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Who are the photographers capturing strippers the right way?

Photography of strippers is not about props, fantasies, or blank canvases to project ideas upon. Rather, the best photographers of strippers are the ones that capture them as humans, not sexual objects.

Some photographers double as strippers, and vice versa. And some just have a knack for covering these dancers in their purest lights. Whatever the case, we examined a list of stripper photographers that just get it, and their empathy and understanding shines through in their photographs.

You’ve seen TikTok’s and Instagram posts of strippers in clubs, on poles, on stages. And now you may want to capture the world of glitter, neon lights, and skin yourself.

Read on to find out what pitfalls to avoid, what things to consider, and how to highlight the humans and not the sex. 

First things to consider with stripper photography

First thing’s first, make sure the club you’re shooting the stripper in allows photography.

Many clubs don’t, some clubs do. You can easily find this out by looking up the club’s website, giving them a call, or stopping by. 

Then, even if the club happens to allow photography, depending on if you’re planning to use the photographs for commercial or professional use rather than just as an IG story, you will need to talk to the dancers and other club workers.

To use the dancer’s images you will need a release form; make sure they’re all down to be on camera. Strippers are not your props to use for a photography project; respect their autonomy and freedom to say no. 

Once those practical issues are solved, we can get into the juicier bits. 

The keys to being a good stripper photographer

The main thing to consider with stripper photography is: how do you portray them in a way that is fully acknowledging their humanness and not just a sexy depiction of a naked body?

To get a glimpse of how to answer this, we can look at the work of past photographers that tackled this question. 

One of the most noteworthy stripper photographers is Susan Meiselas. While her work usually centers around war, she also spent time photographing strippers and dominatrixes.

In her projects “Carnival Strippers” (1972-1975) and “Pandora’s Box” (1995), she is one of the first to explore these often-stigmatized worlds. 

In a 1998 review of Meiselas’ work, Margarett Loke writes for the New York Times that “Meiselas insists on seeing people as people, no matter where they find themselves.”

It’s this lack of judging, this focus on the person in the profession rather than the profession itself, that makes for powerful images of strippers. 

More professionals weigh in

The best photography of a stripper is intimate.

It shows not just the dancer’s stage presence and acrobatics, but also the glances in the mirror before their shift, the private moment they have with a fellow dancer, the way the light hits their face as they enter the stage. 

A look at Rachel Lena Esterline’s work will show just that.

The San-Francisco-based photographer has been capturing the lives of strippers since March 2014. She has been documenting her journey into the world on her Instagram and website. 

“In the beginning the girls were cautious,” Esterline said in an interview with Independent.

She added “…but they trust me. We trust each other. When you’re in, you’re in.”

Scrolling through her website the projects, most labeled by name of the women in the shots, feel casual and comfortable. The shots show the women in their own space, lounging, dancing, existing. The fact that they’re strippers is never judged or questioned. 

In an interview with Forbes, Esterline said: “Moving beyond judgment is essential to what I make. I’ve learned, and continue to learn, how to let go of potentially harmful, reprocessed beliefs about the industry.”

It all starts with clearing your head of all judgment

Letting go of judgment includes not judging the choices of the women or questioning their reasons for being in the profession. It includes not objectifying them.

The other side of this coin is to not romanticize them either. Yes, they look like goddesses on stage, in neck-breaking heels and halos from spots that light their most flattering features but that’s not all that they are. 

Erika Langley, a photojournalist took it a step further in getting to know the real women for her project Lusty Ladies, which began in 1992.

She describes it on her website:

“When I approached the Lusty Lady, a peep show run by women in downtown Seattle, and asked if I could photograph their dancers, they said I’d have to become one. So I did.” 

Erika Langley

By becoming a dancer herself, Langley gained even more access to the women she was photographing. Now, she was not just documenting their intimate lives but living them with the dancers. 

Ivar Wigan is another photographer who dove into the culture to document the strippers and their lifestyle as honestly as possible.

For his project “The Gods,” the Scottish photographer spend six months exploring the street culture and stripper scene of Atlanta, New Orleans, and Miami.

He avoided photography for the first eight weeks that he was there as he wanted to be fully immersed and accepted before starting the documentation.

“For me, making the series was about being part of it, and showing it from their side and avoiding the politics,” Wigan said in an interview with Hunger when asked about the strippers specifically. 

Photography of a stripper in principle is not much different than photography of anything else. Don’t judge, and pay attention

So, what are the takeaways for photography of a stripper? First off, don’t judge. That is the cornerstone of photography in any subject.

Then, don’t rush. Take your time to really get to know the people you’re photographing. Make sure they consent to be photographed. 

Finally, photograph the dancers as people. Not props, not fantasies, not blank slates to project your ideas on. And most of all, don’t be a creep

Boney M

Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’ is the newest song revitalized on TikTok

TikTok has a tendency to create trending sounds out of random songs and audio bits. Its latest obsession: 70s Euro disco group Boney M’s “Rasputin,” the song that details the history of the Russian teacher, preacher, and love machine.

We reached out to former members to learn about the group and the song.

Ultimately, we learned how to recontextualize music with problematic pasts.

Just a TikTok song?

“There lived a certain man in Russia long ago.”

If you know the rest of the lyrics to this song: “he was big and strong and his eyes were flaming gold,” you’re likely one of the following:

a) active on TikTok; b) from Europe or Russia; c) big into 70s Euro disco.

I am both a and b. Thus, scrolling through TikTok this past month was surprised by the song’s sudden appearance on the app.

The trend, in which teens flex their muscles or their dancing skills, took off earlier this year and hasn’t shown any signs of dying out anytime soon. 

What is even more surprising was how little people knew the group that brought us this bop and that they created more than just “that TikTok song.”

Evidently, an introduction to Boney M is necessary. For this and to figure out what the appeal of Rasputin is to TikTok Gen Z’ers, I reached out to Sheyla Bonnick and one former member of the group who, retrospectively, requested not to be mentioned in this piece.

A history lesson of the Euro disco group

Boney M, the brainchild of German music producer Frank Farian, was brought together in 1975.

