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Is Eric Kroll a surrealist?
If one sticks to the historical definition of exploration of the dreamlike, then why not. But these dreams will then have something a little devilish and of very focused on the objects. If Eric Kroll was a painter, black leather gloves, red rubber corsets, cactus thorns, ballet shoes and harnesses would form his pallet. For him, a naked woman is not what is interesting. The important thing resides in the setting of the scene and accessorizing.
Raised in New York, Kroll began his career as a photojournalist. He worked for Elle, Vogue, Der Spiegel and other prestigious companies before devoting himself exclusively to erotism. It would take him a few years to turn truly to fetishism. Because even if Eric Kroll had always photographed women, it was only in 1988 that he took his first photograph of the genre. The first image being his wife masked in leather that set everything in motion.
With the passing years, Eric has accumulated a true collection of leather dresses, corsets made of PVC, back and neck braces, that he uses to spice up his images.
His models come from the street. How they meet is important. He generally invites them to look at his work, to see what he does. Then he awaits their call, and signs an agreement. Some of his models, admirers of his work, will also spontaneously contact him.
Because Kroll does not shoot anything pornographic, he puts the women at ease by role playing or just having fun. He does not transform them into sex objects, and he makes them sexy by putting them into settings sprinkled with humour and nonsense. It is not rare thus to cross a woman holding a leash connecting two men or someone with only one leg as a guépière. One is not at all astonished, then, that one of Eric's main sources of inspiration comes from the work of Man Ray. Kroll recognizes also the influence of Helmut Newton, for the majesty of his light.
After the launch of the mythical book "Fetish Girls" in 1994, the international German editor, Taschen, published two other of his books: "Eric Kroll's Fetish Days'" (1996) and "Eric Kroll's Beauty Parades "(1997).
Later, he himself took on the role of editor while still publishing for Taschen. Eric has made retrospectives on artists like Eric Stanton and John Willie, two of the masters of bondage from the Fifties. Last February, he finished his last piece of work: "The New Erotic Photography" where he gathered work of more than eighty photographers from the whole world. He thus created a panorama of current erotic art while bringing together among others Ralph Gibson, Jan Saudek, Terry Richardson, Natacha Merritt, Petter Hegre, Richard Kern, Bob Carlos Clarke, Thomas Karsten.
Kroll has confirmed his status as a historian of the genre and thus affirmed his statute as a living memory of erotism.