March 16, 2022

Jon Woods es uno de los míticos nombres del bondage de todo el mundo. Jon Woods es un mito, una leyenda y uno de los nombres más importantes en la historia mundial del bondage.

Su entrevista es impresionante. Espectacular. Jon Woods tiene 30 años de experiencia en el bondage profesional. Comenzó por la década de los 90, cuando la industria y la sociedad todavía funcionaba con revistas y cintas de vídeo VHS, y para mí es un honor su maravillosa entrevista. Junto a su pareja, Lorelei, otro nombre ilustre y universal del bondage, son la experiencia y la sabiduría de la historia del bondage.

Os he publicado la entrevista original en inglés, y también os he traducido la entrevista traducida al español.

 

You are one of the great bondage producer of all the world. I always like to find out how people got into the industry, whether it found them or vice versa. What was your first artistic foray into bondage? What year did you begin?.

Thank you for that generous compliment. I aspire to live up to it. "Artistically" speaking, I'd been drawing crude depictions of women in bondage since grade school. I did improve slightly over the years, and I became confident enough to send some drawings to Harmony Concepts. I doubt they were that impressed with my meager drawing skills, although they did publish a few of them. But I also sent a lot of letters to them. It was because of my writing that they offered me a job, and I joined the staff on June 1st, 1993.

Copyright - American Damsels

Jon Woods / Lorelei

Copyright - American Damsels

Jon Woods / Lorelei

What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?.

I would say when I first saw the photo I did on the cover of Bondage Life #54. It seemed completely beyond belief that I, this ordinary fan who had been running the mail room for a small company just a few months earlier, had created this image for the cover of the premier bondage magazine. And surprisingly it came out as I'd envisioned: a suggested yin-yang image of one model in damsel-in-distress street clothes tied with rope and cleavegag, and the other in a high-fetish outfit bound with straps and ballgagged. It symbolized my quest for balance, which is still continuing to this day.

What inspires you when you're planning a shoots?

Definitely the model. If a model has a personal interest in bondage, or has stated a strong preference (e.g. suspensions) then I'll put more effort into what we're doing. If the model has some acting abilities, or has a certain look that lends itself to particular scenarios, then I'll plan something that shows them off to their best advantage. If I know and like a model I'll put more effort into the story, which frequently eats up more shoot time than vignettes, but it makes for a more fun day for us and (I hope) a more entertaining video for the viewer.

Other times I may do an homage or recreation of a bondage scene from mainstream entertainment. After all, bondage in mainstream media is what initially inspired most of us, right? I really enjoy taking a scene that may have starred a beautiful actress but had poor bondage, unattractive wardrobe or bad lighting and then redo it closer to what we hoped it would've been. I realize by this point that a lot of people might not recognize some of these dated or obscure references, but I like to think there's at least one person out there who gets it. If not, I can only hope they'd enjoy the scene on its own merits.

Do you have any personal rules that you'll never break? Any rituals you must abide by?.

The model must always be respected. "No" always means "no." To act otherwise isn't just unprofessional, it's assault. I never try to persuade a model to anything she doesn't want to do, and I would never intentionally hurt a model. Also, never "out" anyone and never give out a model's real name.

Tell us a funny anecdote during one of your bondage sessions. What is a shoots that sticks in your memory?.

That's a tough question because I've done so many videos, and my memory isn't what it used to be. One shoot that sticks in memory was one I did in the Harmony days with Josie Perez and Abby Cameron. I remember they were both enthusiastic and it was a very fun and pleasant day for everybody. I told them the story was set in Mexico, and when they came onto set they were both wearing big sombreros they got out of wardrobe. (My apologies to the bondage sombrero fetishists that they didn't get tied up while they were wearing them.)

Generally speaking, I hope the models are having a good time working with Lorelei and me. I always say that if they don't laugh at some point during the shoot then I've failed as a director. The other frequently-heard phrase is "if it's not fun then don't do it." I'm sure a lot of those very serious masters who produce would disagree with this approach, but I feel my mission is to entertain, to create fantasies and to inspire fantasies for the viewer. There are those who outright hate bondage and hate what we do, and I'd like to show them that we're not psychopaths or monsters, and everyone in my videos is having fun.

