This article originally appeared on VICE Netherlands.
Food is sexy; that’s just a fact of life. Strawberries, bananas, oysters – many foodstuffs have the power to turn us on. But 25-year-old Belgian photographer Louie van Nieuwenborgh thinks we’re limiting our imaginations – all these traditional aphrodisiacs are, well, a bit obvious. Instead, in front of van Nieuwenborgh’s lens, chicken soup, beetroot dip, and courgettes all get their chance to star in someone’s foodie fantasy.
“It all started as a very typical Berlin story,” van Nieuwenborgh says. Him and his friends are part of the city’s kink community and often head to Berghain on Sundays – but not before having brunch in all-out kinky outfits.
The slightly absurd set-up inspired the photographer to take the odd snapshot of a friend’s latex-heavy food fantasy here and there. “Then I realised this was a special combination,” he says. “We all eat, but combining it with kink is far less common.” In the meantime, things have become a bit more formal. “I organise a brunch and then we do an intimate photo session together,” he said.
The first picture he ever took was of was his girlfriend, Tonia, balancing a pile of cookies above her bruised butt. In another photo, his ex-roommate in head-to-toe latex holds a spoonful of butterscotch chocolate spread with his foot. “He's quite shy in real life, but once his latex suit goes on, he likes being in the spotlight,” Van Nieuwenborgh says.
The shooting sessions usually take place at the photographer’s home. All the food in the photos is cooked by him, too. “When I was 15, I had a baking blog,” he says. “I really enjoyed writing recipes, but I found that bloggers tended to write about the same things. I wanted to share my culinary creativity in a not-so-obvious way. Also, I’m just passionate about kinks.”
Van Nieuwenborgh has even appeared in the series himself – in one photo, he’s seen in a balaclava, spitting on a pile of pancakes. “I still had that mask from a theme party at Lab.Oratory, a fetish club in Berlin,” he recalls. “Everyone who entered there was given the same mask, so you could only recognise people through their bodies. I remember the atmosphere of that party: You feel so free when you are completely unrecognisable.”
The photos are now part of the series “Recipes for Kinksters”, which he plans to print and publish with the help of British-Persian artist and fellow Berliner Kimbogruff. “A lot of what I post on Instagram gets deleted, but in the magazine, nothing will be censored,” he says. “I’m curious as to where it will end up. In a small, queer bookshop maybe? On people’s coffee tables?”
Feast your eyes on more of van Nieuwenborgh’s photos below.