They quickly grew to be a Euro disco powerhouse. Sheyla Bonnick, who was born in Jamaica but now lives in Spain, was brought on as one of the first people to “audition.”

“There wasn’t really an audition as such,” Bonnick said. Voice checks were minimal and “it was all just accidentally put together.”

Back row, from left to right: Maizie Williams, Claudja Barry, and Sheyla Bonnick. In front: dancer who was only known as Mike

Bonnick left the group after about nine months. 

Next, vocalists Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett, who were both from Jamaica, Maizie Williams, from Montserrat, and dancer Bobby Farrell, from Aruba were brought on. These four would go on to be the main members of Boney M and the face of Euro-Caribbean disco for many.

Describing Boney M’s sound is tricky; it’s a fun blend between standard European Disco riffs, a healthy dose of Middle Eastern melody patterns, and, thanks to its members’ Caribbean heritage, it is also filled with reggae sensibility and influences. 

This is where we need to pivot in the story. While exploring Rasputin’s appeal to the youth is fun, there is a certain overtone in Boney M’s themes that need further dismantling first.

Talking to Bonnick, racial issues at the core of the group shine through.

A problematic past for Boney M

In the creation of the group, the choice for a mostly Caribbean collective was not one made out of particular care for the rich cultural history of the area.

As Bonnick explained, it was “Frank’s baby so he didn’t seem to need anyone else, just for the image: three black girls, a black guy.” 

This is also reflected in Frank Farian’s quote: “all members [of Boney M] could be replaced except Liz [Mitchell].”

This can be seen as praise for Liz Mitchell, but also reflects how Farian perceived all other members as disposable.

Boney M’s albums

When I asked the former member about this quote, they interpreted it differently. To them, this particular quote from Farian speaks more to the creative process of the group. “The actual full-course sound of Boney M was Frank Farian and [Liz Mitchell],” they explained.

“He was the male vocals doing, you know, the low part with the female vocals tracking [Liz Mitchell].” 

Former member Boney M, 2021

They brought up songs that were, despite their ensemble sound, actually pure solo’s such as “Sunny” and “Mary’s Boy Child”. They would record Liz Mitchell’s voice in different tracks and layer them together.

“The actual sound of the group, the group sound, was made by [Liz Mitchell]. And I think that’s why he said that,” the former member explained.  

This doesn’t fully explore the depths of Farian’s words though.

His saying that all members are replaceable spoke to a group dynamic in which the majority of the members were there as either pawns or puppets.

They were placeholders and stand-ins for an idealized and exoticized image that Farian – being white and German – wouldn’t be able to fill. 

Bonnick echoes these sentiments when looking back at the beginning days of the group.

“This sounds a little bit intense, but I really feel there was some sort of a slavery aspect,” she said, “not in a deep, malicious way but there was still a usage of (…) Black people.” 

Sheyla Bonnick

“I actually left at the right time,” she said when describing the concepts for Boney M’s album covers.

Notably, the first album features Bobby Farrell in something resembling a loincloth towering over the three women who are on the floor, draped over each other.

Love for sale

The second album, “Love for Sale”, shows the members, once again near-nude, but this time in chains. “That was also seen as something so exotic and something so original but morally I felt that wasn’t right at all,” Bonnick added.  

Still, the former member was reluctant to talk about these tensions.

“I will leave that alone as I don’t know what and who is saying what,” they wrote to my follow-up question days after our interview.

“Don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.” They signed it with the typical British “Xx.”

So, wait, what now? What started as a piece exploring the song’s appeal to the youth turned into a bigger question: how can we appreciate and enjoy art while acknowledging and address its problematic roots?

What happens when the context of the music has been ignored or forgotten? 

Working with Boney M

Despite these tones of exoticization, both Bonnick and the former member still look back fondly on the group’s music.

Both artists stress the joy their work with Boney M brought and continues to bring audiences. Both continue performing with both Boney M songs and their own solo work. 

“Rasputin,” like “Sunny” or “Daddy Cool,” speaks to this joy.

“Rasputin has proven to just be the song that is just going over the times. Young people still feel that they can just hop away, skip away, jump away,” Mitchell said about the song.

“Whatever the energy is, it’s still alive today.” 

Former member Boney M

The former member hadn’t seen the Rasputin TikTok trends yet. “I think it’s crazy, wonderfully crazy that it is doing what it’s doing today,” they said.

What is celebrated on TikTok right now, is not the aesthetics of the group’s albums. When TikTok creators dance to Rasputin, they don’t do so to support the inherently racist structure that brought the members together.

And “Sunny’s appeal” does not lie in the exploitative nature of the group’s origin. 

Instead, it celebrates joy. It celebrates being silly and fun and carefree.

Everything both Bonnick and the former member highlighted as reasons they still love performing the songs today – more than twenty years after the group’s disbandment. 

‘Rasputin’ the song

Finally, there’s the platform itself. Maybe TikTok, with its relative diversity and tongue-in-cheek approach to most sounds it pulls into its algorithm, is the best way to consume past bops with problematic production. 

Maybe in the 21st century, the Rasputin line “he was big and strong” has to be accompanied by exposed arms and chests, excessive flexing.

The next, “and his eyes were flaming gold” has to be accompanied by a sultry stare into the camera. 

Looking back at Rasputin, the music, fan appreciation, and TikTok, the former member added one thought: “I think that we created something that was really warming.”

Architectural photographers on how to capture the perfect image

Photographers of architecture seek to accomplish a daring mission: to capture, in its purest light, an object that exponentially surpasses them in size, and often, grandeur.

Buildings are everywhere and everywhere are buildings. Whether we like it or not, our lives are structured by the architecture we inhabit. However, most of us don’t pay active attention to these buildings.

Some, creative and eager, though, are captivated by these very structures and seek to capture them in their most splendid lights. Enter: the architecture photographer.

Whether you’re looking to diversify your portfolio, practice perspective, or are hoping to build a career as an architecture photographer, there is always more to learn in the field of building photography.

We reached out to professional architecture photographers to see what tips they had to share. 

What is architectural photography? 

First thing is first: what is architectural photography?

