played by Malu Mader:

Claudia is sure that the Flores family is responsible for the crime, but she eventually falls in love with Fernando. But telenovelas tell long, long stories, and the path of true love rarely runs entirely smooth:

By Brazilian standards, this is a very short spanking: it’s rare for an actress to get fewer than ten slaps, nor is it uncommon to go beyond twenty, but Claudia gets only five. Twelve years later, however, Mayer upped his game when he appeared in 2000’s Laços de Familia (Family Ties) with Deborah Secco.

Deborah Secco aDeborah Secco

Deborah plays Iris, a manipulative young woman who falls for the rough stable-owner Pedro (Mayer) and tries everything she possibly can to split him up with his girlfriend Cintia (Helena Ranaldi). For his part, he regards her as nothing but a spoilt child, which has predictable consequences at a relatively early point in the series:

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There are two unusual things about this scene. One is that Iris is wearing only a top and her panties: in telenovelas it’s much more common for girls to be spanked fully dressed. And the other is that the scene ends while the spanking is still going on (after nineteen slaps, stats fans). These two unusual things may not be entirely unconnected.

Deborah Secco was keen to give the scene the impact of authenticity, so during rehearsals, she asked Jose Mayer to spank her for real, and when it came to film the scene, he duly obliged. She had arguably miscalculated in two ways. The first was that, with very little protection for her vulnerable rear end, it hurt a lot more than she expected; she was nursing a sore bottom for the next week. And more immediately, the power of the ongoing spanking eventually made her break character. She was supposed to ad lib variants on the line ‘Stop, Pedro, stop!’ (in Portuguese, of course), but some way into the spanking, what came out of her mouth was, ‘Para, Zé, para, nao aguento mas’ (‘Stop, Zé, stop – I can’t take it any more’) – which meant they had to stop filming. Cutting early to a new scene was a generous alternative to making her do a retake.

But Iris wasn’t done with Pedro, and Jose Mayer wasn’t done with Deborah. Later in the series, Iris dolls herself up in a clingy little black dress and throws herself at Pedro again. His response is a display of hyper-masculinity: he carries her bodily to the sink,

forcibly washes the make-up off her face,

then holds her under the shower until she’s dripping and, when she takes that badly, throws her over his knee and spanks her – at length!

And if Deborah couldn’t take it any more after nineteen on the seat of her panties, this time she got thirty-one through a very wet dress! But it was worth it: this spanking is now considered one of the iconic scenes of Brazilian television history.

Jose Mayer can act and he can spank, but that’s not the end of his talents: he can sing too. So when a major new production of Kiss Me Kate was planned for Rio in 2015, it was obvious who should play Petruchio to Alessandra Verney’s Kate:

So Alessandra got expert treatment,

O ator José Mayer e a atriz Alessandra Verney com os figurinos da peça Kiss Me, Kate.

as did another suitable lady who happened to be passing:

2015 Rio Carol Lobato

(She’s actually the production’s costume designer.)

So let’s hear it for Brazil, where not only the nuts but the spankings come from!

The Medicine Man

Rather like A Bad Year for Tomatoes, David Grote’s farce The Medicine Man (1980) sits on a potentially lucrative theatrical boundary line: it’s often produced by high schools and amateur groups, but it also appeals to professional troupes and dinner theaters looking for something light and entertaining.

The central character, Samuel P. Sagamore, left his wife and daughter ten years ago to lead a life as a mendicant confidence trickster. Now he checks into a rundown hotel in a small California town, and who should be there, quite by chance, but Mrs Agnes Sagamore. She’s the proprietor…

The plot, when it arrives, may be just a little familiar. Agnes sends for the local sheriff to have her errant husband thrown in jail, but Sagamore seizes his chance to stay at liberty by making himself indispensable to Señor Vega, the wealthiest man in town, whose daughter has been struck mute. He’s looking for a doctor to cure her, so Sagamore duly becomes a doctor, in spite of his complete lack of medical qualifications – and also, you might say, in spite of himself…

Yes, it’s an adaptation of Moliere’s Le Médecin Malgré Lui, complete with a spanking in the opening scene when the reunited husband and wife quarrel, and Agnes goes on the offensive.

(She leaps on him, trying to scratch his eyes. He grabs both her hands, and pulls her down across his lap, beginning to spank her.)

AGNES: Quit that!

SAGAMORE: You brought it on yourself, my little apple core.

March 26, 1982: Brad Warner spanks Cindy Foster at Ashton High School, Illinois

March 26, 1982: Brad Warner spanks Cindy Foster at Ashton High School, Illinois

AGNES: When I get my hands on you, you’ll beg for mercy.

SAGAMORE (still spanking): You forget, my dear, that I currently have the upper hand.

AGNES: Not for long.

SAGAMORE: Apologise?

AGNES: Never!

SAGAMORE (spanking again): Then I shall have to continue, I’m afraid.

November 1982: Melinda Weber gets a spanking from Mike Wenger at Maple Valley High School, Iowa

November 1982: Melinda Weber gets a spanking from Mike Wenger at Maple Valley High School, Iowa

And at that point, the sheriff arrives…

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… which means Sagamore’s troubles have really begun. Agnes tries to send the lawman away, but he won’t go.

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SHERIFF: He’s trying to beat you. This is a civilized town, and we don’t hold to men beating up on a lady, not as long as I’m the sheriff.

SAGAMORE: What lady’s that?

SHERIFF: That sweet, darling little widow woman you are holding over your lap, sir.

SAGAMORE (letting go): Oh, I’m sorry, my dear, I didn’t recognize you for a lady.

And so the story gets going, more or less as it does in Moliere’s comedy…

In 2011, the play was produced by the Great American Vaudeville Company in Oceano, California, with George Walker as Sagamore and, as Agnes, Bree Murphy, daughter of Eddie. Unfortunately I can’t show you Bree being spanked, but this picture of her may whet your imagination:

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The most recent known school production was in 2014 at a high school in Texas, as the annual dinner theater show, and the spanking was administered using an unusual implement: a feather duster!

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Photographer of the Week: Jonathon LeDeux

Jonathon LeDeux, from San Leandro, California, originally worked as a painter and model, and spent some time in England in those capacities. The logical next step, he decided, was to be a photographer.

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Was it really logical? Maybe not, because he suffers from impaired vision. But in practise, what that means is that, as an art photographer, he sees light in an unusual way.

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One distinctive, recurring feature of his work is the juxtaposition of imagery with text, which modifies the overall impact of the piece:

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His muse, he says, is a model named Shelly:

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But of more immediate interest to us is one named Imani Rose, seen here with male model Buffalo Head, who is also not irrelevant:

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Here she is in costume for the shoot in question:

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And with Buffalo Head:

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And the outcome was…

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If you are interested in Jonathon LeDeux’ work, please visit his online portfolio.