Marilyn Manson
by George Petros

Here is His Majesty MARILYN MANSON, Master of Rock, MC of mayhem, mac daddy of madness. You’ve heard his music, seen his videos, attended his shows, watched him on TV, and read his books as well as other people’s books and articles about him. You’ve hummed his tunes and talked shit about him. You’ve masturbated to his mantra. Now, dig his photography.

Marilyn’s delicate eye peers into the camera. Settings are set, a fingertip pushes a button and—presto!—a female form is forever captured on film. As Mr. Manson’s subject, we present the irresistible object of his heart’s hard-on: the lovely DITA VON TEESE, reigning queen of cabaret chic, night goddess of beautiful burlesque, et cetera.

She writhes under the microscopic inquisition of Marilyn’s magic camera. Look at how luscious she is! You know that, behind the lens, the cameraman is sprouting a Hollywood-style erection. And, she just keeps encouraging him!

Herein the maestro of psycho pop preaches about his photography and thereby implies that you should be into it now, before it becomes the Next Big Thing.

Q: What makes for a good fetish photograph?

A: It’s up to the individual taking the picture. My interpretation of ‘fetish’ might differ from that of Propaganda readers or from those on the fetish scene. To me, it’s about details, smell—things that make you remember moments in your life, usually related to sex. Subtlety—and I think almost seeing what you want to see makes it most arousing. For me, hands down, seeing stockings makes me crazy. It drives me mad. I myself even wore stockings, for that matter.

Q: How did that feel?

A: Sometimes I would pretend like I was looking at someone else’s legs when I masturbated.

Q: Did that work?

A: No. But, I like the way feet look through stockings. It’s all about the obscure.

Q: Are your photos intended for masturbators?

A: They could be. I found myself alone one night, looking for masturbation material, and I couldn’t find any dirty magazines or porno movies. I found one of Dita’s books—it was a collection of old erotica stuff, mostly Victorian. It wasn’t that extreme. It was a lot of women in lingerie. I found it to be very attractive.

Q: I see. Do you want your photos to be period pieces, or to seem timeless?

A: I’ve always been a fan of things that are vague in regard to when they took place.

Q: Tell us about shooting Dita.

A: Well, sometimes when she makes me mad I want to shoot her. [chuckles] I’ve shot her myself three times, and I collaborated with Helwein on two pieces that were part of the Grotesque Burlesque. The shots are recreations of the work of Otto Dix, an illustrator from Berlin in the Twenties.

Incidentally, when I shot her, she had already been asked to be in Playboy ’cause she did a lot of things for their lingerie stuff. Contrary to what some people might think, her appearance was not related to me. Hugh Hefner is a huge fan and he was delighted.

Anyway I shot her both with film and digitally. The shoot was about an hour at most. I’m not the type of person who shoots a lot of shots. I think any jackass can shoot a hundred pictures and find one that’s good. And, I use just one light. I approach it in a child-like way. I like shadows to sculpt the face, like painting with light. I start by taking a Polaroid.

Q: Do you shoot other models besides Dita?

A: No.

Q: After you did that shoot, was there any hanky-panky?

A: Well, there’s always hanky-panky in this house. I probably have priapism—maybe it’s because she walks around in stockings all the time. There’s no lack of erections in this household. That’s when I get to the absinthe, which is Satan’s viagra.

Q: Interesting.

A: It’s hard to take a bad picture of her.

Q: She’s very beautiful.

A: I can’t disagree with you. I didn’t have to retouch the pictures.

Q: Who are some of your favorite photographers?

A: -----Harrell------—who represents the golden era of Hollywood. He’s my favorite when it comes to glamour portraiture. And, Man Ray—that goes without saying. An obscure husband-and-wife team from Vienna in the late Twenties, who did black-and-white pictures of women swimming in a cup of coffee or on a giant sugar cube—it reminds me of Dita and her martini glass. They were called Studio Manasse. And Helnwein of course. I’m probably not as much of a fan of Richard Kern’s since he put my pictures that were meant to be in Hustler in Honcho. [laughs]. And Pierre et Gilles. They’re doing a portrait of Dita as Elizabeth Short, the Black Daliah.

Dita is a living pin-up glamour photo that stepped right out of the frame and into the world. It’s her personality. She’s the ultimate feminist in that she understands that a woman’s greatest power is her femininity. I am, as she described me, the wolf in the cartoon with the bulging eyes. Every time I see her—I can’t get bored of seeing her breasts. I can’t get bored with being with her. She’ll always be the perfect subject for a photograph, to me.

Q: You’re very fortunate.

A: Getting back to photographers: I like Mick Rock, Joel Peter Witkin— I find some morbid things to be erotic. People have almost made him a cliché because they’ve stolen from him so much. I don’t think that imitation is the highest form of flattery. And, Fellini. He’s very Expressionistic. He opened a door.

And, I can’t thank Dita enough for exposing me to Bugsby Berkeley, who constructed these enormous sets using mirrors to make things look insanely large.

Q: Tell us more about photography.

A: Cameras were invented to memorialize the dead. Pictures of dead people are beautiful. Motion pictures were invented to view pornography.

Q: Interesting. Well, please tell Dita we said hello, and tell her she’s gorgeous. And on that note, let us sign off, while we still can.

A: Good-bye!