The answer is pretty straight-forward. Architectural photography is photography that focuses on human-made structures.

These include the interior and exterior of buildings, cityscapes, and bridges. The photos highlight the lines of the structures, as well as the materials used, and their function and look in their respective environments.

Sometimes, photos also include humans or animals for scale and context. 

Tips from an interior architectural photographer

Charlotte Taylor is an interior designer and creative director. She is part of dellostudio, an art and design studio based in London. Her work centers specifically around interior architectural photography.

“Personally, I am very interested in the layering of an image and finding a vantage point that allows you to capture this physical collage of architecture.”

Charlotte Taylor

Her Instagram feed also highlights this sentiment. The images are layered with furniture or objects, drawing your eyes through the spaces. Naturally, your gaze also travels across this real-life collage. 

Still, Taylor’s main tip for beginning architecture photographers is simple: “… carry your camera on you always.”

Basic, but essential, tips for beginners from an architectural photographer in London

Andrea Di Filippo is an architecture photographer who also is based in London.

He is the co-founder of Pretty Little London and Pretty Little Paris, websites and Instagram pages that showcase the best architecture these two cities have to offer. 

Di Filippo also has many recommendations for newbie architecture photographers.

“Try to shoot with no shadows and so that the focus of your picture is straight,” Di Filippo wrote. He also stresses the importance of good lighting and perspective. “If you get those right when shooting you won’t have to do much editing later.” 

“Give soul to your picture and capture a moment,” Di Filipo continues. Beginner photographers can achieve this by looking at the surroundings of the building.

“Lookout for small details that can enhance your photo so that you capture a moment rather than just a building, like a person walking by with a dog, some birds flying by.” 

Andrea Di Filippo

Architectural photography in Asia

Ricky Adrian, or Kie, is an architecture photographer based in Indonesia. 

Similarly to Di Filippo, Kie highlights good lighting as essential for achitecture photographers.

“Photography is about lighting,” he writes.

“So, it’s important to know where and when the light (which is mainly from the sun) hits the building.”

Ricky Adrian (Kie)

Kie encourages beginner photographers also to start right now with the tools that they have.

Shooting is the only way to build a portfolio and it “is also your chance to build your confidence and competence to shoot paid projects in the future.”

Specific photography tips from a Paris-based architecture photographer

JB Perraudin, a Paris-based architecture photographer, has technical suggestions for beginner photographers.

“To shoot architecture, it’s important to take a full-frame camera with a wide-angle lens, like a 12mm, so you can feel the structure of the building and the space in the rooms.”

JB Perraudin

Structures are showcased in photography of his favorite spot to shoot: the Palace of Versailles.

Perraudin’s Instagram feed, filled with the golden interior of the formal royal residence, also supports his other advice.

“The tip I can give is to pay attention when shooting to the geometry of the room or the building you shoot… you always have a better result by taking your camera at 90 degrees related to the ground.”

JB Perraudin

Armed with these tips and tricks from architectural photography pros, you’re probably itching to go out and shoot. 

The first step to being a successful photographer in architecture? Get out and shoot

The good thing about our lives as they relate to architecture is that we don’t need to go far to find our next subject.

Grab a camera, get masked, and go get those shots. And always remember that you have these tips from passionate and professional photographers in architecture to get you on the right track.

NYC Modeling 101: 4 models teach us how to adapt to a changing industry

Modeling in NYC is no easy task. Rather, the job serves as a daunting reminder that the city’s landscape and modeling industry are forever changing, and this fact is no more crucial in NYC than it is for Black models and other models of color.

Still, with over 20 model agencies and famous faces such as Kate Moss and Tyson Beckford starting their modeling career in NYC, the city seems like a mecca for everyone with high cheekbones, symmetric faces, and modeling aspirations.

Kulture Hub reached out to NYC-based models to see if the city lives up to the hype. 

Modeling in NYC is different for Black women

Darbie Frazier is a Brooklyn-based model who started her modeling career in Utah.

In the time since, Frazier has had the chance to reflect on her growth in the modeling industry as a Black model in NYC.

“At the time [2016], there wasn’t really a market for African-American plus models in the area. So I had to work really hard to book work and create a name for myself.”

She made the move to NYC to be with her fiancé during quarantine. Despite COVID, Frazier has been able to continue working.

“I have been blessed to be booked and busy [throughout] this pandemic,” she wrote.

“I’m so grateful.”

Darbie Frazier

“NYC is full of dream brands and dream moments, like fashion week,” Frazier said.

Brands Frazier has worked with during her time in NYC include Rozie June and Ashley Stewart

Most models come to NYC for the opportunities

Caitlyn Sherry, model and FIT student, currently based in New Jersey, initially came to NYC to attend the college. 

“The best thing about being a NYC-based model is definitely being in the hub of the fashion industry. There are so many opportunities here for fashion, especially modeling.” 

Caitlyn Sherry

Sherry is seeing positive transformations happening in the industry right now.

“I’m loving how NYC’s modeling industry is evolving and embracing models of all different shapes and sizes,” she said.

“I’m glad that I’m in the industry now more than ever because I’m around for all of the positive transformations.”

Caitlyn Sherry

Her best NYC modeling moment is also related to these positive changes.

“My favorite memory of modeling in NYC was a shoot I did in Soho for [Cool Is a Construct], a sustainable fashion brand started by a fellow FIT student!”

The diversity in backgrounds that NYC provides is perfect for modeling

Tatum-Ophelia Hogue, who was living in Bushwick but has since left for Trinity, Alabama because of COVID, is signed with Wilhelmina Models. She had been in NYC since July 2017. 

@tatumophelia for @wilhelminamodels

“There are many great things that being an NYC model brings. These include meeting people from various backgrounds and geographies,” Hogue said.

New York is also special because of the many different types of modeling – from showroom to runway to commercial – “which are not as prevalent in some locations,” Hogue said. 

“I walked a few shows in my first Fashion Week and the one that stands out the most in my mind is the Eva Longoria show,” Hogue said.

For this debut-show of Longoria’s collection, the Desperate-Housewife’s star was hands-on backstage, which only added to Hogue’s adoration.

