Saturday, October 26, 2013

Introducing a man who needs no introduction: Callidus

Callidus is well-known in EMC circles as one of the premiere image manipulators of our fetish. He creates still images, flash animations, and occasionally full-on videos (Check out his most recent masterpiece, Decisive Results, to see him at his best).

Recently I asked him if I could interview him for my blog, and he was happy to oblige. I already knew he was a great person with a keen wit, and that he can spin a yarn like nobody's business, so it was no surprise that he turned out to be a fantastic interviewee. As you'll see below and next week, we talked about subjects like how he got into EMC and image manipulation, where he finds inspiration, and what advice he has for other aspiring EMC artists. 

Here's the first half of the interview. I'll post the conclusion next Saturday or Sunday.

1. How did you become interested in mind control?

 I’d love to know the answer to that myself :)

I’ve been fascinated by hypnosis and mind control from my earliest memories. It seemed to be a popular trope in TV when I was young and I can vividly remember being captivated by its use in the TV shows and cartoons I watched around age five. 

The biggest example that looms in my memory was from a Disney-produced film called The Misadventures of Merlin Jones. There was, as I remember it, a lengthy and relatively legit relaxation induction performed on the title character. That was followed by him being programmed to eat a raw potato but believe he was eating an apple.

That scene became a game that I played with several friends at school when I was probably eight or nine. We’d re-enact the induction and then ‘program’ each other to do things like go down the playground slide head-first or the like.

Interestingly, I can remember my parents being uncomfortable with mind control “hypno chips” featured in an episode of Transformers and the entrancing song of mythological sirens in Ducktales. They would tell me to watch something else whenever those episodes came on and I can remember being even more interested to see what they didn’t want me to.

Somewhere in all that, a fetishist was born.

2. What are your favorite MC scenes in otherwise vanilla books, movies, TV shows, etc?


 Well, I tend to divide my list of ‘favorites’ into two periods: before and after mind control became a fixation of an erotic nature.

A few specific beats that I remember making an impression when I was a young child were the Kaa hypnosis scene in Disney’s adaptation of The Jungle Book; an episode of Inspector Gadget where several characters were mesmerized by a cobra; and a mind control room with multi-colored lights that was used to brainwash a group of people in the 70’s live-action Spider-Man movie/pilot.

My post-sexual awakening list goes something like this: that famous episode of Hart-to-Hart where Jennifer is hypnotized into stealing jewels; a Jon Pertwee-era episode of Doctor Who where Sarah Jane Smith is captured and placed in a re-education room; and, finally, there’s the scene in the terrible Avengers remake where Uma Thurman, as Emma Peel, is drugged and hypnotized by a multi-color spinning disc while restrained in a chair.

Honestly, it’s the only reason to even watch the film.

3. So that none of us are forced to watch the Avengers movie for ourselves, please tell us what happened to Emma Peel after she was MC'ed. Did she do anything interesting naughty? Did she at least betray her partner at a critical moment?

As I recall, and bear in mind I’ve watched the complete film once, the point of her being programmed was to forget something or other. So there was almost no consequence from the procedure whatsoever. I recall Emma wandering around a mansion in a drugged state afterwards and that’s about it. Unfortunately, I don’t think there was anything as spicy as what you’re asking about. Of course its possible I’ve blocked it from my mind...

4. How long have you been a part of the online mind control fetish community?

As an audience member, I trace my origins to the early days of the world wide web; probably ’96 or ’97. I had discovered a fan fiction archive with a list of links to stories on other sites. I remember reading that multi-part Perils of Batgirl series and some X-Files stories. From there, I eventually stumbled into the Alt.Sex.Fetish.Robot community and read RC’s Mandy. In the description for that story was the phrase ‘erotic mind control.’

I read that and felt my insides leap. I immediately plugged it into WebCrawler (ah, pre-Google days) and discovered The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive. At long last, I discovered what this thing I had felt all my life was called: I was an erotic mind control fetishist.

5. How did you become interested in manipulating erotic photos and animations?

Around the same period I discovered The Archive, I had stumbled across PrivatePages’s web site. At the time, it was free to access and featured a section for leg-fans and another for hypnotized ladies. That was the first time I’d ever seen any images that had been manipulated to make a woman appear to be hypnotized. PrivatePages eventually began to show work from other artists and I discovered the art of William Lee, Maddy Rose, and Winterrose.

At some point, I began to collect images of my own. I had a whole folder of girls with ‘trance faces.’ Some of them, I had whole story lines dreamed up. At this point, I had discovered the EMC fiction of authors like trilby else, thrall, and Tabico. I imagined scenarios in the same fashion as their stories.