Tell me about your drawing. Do you remember what your first drawing were?.

My first drawings, as a kid, were of superheroes. So I suppose the damsels in distress were sort of a natural progression from that. But those drawings were really awful, and it's no loss that none of them have survived.

Copyright - Jon Woods

Model - Ashley Renee

Copyright - American Damsels

Model - Melissa

Copyright - American Damsels

Model - Jenni Lee

Do you have a specific kind of bondage position you like to draw?.

I was a lazy artist. I preferred classic ties and chair ties, which are much easier to draw than, say, hogties or more complex positions. But I learned a long time ago that the world isn't missing anything since I've given up drawing. There are a lot of outstanding bondage artists out there right now, and I believe I do much better with photos and video than I ever did with drawing, or fiction writing for that matter.

Although every now and then I'll get the urge to draw something again. Most often I'm too busy with regular work to indulge in that. However, last year I got this persistent idea for a bondage-themed comic strip, and I eventually filled this notebook with about 80 or so quick (really terrible) sketches for it. I hope someday to find an artist with more talent who can bring it to life. Unfortunately, most good artists have their own ideas and inspirations, and the only way I could get these comics done in a more professional way would be to commission the work, and that's not economically feasible until I win the lottery. But if some artist wants to do a collaboration on this, I'm open to it.

Since you've started almost 30 years ago, how has the industry bondage evolved from when you began until now? Are there many changes in the Bondage Community since your first day? And the Bondage culture, does culture move forward or backward?

The changes since I began in the industry are incredible. When I started we had magazines and VHS tapes, and that was it. We had to send out brochures in the mail, and there weren't that many companies shooting this kind of material. I do wonder sometimes if I would've been nearly as successful if I'd started in a time when there weren't just a handful of companies producing bondage. Or if I hadn't been hired by a well-established company with a good reputation and a loyal following. Hard work and enthusiam played a key role, but pure luck figures into it as well.

Everything changed with the advent of the internet and digital photography and videography. In the pre-internet days, some people could only have dreamed of meeting or even talking to like-minded fetishists. Now we have previously unheard-of access to the community and performers through social media and online forums. It's quite different from those days of mailing a fan letter and hoping you might get a reply some day, maybe, if you were lucky.

Because people can now have direct contact with the community much more easily, I would hope this is a tremendous advancement, particularly for those not living in or near more urban areas. With more open communication, I would also hope there's more mentoring and people to warn the newbies about those ubiquitous players who like to take advantage of the less experienced members coming in. But I'm afraid Lorelei and I haven't really been active in the local community in a while, only because haven't had time to participate.

Things like FetishCon or BoundCon would've been like something from a dream for the bondage lovers in the late 20th Century. It's great to see, and one can only wonder what amazing things the future holds for us all.

How do you select the new models? What do you look for in the start of a girl's career? What do you look for in a new face?.

Most of our performers these days are coming from the regular adult industry. If the model has bondage listed as one of the things she'll do, we'll consider her. It's frustrating at times that some of the agencies never list that in the models' profiles, because that means we'll never even ask about them. I would guess that because the pay scale is lower than for typical adult performing, it's not worth it for some agents to even consider it for their people. But the usual rule of what we're looking for is "More tits, less tats." I know tattoos don't have the stigma they had previously, but I believe much of my audience is older, and inked models don't do as well for me. It also stretches the suspension of disbelief a bit that a model covered with tats is a sweet, innocent damsel. I'm sure other producers aren't as averse to inked models, but it's partly personal preference and partly sales history.

As for larger breasts, the women with those generally sell better. Although an attractive face is also a necessity. However, even if a model has ample breasts and a beautiful face, if she's not into it or a poor performer, her looks won't save the scene. For that reason, if a model states she enjoys bondage on social media (for example) or contacts me directly saying she wants to work with Lorelei and me, she'll get consideration over comparable models who are only doing bondage for the paycheck. Enthusiasm counts for a lot.

Your favourite kind of model or person? Any examples?.

