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Bondage photographer charged and tied up

Sydney bondage photographer, Garth Knight, has been denied bail after being charged with sexual assault of two models during photo shoots in 2005 and 2011.

Garth Knight’s website. This series is called Arachne, with the installation ‘reminiscent of a giant spider’.

According to The Australian, Knight has been charged with sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated sex assault, with the two alleged incidents taking place at a Surry Hills warehouse in 2005 and a home in Waterloo in 2011.

Knight’s solicitor, Phillip Ryan, applied for bail by claiming the photographer had previous sexual contact with one claimant prior to the alleged incident, and had discussed engaging in sexual contact with other model prior to the photo shoot. Magistrate Robert Williams ordered Knight remain in custody, calling the prosecution’s case as ‘strong’.

The first allegation was provided to police in May 2020 relating to the Surry Hills incident, and another woman later came forward with further allegations.

Knight primarily uses photography to showcase installations he creates using humans and rope. He describes himself as a ‘sculpturalist’, who ‘photographs rope and bodies as sculptural forms’, using a Japanese erotic bondage tradition called Shibari. Both alleged victims were tied up at the time of the alleged assaults.

In an interview with Time Out to promote a live art performance in 2019, Knight was described as being ‘highly sensitive to the profound trust and care that is embedded into each work’.

‘People’s limits are always discussed beforehand,’ he said. ‘I always check in with them during the performance, and we have signals and methods for communicating that things are okay.

‘One of the most interesting and exciting things about these performances, and bondage play in general, is the power exchange and the giving and receiving of responsibility for someone. It is understood however, beyond question, that this is done with consent and this control at any time may be returned.’

A photo from Facebook. Source: The Australian.

Knight’s work has been awarded and widely exhibited in both solo and group shows, appearing at the Australian Centre for Photography, M Contemporary, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Centre for Contemporary Photography, and others. He’s been a finalist in the 2011 Olive Cotton Photographic Portrait Prize, the 2010 and 2008 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award, and his Instagram account has 16,500 followers.

Here’s how art blog, Art-Sheep, describes Knight’s approach:
‘Knight forms sculptural large pieces featuring male and female models in intimate poses. Discussing issues such as communicating with other people, notions of connectivity and pain and pleasure. The use of the rope functions as both a physical and a psychological feature that creates a reality where Knight’s subjects, himself and the viewers can read the scene in multi-dimensional ways.’

The NSW Police have set up Strike Force Nannawilli to further investigate the allegations.

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