“Growing up I loved Eva Longoria on Desperate Housewives so I was definitely starstruck meeting her in person.” 

Tatum-Ophelia Hogue
(Via @tatumophelia/@gettyimages) So happy to have walked for @evalongoria in @nyfw such an amazing person & collection❤️❤️❤️

Foreign models also find a home in NYC

Marisa dos Santos is a half-German, half-Brazilian model who moved to NYC in February of 2020. “The worst timing ever – I know,” she commented on her move.

“It wasn’t easy but I sticked [sic] around and couldn’t be happier about it.”

Marisa dos Santos
(Via @marisa_dos_santos) 2020 deleted the words: travel, tan & socializing out of my vocabulary.
What about you? 😝
📸 🐭
👨‍💻 🖊@dgtlcraft_postproduction

Growing up in a small town in Germany, Dos Santos always dreamed of one day moving to NYC.

“I remember watching New York Minute, a movie with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen at least 3 times a week,” she said.

“I always have been fascinated by this vibrant city. [I was] putting up posters of the New York skyline in my room and telling myself, ‘one day you’ll be there!'”

Marisa dos Santos
(via @marisa_dos_santos) Marisa dos Santos posted in NYC

Despite COVID spreading for most of her time in NYC, dos Santos was still able to shoot.

“(…)When I have to think of my favorite memory, it was probably an outdoor shooting in the Hamptons with four other girls. It was freezing but we all were still dancing, joking, and jumping around to get the perfect shot,” dos Santos said. 

It’s this creativity that drowns out any negative points of modeling in NYC for her. “[It’s] the whole energy, just constantly feeling inspired by the people surrounding you,” dos Santos said.

“You feel the need to create and that’s what I love.”

Marisa dos Santos

For dos Santos, the drawbacks are few, though simple to name: “I’ll give you an easy answer: not seeing my family & friends….and German bread.”

For these models, NYC has its drawbacks. But the positives always outweigh the negatives

Similarly, when asked, Hogue’s negatives of the city are slight. Answering the question, she starts with “I love the city” and for her, the downside is the occasional smell, which, she qualifies, is expected in any big city. 

@tatumophelia for @wilhelminamodels

Ultimately though, COVID is the biggest drawback:

“COVID has made taking public transportation risky for sure,” Hogue said.

“The subway seems way more gross than usual and I feel that I am more aware [of] what I touch now when I am on the subway.”

Tatum-Ophelia Hogue

For Frazier, the negative is more present. And, as a Black model, the intrinsic biases present in NYC and nearly everywhere across the world are not lost on her or us.

(Via @darbieworld and @christinascaptures)

“NYC can be a pretty lonely place, everyone is so busy, including you, so it’s hard to find time to connect with family and friends.”

Darbie Frazier

She relates this to the pandemic, which has made it more difficult to meet new people.

“I don’t have many friends here yet, so I don’t go out much unless it’s with my family and that’s on occasion because of the pandemic,” Frazier solemnly stated.

For none of the models that Kulture Hub reached out to did the cons outweigh the pros. Maybe that’s because after moving to the city, whatever you gain makes up for any discomfort or loneliness the city causes. 

Despite drawbacks, they are still able to do what you love.

(Via @marisa_dos_santos and @danielbrunograndl)

While photo shoots and runways aren’t happening as frequently as they did before COVID, the NYC fashion industry does not stop. Reaching the city and becoming a part of the fashion bubble can feel like a homecoming. 

“I finally feel like I’ve arrived,” dos Santo said. 

tiktok stripper

TikTok strippers tell us what’s up with the new trend and more…

The relationship between TikTok and strippers that use the platform as a means of livelihood is a fragile one, with trends relating to sex work only amplifying the distrust at play.

“They add warnings on the bottom of my videos that say things like, ‘the action in this video could result in serious injury,'” Sky Hopscotch, @skyhopscotch on TikTok, writes about the platform in an email to Kulture Hub. 

“It hurts us. It damages our online presence and foot traffic to our other socials, and veils the natural reality of sex work,” she adds. 


Stop the unnecessary censorship of sex workers on TikTok.


Debunking stripper myths while I water my plants. 🌱✨ ##striptok ##whatyoushouldknow ##letsbehonest

♬ original sound – SkyHopscotch

The fragile relationship between TikTok and strippers who use the platform, explained

Hopscotch is an exotic dancer based in Iowa. She uses TikTok to talk about her experience as a stripper.

With almost 80k followers, her videos about “strip club etiquette,” “pole dancing 101,” and “how to make money at the club” work to highlight that very reality of sex work she believes the app tries to erase. 


Strip club etiquette. What to know on your first night. ##striptok ##advice

♬ original sound – SkyHopscotch

Hopscotch is one of many sex workers on the platform using the hashtag “striptok” to connect to fellow exotic dancers and sex workers. Similarly, she is also one of many experiencing TikTok’s restrictive new community guidelines

In mid-December 2020, TikTok released its updated terms of service. One of the updates directly aimed at sex workers on the app. The rule prohibits “content that depicts, promotes, or glorifies sexual solicitation.”

It is telling of TikTok’s view on sex work that this rule is sectioned under “sexual exploitation.”

In a time when more sex workers are turning to the world wide web for income and community, social media platforms are narrowing rules and regulations. This makes it near impossible for sex workers to have an online presence and reach their audience. 

This stripper has found solace in TikTok, especially during the pandemic

Hopscotch has been in the strip club industry for over seven years as an independent contractor. Iowa did not close down its clubs, she said.

However, Hopscotch hasn’t been dancing since the pandemic, because a person with high COVID risk is living with her.

“The dancers aren’t required to wear masks, and they don’t. Neither do the customers,” Hopscotch explained.

“Our clubs here are touch-friendly. So it’s already a very intimate, up-close, and personal job.”


It’s not all a trend: Hopscotch makes sure to explain to young women the realities of stripping and sex work

While Hopscotch, self-proclaimed “stripper fairy godmother,” hasn’t tried online sex work, the internet has provided her with a sense of community.