Just like anyone you might meet in normal life, there are some people you have chemistry with or connect with, and others you don't. The people I enjoy most working with or being around are intelligent, have a good sense of humor, and usually enjoy bondage. Frequently, they're also artistic or creative. Of the thousands of women we've worked with, I would only consider a handful to be friends outside of work. In addition to the previously mentioned qualities, those select few seem to also all have a kindness or sweetness, and are strong. That doesn't necessarily mean aggressive or outspoken. In some cases they possess an inner strength or resolve that's helped them get through some difficult times.

What are the modern challenges of being a rigger artist?.

We've all had some serious challenges over the last couple of years, haven't we? Speaking only for myself, I think the challenge is trying to find a way to keep it interesting after all this time, and not keep doing the same thing over and over. That's probably not necessary, because some very successful producers seem to be rather limited in what they're shooting and they're making a lot more money at this than I am. Nonetheless, I'm usually trying to create something that's exciting but also a little different. Otherwise it would become stale and boring, and I'd go insane. The trick is to not stray too far from the "core fantasy" and keep the viewer satisfied.

Another challenge is the attempt to stay relevant. We've had a lot of remarkably successful new producers come up in the last few years. In some cases, they may have a distinctive style. That's the sort of thing that would be obvious if someone tried to copy them to cash in on their specialty. So even though something may be trendy, I feel I must stay true to my established style. Other producers do things that I can't do, or wouldn't do, or couldn't do without the risk of alienating my customer base. And for some of them, I might be mystified by the popularity of what they're shooting, but I would never begrudge anyone their success.

A different sort of challenge is trying to operate within all the rules. The credit card companies have created a lot of ridiculous rules for adult content, most of which seem to affect fetish producers. Their restrictions put a limit on what you can do or show, which is infuriating since most of them forbid the kind of things they show on broadcast TV every night. Nonetheless, we must all tread carefully, or risk losing the ability to stay in business.

Copyright - American Damsels

Model - Vivian /// Chaselkaras Jon Woods

Copyright - American Damsels

Model - Loren

What advice would you give someone who wants to become a model? And what advice can you give to young aspiring artists?.

For models: Always do your research when you're working with a new producer. Don't just take a look at what they're shooting. If at all possible, contact some of the other models he or she has shot and find out what their experience was. Bear in mind if you ask two different people, you might get very different responses.

For artists: Draw, draw, and draw some more. Also, learn how to draw feet. I can't believe how badly feet are depicted by so many artists.

For beginning riggers/producers: Have a clear idea of what your goals are: Is this going to be a business, a hobby that pays for itself, or just a fun (if expensive) leisure activity? Learn your craft, and learn how to promote yourself. Always respect the models, and be safe. Be professional. The vanilla world takes a dim view of what we do, so don't do anything that might reinforce their misconceptions. But above all try to have fun, otherwise why are you doing this?

What is your favourite bondage position?.

For shooting, I always attempt to show the models off to their best advantage and not hide or de-emphasize their best features. Most of the time I feel like I've been doing this so long that I've lost track of my own personal preferences, but every now and then I'll be shooting a scene and realize I really like the way the position looks, and not just from a director's perspective. In private, I like the frogtie. It's the best position for bondage sex.

Besides bondage, what do you do? What's your job? Or your work bondage full time?

I'm fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) enough to have bondage producing as my self-employment. By this point I don't know what other job I'd be suitable for. I can't imagine a prospective employer would look at my resume and say "Yeah, this is the guy we want." So I'll keep doing this as long as I can.

Switching gears, tell me a little about yourself. What are you like (extroverted, funny, shy, etc.)?.

What three words best describe your personality? I'm not sure what the three words might be. Funny, creative, and... I don't know. Affable? I'm not especially outgoing. I generally feel more comfortable in smaller groups than larger ones. I do better with one-on-one situations than bigger ones. I try to be easy-going and non-judgmental about most things. I enjoy music and movies, and good conversation. .

Copyright - American Damsels

Model - Lana Lopez

Outside of bondage, what's one thing outside of your work that you would like people to know about you?.

Outside of my work, most people probably wouldn't care what I'm like. But I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. If I stated strong feelings about, say, some polarizing political issue, the people with opposing beliefs would be offended and never buy anything I produced again. Does it matter what I believe, since it doesn't affect what I do? Perhaps it's better not to know.