In early 2005, I took one of my images into Photoshop and typed up a caption of the story I had imagined for it. I was hooked pretty much immediately. At that time I was a member of the Hypnopics Collective site and one evening I uploaded four or five of my images into the gallery and made a post on the forums. I received some positive feedback from the community and started working on a second update.

That turn of events set me on the path I’m still following.

6. Who or what was PrivatePages?

PrivatePages was the web-pseudonym for an early pioneer of mind control manipulations. His website (of the same name) was the first repository of EMC photomanips that I discovered. At some point around the turn of the century he set up a pay-gate for his site, and I think that was ultimately his undoing. I believe cease-and-desist letters soon began showing up once someone found out he was making money from photographs he didn’t own the rights to, and he had to begin removing content. Eventually, he closed his doors entirely.

7. What comes first for you: an image or a story idea?

In almost every situation, the image comes first. It’s very, very rare that I have a story idea and then go hunting for a picture to match it. Occasionally, I’ve started working on something and written a caption only to go hunting through my vast collection of porn and finding an image that works even better with my story.

I think the closest I’ve come to the story happening first is a few situations where I’ve wanted to do a particular kind of manip  (a woman standing in front of a mirror, a succubus hypnotizing the viewer, Victorian-era mind control) and eventually found an image that fit the idea.

But the pictures still directly inspired the story in those situations.

8. When it comes to an image or video you want to manipulate, what do you look for?

It’s changed over the years. When I first began manipulating pictures, I was looking for images of ‘trance eyes’ or the like; basically anything that presented the opportunity introduce mind control. Over time, I started getting more selective and, in fact, I began to steer away from those sorts of images for being ‘too easy.’ I’ve actually gone through phases where I selected images that needed a lot of alteration as way of challenging myself.

For the last few years, I’ve been attracted to drama. I look for images with a sense of tension that I can enhance with a mind-control twist. What appeals to me about manipulating images, and still photography in general, is seeing a moment frozen in time and extrapolating what preceded it and what will follow it.

If I look at an image and can imagine that narrative, that’s something worth saving to my raw material folder.

Because videos involve so much more work to accomplish even basic changes, I tend to triage a bit more heavily there. I need to find material that has narrative possibilities AND  will allow for a relatively simple approach to manipulation.

9. Where do you find your best material?

Some of my best pieces came by way of a now defunct porn TGP site called babe-envy. They collected links to galleries of ‘curvy women.’ Many of my manips started with pulling up that site.

I still use a lot of TGP sites to find images. Often, you’ll click a thumb that won’t lead to a gallery but yet another TGP site. That actually isn’t a terrible thing as often times I end up being surprised with something I didn’t initially set out to find. Happy surprises.

I’ve also found a number of recent manips through Tumblr though I find that to sometimes be a bit frustrating. I often use multiple images from the same series in a finished piece. Tumblr is great for finding a single image but not a whole set. I usually end up saving a pic there and then doing a reverse image-lookup to find the gallery it was pulled from.

10. What’s TGP?

I think it stands for "Thumbnail Gallery Page." It’s a site filled with thumbnails, each leading to a porn gallery, and the links are usually organized around a fetish or genre of porn. Try Googling ‘gas mask tgp’ or ‘rubber tgp.’ I bet you’ll stumble across something interesting. ;)

11. How do you develop a story to go along with your manipulation?

Typically, the basic story for an image forms the moment I lay eyes on it for the first time. For example, with the base image for Ladies Room, the notion of a woman masturbating in a restroom stall while a Domme hypnotized her sub on the other side of the door immediately popped into my head. Sometimes the narrative is more complete than others, but in general, I look at an image and get a flash of inspiration that serves as the basis for whatever writing will follow.

There have been occasions, though rare, when I will manipulate a picture with no idea of what the story will be. I’ll usually stare at the finished piece for a while, write a bit, delete it, and start again until I break through and find an idea that excites me. Sometimes that takes an hour or two, sometimes a few days.

Often a big part of the story development is editing. I usually write far too much to include in a caption and have to end up trimming a lot to make things work. For example, in Dessert I had written this whole D/s social hierarchy along the lines of softi’s Melting. The idea was that Justine was way down the ladder and had been invited to a dinner party by one of the community’s preeminent Mistresses. She’s too busy being flattered to realize that she’s going to be the after-dinner snack.

So, those bits of exposition sometimes don’t make it in.

And that's the end of Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2 next weekend - and possibly for some other stuff in between, depending on what strikes my fancy during the course of the week. ;-)

1 comment:

Lex said...

The start of a great interview, thank you both for doing it!

It's always a thrill to hear how people discover mind control as a kink n then go on to apply their (considerable in your cases) talents towards exploring that kink by creating imaginative n sexy content for others.

Thanks again!