Her videos, which regularly trend and reach more than 15k views on TikTok, focus on the reality of clubs and provide useful tips for those starting out.

“I try to educate young women who are going into the strip club industry,” Hopscotch said.

“We talk about the cons of stripping, tips, how to get started in the industry, what they should know before going in, and what a typical night entails. TikTok creators glamorize the strip club industry by flashing wads of cash in their videos, but what they’re not sharing, is the hardships that are associated with dancing.”


Is your life falling apart? Can’t pay your rent? What you should bring your first night as an exotic dancer. ##striptok ##funny ##exoticdancer

♬ original sound – SkyHopscotch

The comment sections on her videos are almost like online forums.

Questions about stripping flood in like “how do you spin on a pole?” “can you wear whatever you want?” and even “can you explain taxes?”

TikTok makes it difficult to maneuver the platform and find sustainable income

Kennedy Spaulding, @soswagkenny on TikTok, worked in clubs as an exotic dancer before the pandemic hit. She then turned to online sex work in 2020.

“I tried to continue dancing, but the market was oversaturated as a lot of individuals were left jobless and sought out sex work as a lucrative alternative. OnlyFans was booming and I will say, the rewards were plenty,” she wrote. 

While Spaulding doesn’t exclusively post about sex work, she has still noticed TikTok’s restrictions and trends towards censorship. “TikTok’s new policy has somewhat effected [sic] my online presence in the sense that I wasn’t able to promote sex work,” Spaulding said about the new rules.

“Still, I posted all my unfiltered content that I normally would, and it resulted in being shadowbanned.”

Spaulding has since moved away from online sex work to pursue a career in art, which she said she is most passionate about. In her Etsy store “Playswithknifes” she sells resin accessories.

The glittery rolling trays, ashtrays, and recently added “love” paddles are filled with glitter and a y2k sensibility. She uses her TikTok to show new additions to the Etsy store.


shop for these on my etsy !! ##420friendy ##etsy ##supportsmallbusiness ##smallbusinesscheck ##fyp ##resin ##art

♬ i feel kinda freeee – Sam Craft

To promote the store, which TikTok’s trends and new rules currently also limit, the platform will need to change.

“I believe TikTok and other platforms could improve for sex workers by being more inclusive of advertising,” Spaulding said.

“They could do so by not censoring links or deleting videos that promote the industry.” She adds: “as long as the actual content itself is censored, or shown to the right audience, I see no reason we sex workers shouldn’t be able to promote our content!”


The stigma around sex work and stripping on TikTok must be combatted

Hopscotch also has ideas on how to improve the online experience for sex workers.

“Rather than banning creators for sex work, what TikTok could be doing is implementing creator options to their platform that allows us to restrict our TikTok audience by age.”


TODAYS LESSON: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF BABIES. 🧚‍♀️✨ ##positivity ##striptok ##lifelessons ##fairygodmother ##SwitchTheChobaniFlip ##fyp

♬ original sound – SkyHopscotch

She’s also adamant about non-glamorizing sex work. “I cannot fathom the younger generation idealizing the sex industry,” Hopscotch wrote.

“TikTok would be very wise to implement age restriction software, to limit children from seeing what us sex workers are posting.”


She knows that the sex industry isn’t going anywhere. “But there is absolutely no reason that children should be looking up to the lifestyle. Many of us do this because we HAVE to do this job, because of systematic inequality,” she said.


Welcome to the drop kick Murphy’s. ##guessmyzodiacsign ##zodiac ##alt

♬ Guess your zodiac – Jojo Colón

Right now, it looks like online platforms are only shrinking the spaces available to sex workers.

With not only TikTok but also Instagram restricting the content of adult entertainers and the introduction of more internet censorship laws such as SISEA, the internet is seemingly becoming less and less sex-positive.

Luckily, there are movements working against this censorship. With sex work discourse flourishing on Twitter, and petitions against further regulations being signed by the thousands, we might get back onto the free informational highway the internet was intended to be.

Stop the Unnecessary Censorship of Sex Workers On TikTok

High-res footage has a new standard: A look at the RED Komodo 6K camera

The RED Komodo 6K: an all-around high-resolution cinema camera for which nothing has been sacrificed despite its compact size. 

Are you a beginning videographer overwhelmed by the sheer amount of cameras on the market right now? We get it.

Cinema cameras are real investments and committing to a model can be daunting. That’s not even looking at the endless number of accessories.

Luckily RED digital camera, the brand behind cameras used for “The Hobbit” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2,” released the perfect product. The Komodo 6K is the perfect cinema camera for any beginning videographer looking to make serious moves.  

Features of the RED Komodo 6k cinema camera

Initially designed as a crash cam, the Komodo has grown beyond that narrow characterization. 

Users commented that they’d like to use the Komodo as a B or C, and in some cases even a main camera. RED listened. 

The Komodo 6k cinema camera, released late 2020, features a global shutter, 6k resolution, stabilization, and an RF-style lens mount.

It features RED’s innovative image capture technology seen in its previous cinema cameras. Komodo 6k stands out in one big thing: it’s tiny. 

With high-resolution, the RED Komodo is perfect for beginner videographers

The Komodo 6k is the smallest camera RED has ever produced, yet its high-resolution features are not left behind. Because of its compact size, the Komodo is ideal for videographers that are just starting and are still figuring out their preferred set-up, location, and style of shooting.

The camera being four by four by four, with a weight of just 2.1 pounds means it’s possible to shoot whenever and wherever.

This small, light camera means that you have more flexibility when shooting; instead of lugging along a massive cinema camera, with the Komodo 6k, you’re free to experiment with angles and perspectives. 

The cinema camera’s small size hasn’t been detrimental to its image quality. You can record up to 6K at 40 fps, 5K at 48 fps, 4K at 60 fps, and 2K at 120 fps in REDCODE RAW. Shooting in RAW means having the most flexibility in post-production. 

The camera’s global shutter sensor guarantees crisp images even when shooting fast-moving scenes. Combine that with the camera’s minimal weight and size, and you have the perfect gadget for trips, adventures, and impromptu antics

The RED Komodo 6k is a cinema camera made to make your life easier

The Komodo 6k has very intuitive controls. A touch screen on top of the camera makes changing settings and checking footage easy. Through the integrated 2.4/5 GHz WiFi, you can also link your Android or IOS to control the camera and watch a preview on your personal device. 