On the other hand, I'm against racism, sexism and animal cruelty. I don't care who knows that because if you're for those things, I wouldn't want to know you anyway.

I'm a devoted partner, and so I always assist Lorelei with helping the homeless. Earlier, we helped with dog rescue. However, since we're self-employed and have more flexible schedules, we kept getting called on so much it was eating up too much time and we had step away from that. We can help the local homeless as time allows.

I have no tolerance for hypocrisy and greed. I believe greed, in particular, is a cancer in our society, and will probably be a significant factor in the extinction of humankind. I'm not a big fan of people with huge egos, either. Claire Adams once told me she thought I was different than other producers she'd worked with because I don't have a big ego. I responded that I'm just better at hiding it than they are. I'm not sure if that was a joke or not, but at least Claire laughed at it.

Lorelei and you are a real-life couple who play out their BDSM and bondage fantasies. It's fabulous. How did you two meet? Where did you guys meet? And what was your declaration of love like?.

Eric Holman and Lorelei came to New York and I met them for the first time there. That's when I learned that they were married. A short time later I was offered a job on staff at Harmony Concepts, and Lorelei and I became very close working together. There was an attraction, but I wasn't ever going to act on it because she was married. It's kind of funny that sometimes the models we worked with thought she and I were married or a couple, even though our relationship was platonic at that time.

I've never been especially intuitive at picking up signals that a woman might be interested in me, but I suspected Lorelei might be (particularly after a rather telling comment by Ashley Renee). So I did a shoot at a hotel room with Samantha Adams, and after she left I called up Lorelei and asked if she wanted to come over and do some bondage for fun. Eric was away for an extended weekend, and though she resisted at first she finally gave in to temptation. She brought in a bag of sexy secretary-type outfits and heels, and I tied her up in various positions for what turned out to be an overnight event. I think the one real tragedy of that night was we didn't take any photos or video. It's silly because I had all the equipment there, but because what we were doing was sneaky I suppose we didn't want any incriminating evidence.

The next night we got together to do it again, and at one crucial point Lorelei was tied and gagged, and I asked her if she loved me. She nodded yes, and that was the beginning of our romantic relationship.

This was all new and scary territory for me, and Eric too. I had always been monogamous, as had he. Lorelei has never been monogamous, and hadn't been perfectly happy in a single-partner relationship. So there was a period of adjustment for all of us, but in the end it's all worked out for the best. My poly relationship has now lasted over twice as long (almost three times as long) as my conventional marriage. I know one of the main reasons for that is finding the right person and being more mature when we started our relationship. And I realize not everyone approves of polyamory, but it's been successful for us.

Funny aside: Lorelei's niece came to visit with her boyfriend not long ago. The niece wanted us to meet her boyfriend's family. They'd told them we worked in the adult industry, and they were fine with that. However they didn't mention we're a poly family, which the boyfriend knew wouldn't be acceptable for his folks. So I stayed home. But I still think it's funny that they were okay with us being nasty pornographers, but polyamorous? Oh no!

Copyright - American Damsels

Model - Melissa

Copyright - American Damsels - Ikaras

Model - Talia

HostileTakeover

Model - Eden Wells /// Chase

Which of the two is more hardworking? Lorelei or you? Who is the "Boss"? Have you started the two together since the first day?

We both work pretty hard, although Lorelei does a lot more of the technical work (updating websites, prepping photos and things like that), which she's more adept at than I am. We're more of a partnership than anything else, so I wouldn't consider either of us to be the "boss." We have our strengths and weaknesses, and luckily we each have someone to take up the slack for the things the other is not as good at doing.

And which of the two is more pervers, more naughty, Lorelei or you?

That would be Lorelei. I'm more like a boy scout who became really obsessed with the knot-tying part, or maybe "vanilla with a twist" would be a better description. Lorelei, on the other hand, has a lot more different, assorted kinks and interests, which I'm glad to do with her to make her happy. Like wearing the gorilla suit, for instance.

What is your opinion about piratery digital? What do you think about this problem?

