French Postcards III- The Studios Biederer and Ostra
Born in Moravska-Ostrava, Czechoslovakia in 1887, Jacques Biederer moved to Paris in 1908 and opened a photography studio: he was joined by his brother Charles in 1913. He most likely began as a portrait photographer, and his earliest known photographs are of nudes in classical poses typical of the era.
Over time his compositions became more contemporary; he began to shoot outdoors and created sets that told a simple story, such as a romantic couple cavorting in a park. At first Biederer signed his photographs, but as he began specializing in nudes and more risque subjects he began marking them either with his initials J.B. or simply a “B” beneath an accent mark. Eventually he stopped signing them altogether although many unmarked images can still be identified by the frequently used props, set decorations and themes.
Biederer Studio became well-known in the 1920s and ’30s for their sleek, sophisticated photos of erotic nudes and compositions focused on bondage, whipping and spanking. Most of the BDSM-themed photographs involve either all-female spanking
scenarios or a dominatrix humiliating and whipping one or two female
slaves, and made effective use of fetishistic clothing and accessories.
In the late 1930s the brothers created a subdivision called Ostra Studio. This line of photographs was specifically intended for publication in erotic books, catalogs and the self-published “Ostra Editions” of photo-sets based on a theme. A few of these photos are marked “Ostra”, others have a logo of a question mark inside a triangle; most are unmarked, which has created difficulties in separating the work of one division from the other. The Ostra pictures encompass a broader range of subjects, including fantasy, romance, history and humor.
Unlike the studio-bound Biederer pictures, many of these Ostra sets are taken outdoors. These range from mildly suggestive images of romantic couples on a picnic to more risque and sometimes humorous displays of nudity, implied lesbianism and playful spanking.
Studio Ostra produced an extensive series of nudes in semi-classical poses and elegant images of corporal punishment erotica that blends into the similar line made under the Biederer Studio name. They also did the photographs for Yva Richard’s La Lingerie Moderne mail-order catalog of lingerie and bondage accouterments: many of these photos bear Ostra’s triangle and question mark logo.
In addition to making groundbreaking nude and BDSM photographs,
Biederer is among the very first to create erotic S&M stag reels in
the 1930s. The total number of films may never be known, but at least
three, possibly more, have survived to the present day. Biederer used
the same sets, models and props seen in his photographs. He also shot
still photos of the movie sessions.
It is not known if Biederer
directed these himself. Both films are reasonably well-edited and
contain a surprising number of close-up “reaction” shots, something few
fetish filmmakers bothered to include.
In 1940 France was invaded by Nazi Germany; the German occupation lasted until 1944. The Biederer brothers, of Jewish descent, were seized by the Nazis and deported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where they perished. The legacy of the Biederer Studio lives on in the hundreds of photos that are now widely available on the Internet; Jacques Biederer broke new ground and set the standard for later artists such as Charles Guyette, John Willie and Irving Klaw who followed in his footsteps.
Ostra Studio (Spanking_Art)
What a lovely collection did you share here. I have dedicated a lot of my time in collecting images from Jacques and Charles Biederer and built a site as tribute to them. You can find my site at http://www.ostrastudio.com
I also want to point to you that some of the photos you did share here were not from Jacques and Charles Biederer but from Yva Richard (the woman in chains and chastisty belt kneeling with one leg on a chair, the photo on the right from this one (woman in fur) and the two photos below these ones.
Goodluck with your site
Thank you… it was my understanding that the Biederer’s produced the photographs for Yva Richard’s catalog under contract? “Yva Richard” was a company (as I’m sure you know) although named after the wife of the couple who owned it. They hired outside studios for most of the photography in their fetish catalogs, at least in their early years.