The Komodo 6k has dual battery slots that allow you to shoot up to 3 hours of footage. The batteries are hotly swappable which means that it runs down one battery at a time; once one dies, it switches to the second battery while you can charge the one that ran out.  

The camera does not come with dual card slots. This can be annoying if you’re planning to shoot for a long time as this would mean that you’d have to carry a decent amount of cards on you while shooting.

While ideally, you would have to carry as little extra equipment as possible, being forced to carry extra cards can be a positive thing. By switching to different cards, you minimize the risk of your one card getting corrupted and you losing all your footage. 

The RED cinema world

The camera also serves as an entry point into the RED cinema world. Where before the RED cameras only supported first-party accessories, the Komodo 6k works with some Sony lenses.

The Komodo 6k creates the potential for a whole series of third-party accessories. The camera comes with a mechanical EF adaptor which allows you to use certain Canon and Sony lenses. 

Despite the steep price tag of $5,995, the camera is currently sold out on the RED website.

Having to wait a month or two before getting it might be a good thing; it’ll allow you time to figure out projects, shoots, and goals to hit once you get your hands on the Komodo 6k.

The small size and light weight mean the cinema camera is ready for any experimental shoots you imagine. The question is: are you?

What do sex workers need to know about the new internet sex bill?

A new internet sex bill, meant to protect sex workers and children from exploitation, could actually have the exact opposite effect, sex educators tell us.

The bill, or senators who passed it, failed to listen to the one resource readily available to them: sex educators. And thus, may have put even more people at risk.

“To prevent the uploading of pornographic images to online platforms without the consent of the individuals in the images,” the first line of the SISEA, or Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act, reads.

The SISEA internet sex bill

SISEA (Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act) was introduced by senators Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in December 2020. The bill was introduced in the wake of PornHub deleting more than six million unverified videos off of its website

In a press statement, Sasse specifically mentions the porn giant.

“For years, Pornhub and its parent company Mindgeek monetized rape, abuse, and child exploitation. Our bill is aimed squarely at the monsters who profit from rape.”

Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)

The bill also includes far-reaching verification measurements. Users will need to provide identification before uploading content. And every person in a video will also need to provide identification and a signed consent form.

Instead of fighting sexual exploitation and helping trafficking victims, critics say the bill endangers the very people it’s meaning to protect. Furthermore, it is likely to negatively impact sex workers online.

According to some, the bill’s focus on “age of consent” (which is 16 in some states) will further promote the distribution of child pornography.

Sex educators give us the rundown on sex work in 2021

Kulture Hub reached out to content creators and sex educators to chat about this bill and the intersection of sex work and social media. 

Emerson Karsh, a sex educator with a focus on kink, has seen the positive impact social media has had on the perception of sex work.

“Social media has allowed sex work to become more accessible and visible,” she said.

“Sex work is not the Pretty Woman narrative of people on the corner of the streets anymore, but they are now our neighbors, people from high school, college roommates, Instagram influencers, and even celebrities.”

The influence of sex workers on sex education

In her work, Karsh is also continuously aware of sex workers’ influence.

“Things like continuous vaginal health, the importance of STI testing, communication before sex, boundary setting, and other tips and tricks like how to properly use a flogger would not be around if it was not for sex workers,” she explains.

Brightly colored infographics on these very topics fill her Instagram. 

“Sex education would not be where it is today without sex workers. Sex workers have been the backbone of what sex education is today,” Karsh said.

“More than likely, educators would not have half the knowledge they have today without the work of sex workers.”

Emerson Karsh

Karsh is highly aware of the continuous online censorship of sex workers and educators.

“If your conversation around IG’s censorship isn’t centering or even including s/x [sic] workers, then you need to take a step back and recognize how much this field was built off the backs of s/x workers and do everything you can to push against the censorship and help the s3x workers that are being affected the most,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post addressed to “sexuality professionals.”

The world needs to listen to sex workers and educators

Pamela Blonde, a Scottish Femdom/Fetish content creator, said social media has given her a way to promote her work and also connect with other adult content creators. She is, however, also critical of social media policies regarding sex workers. 

Artwork by the wonderful @luke.a.boyce 🌹 ” (Cred: @pamelablonde666)

“Stop kicking us off for no reason. Stop allowing male photographers to post full nudes that we ourselves are not allowed to post,” Blonde wrote in an email.

“I don’t think social media companies want to protect sex workers and educators on their platforms. They want us off.”

Pamela Blonde

Blonde said social media has been instrumental in learning about the sex worker industry. During her year and a half in it, the internet has been her main tool in understanding.

“ALL sex workers that are online are sex educators in their own way, we all share our experiences, we all teach each other and our clients/buyers more,” she said.

“The amount I’ve learned from simply following other sex workers on Twitter/Instagram is insane.”

Pamela Blonde
“Submit and sin, I’ll show you how to repent.” (Cred: @pamelablonde666)

How censorship laws are affecting online sex workers

Blonde has also already seen how the internet censorship laws are influencing content and creators.

“I’ve noticed that the people that are kicked off the most, and that get their content deleted the most, are the people that are full-service sex workers that speak about the laws regarding sex work and the stigma regarding sex work.”

Pamela Blonde

Now, SISEA’s verification measurements are likely to shrink this vital learning space. In light of the child pornography and sexual exploitation content hosted on and profited from by PornHub, the bill’s focus on verification and identification seems like a welcome improvement. 

However, internet sex bills lke SESTA, FOSTA, and SISEA might do more harm than good. The SISEA’s proposed database is all or nothing; you either agree for all NSFW material to be online or none. This means that adult entertainers then have practically no say in what content of theirs is being distributed.

Sex workers must not be the victims of bills meant to stop sexual exploitation

“The database doesn’t account for the fact that many sex workers and non-sex workers alike want *nonconsensual* material of themselves pulled,” Ana Valens, a trans/sex columnist for Daily Dot, wrote in a Twitter thread on the bill.