It's really sad the current generation has been raised in an environment where the largest percentage of people don't and won't pay for their porn. I'm guessing most of them wouldn't walk into a store and steal a lot of merchandise without paying for it, yet they feel perfectly entitled to take for free anything we pay to produce -- or anything that can be made into a digital file, for that matter. More than any other producers of adult entertainment, fetish producers (with only one or two exceptions) are all mom-and-pop businesses. It's infuriating that the hub and tube sites are stealing from us with impunity and making all kinds of money from their crimes while we're getting crumbs.

And I think it's having a distinctively negative effect on the creativity of the industry. Before the pirate sites became multi-million dollar businesses, there was a lot more variety in what was being produced. Most of the smaller and specialty guys (even the ones who were producing as a hobby, or a hobby that paid for itself) fell by the wayside when the cost became so much more than the returns. On a personal note, because I'm getting nothing for over 90% of the views of my work, I'm being financially crippled as to what I can produce. I could create a lot of wonderful videos if I got paid for my work.

I also think it's a tragedy that the adult industry has really fallen down on the job regarding piracy. After creating and developing so much of the technology for online entertainment, how is it they have not developed a way to stop piracy yet?

What's your point of view on social media? What relationship do you have with social media?

I like Twitter. I undoubtedly spend more time on that than I should. But I like the immediacy of it. The other main social media outlets really aren't conducive to promoting the business, so I gave up on those (a little more on that later). As for FetLife, it doesn't bring me enough traffic to warrant devoting a lot of time to it. And there's so much overwrought drama there, I just don't have the tolerance for that any more.

When you look at everything that you have already done in bondage, what is your reaction?

Sometimes I think "Hey, I did some pretty good work there." Other times I'm more critical. And I think how unbelievably lucky I've been to have had the opportunity to shoot with these amazing, beautiful women and (despite working with a nonexistent budget and by the rules of Harmony Concepts, Visa, Mastercard, merchant banks, Clips4Sale and everybody else) present the stories pretty much as I'd envisioned them.

Now looking into the future, do you have some specific goals?.

I've had some larger projects that I've wanted to do for many years now. In some cases they're delayed because I haven't found the right person for the roles. But mostly it's because of a lack of budget. I apologize if it sounds like I'm constantly complaining about money issues, but come on! I never really expected to get rich doing this, but if I got paid for my work (a radical idea, I know) I would be rich. Well, I don't know if that's completely accurate. If I had more money, in all likelihood I'd just keep plowing it back into production. But I would get to finally shoot the bigger projects, and they'd look great! Hmmm... would I be rich? I'd like to find out. Hell, I'd settle for being financially secure. That's certainly one of my specific goals for the future.

You book of your story also will be wonderful to read. When can we expect the book?

I always thought if I was going to write an autobiography, I'd wait until after Mr. Harmon (Robert Q. Harmon, the owner of Harmony Concepts) passes away, simply out of consideration for his feelings, and to avoid possible libel suits. However I realize now that it wouldn't be possible to devote that kind of time and energy to writing while I'm still producing. A while back, a ghost writer offered to help Lorelei write her autobiography, but she ultimately had to abandon the idea because it would've taken months. And she simply couldn't take that much time away from her regular work. Although I suppose if I wait was too long after I give up producing, people might not remember or care who I am. Alternately, very few people would buy the book and one of them would undoubtedly post it online, and my months of work would have all been for nothing.

Sorry if that sounds cranky or bitter, but if everything you'd ever released was posted on pirate site, you'd become a bit cynical too. But despite all that I still have writing my memoirs on my bucket list.

Lastly, are you on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram? Websites? Your official links.

My membership site is americandamsels.com My clips stores are at c4s.com/6571 , americandamsels.net , and manyvids.com/JonWoods

I'm on twitter at AmericanDamsels I gave up on Facebook quite a while ago. It was not friendly for promoting the business, and I couldn't see giving Zuckerberg my information for so little reward. My Instagram is pretty boring, and that's intentional. Every model I know has an IG account, even though they regularly get shut down, presumably after being reported by somebody who dislikes them. I can't see putting a lot of work into something to see it get deleted on somebody's whim. So I post photos of the dogs every now and then on Instagram. But my twitter feed is fun.