“The database creates a binary. Either you’re a victim or you’re a sex worker. You never get to be both.” 

Ana Valens

Karsh also sees how SESTA and FOSTA will likely censor consensual sex work. 

“SESTA and FOSTA are essentially laws to curb online sex trafficking but they have allowed the censorship of consensual sex work on many platforms,” she said.

“It is essentially easier for the algorithm and platform to delete any mention of sex work in case it involves sex trafficking than figuring out how to delete one and keep the other.”

Ana Valens

Ultimately, the flaws of these internet sex bills arise because no one from the industry was ever consulted. It failed to invite those it tries to regulate into the conversation.

Instead of sweeping and restrictive verification measurements, the internet would benefit more from a collaboration between government and sex workers. 

Blonde summarizes it in one question: “Why shouldn’t sex workers be given a platform to speak about what is happening to them?”

Starter photography gear to help cultivate your vision for a better budget

Starter photography gear can make the difference between a shot of a lifetime, and one that leaves you feeling underwhelmed. New photography gear must be purchased in 2021, as photographers look for consistent ways to improve in their craft.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes the proper eye, feel, and heart from a photographer to get the perfect shot. But it helps immensely, especially for beginner photographers, to have gear to help you out.

After the craziness that was 2020, photographers deserve some exciting new gadgets to create with in 2021. So with the year just starting and rumors of new releases spreading quickly, we’ve rounded up examples of new photography gear we can’t wait to check out in 2021. 

GoPro Hero10

The GoPro is the standard in the action camera category and, certainly, this new release will only further solidify this status. GoPro Hero 10, next in the GoPro Hero range, is set to release in September 2021.

While little specifics are known about this new gadget, we’re expecting further improvements of 4K recording. Users have also speculated that the new camera will be slightly bigger and will come in a brightly colored version so it’s easier to find when dropped outdoors. 

Cheaper Leica M film camera

Leica cameras are to this day extremely desirable. The brand’s 35mm film cameras are iconic and basically last forever. The only downside, still, is the extremely steep price point – its classic M-A mechanical film camera is currently priced at $5,200. 

Now, some reports have said there might be a new cheaper Leica M film camera released in 2021. Note that while this model will be more affordable than other Leica models, it’s likely to still be in the higher price range in the market as a whole. Leica has yet to confirm or deny these release rumors. 

The Sony A7 IV

The A7 IV is an exciting upgrade to Sony’s popular A7 line. According to first impressions, the camera is similar to A7R3 but with an upgrade. This new version has quicker autofocus than its predecessor.

The A7R4 will also likely be able to shoot better 4K video and have an improved sensor. The camera is expected to be released midway through 2021 with an estimated price of $2500. It is a perfect piece of starter photography gear.

Nikon Z8

Reports say Nikon is releasing the next model in its Z-series later in 2021. This high-resolution, full-frame mirrorless camera is rumored to feature 6k video and the twin memory card slot we saw in the Z7.

The camera is also likely to have something called the “high-resolution mode,” which allows users to take 240-megapixel photos. Price and specs aren’t available just yet, but are expected to be announced soon. 

iPhone 13

iPhone photographers can also anticipate exciting releases in 2021. The iPhone 13 is expected to be released end of 2021. iPhone 12 Pro Max already saw massive improvements to the camera, so we expect to see even more changes to the camera specs of the new iPhone.

Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said the rear camera might be in for a full overhaul with a periscope camera which could potentially allow up to 10x optical zoom. 

According to sources, we can expect improvements to the phone’s lens capabilities. The ultrawide lens is going to be bumped to an f/1.8, six-element lens from the current f/2.4, five-element lens. The iPhone 13 could be the simplest, and still most optimal, purchase of starter photography gear for you this year.

Sony Airpeak drone

Sony’s drone series was announced in November of 2020 and is set to release in the first half of 2021. The drone’s technology is centered around 3R’s: reality, real-time, and remote.

The cryptic first promo video, which was dropped earlier in 2020 feels more like game console than a camera system. The 15-second teaser didn’t provide much if any, concrete information. 

Specs aren’t available yet, but Sony did release a video in which it shows the camera in action. This second teaser video dropped on January 11 and highlighted Sony’s focus on professional videographers.

The company said it wants professional input for the further development of this new drone line. While the camera is targeted for professional photography and video production, we expect it to be available for more casual/amateur consumers in the future as well. 

Let’s hope the done lives up to its mission statement: “we will transform the realm of the sky into an endless creative space from an unprecedented free perspective.”

What to keep in mind when buying new photography gear in 2021

One thing is certain: with these upcoming releases, 2021 is set to be a year of innovation and dazzling creativity.

Beginner photographers may feel overwhelmed by the industry. They may even feel jaded by the complicated new photography equipment released in 2021.

But remember starter photographers: everyone starts somewhere, and the great majority start at the bottom. Hone in on your talents, buy the best new photography gear in 2021 that you can afford, and always think outside of the box for how to get the perfect shot.

At the end of the day, there is only one you. Use your photographic eye to capture something different.

Meet the 3D artist rendering all of your favorite rappers

“I just wanted to try some character design as I had never done it before,” Carlos Antón Varó, a visual designer and 3D artist based in Madrid, Spain, wrote in an email to Kulture Hub. 

One of the designer’s latest projects, “Rappers,” is a study in character design, simplification, and innovation. 

“It’s not a project done in the industry traditional standards,” Varó said.

“I just used the tools I know and chose some people I admire. Rappers are top genius artists for me.”

Carlos Antón Varó

Carlos Antón Varó and making a living in 3D renderings

The project consists of nine frames: eight portraits of rappers and one with the chains worn in said portraits. 

Varó, whose main know-how’s are 3D renderings, illustrations, and art direction, hasn’t always been focused on a career in the arts.

“I always thought I couldn’t make a living of it, so I ended studying economics,” he said. “Gradually, I specialized in marketing, then graphic design, and then Art Direction and 3D, where creative and artistic possibilities are unlimited.”

In “Rappers,” Varó included Kanye, Kendrick, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake, Mac Miller (with halo), Jay-Z, and J. Cole.

“All these eight are absolute goats for me, but I think the one the most [sic] I listened recently is between Cole and Mac (RIP),” Varó wrote.

The details of the 3D renderings of GOAT rappers

The 3D renderings of these iconic rappers are both bold and highly stylized. Closeups on Varó’s Instagram show the rendering of shirts, brand logos, and hair, which are detailed and more realistic while the skin is kept play-doh smooth.

The result is cartoon-like characterizations that could star in a hip-hop-version of Wallace and Gromit. 

Don’t let the smooth rendering and simple set-up fool you; this project did not come without difficulties. 

“The biggest problem was that I wasn’t making hyper-realistic portraits, so it was kind of hard to find the balance between illustration and some realism in details and still have recognizable faces for most people,” Varó explained. “I remember I had to start Drizzy four times.”

Personal CGI work opening up the possibility for commercial work

As Varó continues to delve deeper into 3D renderings (of rappers and anything else), and creative design, he hopes to do more commercial work as well. Additional CGI work should follow consequently too.

“Most of what I do is design and illustration, but I also want to do some animation projects as I also did for studios [like Kutuko and Serial Cut],” he said.

“You have to show your skills with personal projects to get commercial ones.”

Carlos Antón Varó

Future projects, Varó imagines could be inspired by anything. 

“If you have a critic eye you can see the beauty in many places and everyday objects apart from pop culture and internet,” he wrote.

“A good tip is having always a notebook to write down ideas or making a quick sketch.”

Carlos Antón Varó

You can check out the rest of “Rappers” and Varó’s other work on his website and Instagram.

How did the Coogi brand stay relevant? A look into its cultural influence

“Please call Dr. Jays, tell them to pull all this shit down. We’re about to go live globally, and you’re about to get it,” Willie Esco, Creative Director of Coogi, said in 2014, right before the brand’s relaunch and collaboration with Rag and Bone.

His partners didn’t believe him until two hours later when Coogi was on every blog and the sweaters from the collection were sold out. 

A conversation with Creative Director of Coogi, Willie Esco

Kulture Hub hopped on a Zoom call with Esco, calling in on a snowy day from New Jersey, to talk about the brand’s revivals and lasting appeal. “I’m taking my kid sledding in a bit,” he said as we started the interview.

Esco has always been in tune with hip-hop trends. Being immersed in the thriving hip-hop scene of the late 80s and early 90s, Esco’s interest in graffiti writing and breakdancing pushed him into the creative sphere. He then decided to pursue fashion. 

“I just knew that hip-hop had a fashion component that was underutilized and undiscovered, not part of social dynamics yet,” Esco said. “But I felt, because the music was growing, fashion would come a few years behind.”

Willie Esco, Creative Director of Coogi

To get into the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, Esco did two years at Rutgers and focused on illustration, which wasn’t an obvious entryway into the college.

“That angle was the hustle mentality that hip-hop shows you. You can get into the school another way.”

Willie Esco

Esco carries this mentality into all of his endeavors, which allows him to thus be steps ahead of trends and fashion currents. It’s also this mindset that helped him with Coogi.

Some background on Coogi and its emergence (and resurgence) into pop culture

The Australian brand, founded in 1969, is mostly known for brightly-colored sweaters popularized by Biggie Smalls. The brand was thriving in the 90s hip-hop scene, but in the 2000s Coogi had lost some momentum. 

“Coogi was interesting in that if you look at Coogi, it was a defunct brand, the first retro brand to be revived,” Esco said about the 2012 revival.

“So, it was dead. And I looked at it as… let me see the components that are involved in it.”

Willie Esco

Esco originally relaunched the brand in 2004 and was then brought back onto the Coogi brand team as Creative Director in 2012. A lot had changed for the brand and in the culture during those eight years.

Multiple licensing deals had diluted the brand’s luxury appeal. A name that before was a status symbol, was now plastered on mass-manufactured t-shirts and sneakers. “Coogi was in discounters, Coogi was bad shit,” Esco said.

“I said, this is what I need you guys to do: ‘stop selling all of the licensees, just get rid of all those guys.'”

Willie Esco

A new generation of culture

Esco also saw a shift in the public. “When I came back in 2011, 2012 I noticed another generation of kids. The big difference was social media, and my partners didn’t understand it, you know my partners are old school,” Esco said. 

His advantage of understanding hashtags and social media allowed Esco to then drive the 2012 relaunch of Coogi. “I basically put together the Rag & Bone deal,” he explained.

Despite the many licensing deals and rise of social media, the Coogi brand has never lost the culture’s affection.

“Coogi is kryptonite,” Esco said. “Every generation picks it up, adapts it for what they choose, you know, for how to channel Biggie.”

“It’s an OG brand, it’s a toolkit.”

Willie Esco

Esco likens it to The Matrix: “[It’s] like the old Black lady in The Matrix that Neo will come talk to. It’s like that; you can always come down and get some information. Be cool instantly.”

The power of Coogi is its acceptance of the culture

Coogi’s strength also comes from it being “the first luxury brand that accepted the culture,” believes Esco.

“The position Coogi has is sort of the godfather of opening that door to aspirational luxury products. Whereas everyone else shunned us, Coogi was the brand that accepted [us],” he said. 

“We will stand the test of time because we’re looked at like an iconic sweater pattern in the business,” Esco added.

The brand’s recognizable multicolored swirls make it a living hip-hop artifact. Furthermore, with artists continuing to namedrop the brand, it’s unlikely to fade from the culture’s consciousness. 

Esco is currently developing collaborations and also just having fun with the brand.

“Right now, we’re doing an ASAP Mob drop (..) and we’re doing an ASAP Yams documentary, who was buried in Coogi,” Esco revealed. He is also involved with Dropp.TV, a new platform focused on shoppable video content. 

Looking towards the future, Esco can’t imagine Coogi slipping into obscurity. “I don’t see [Coogi] dying, that’s the thing,” he said.

“Biggie’s myth gets bigger every year and that’s the way Coogi goes too.” 

Willie Esco