The Photography of John Santerineross

John Santerineross is an image-maker who does not like to be classified or categorized. He prefers to let the viewer decide and define.  He is considered "the world's leading neo-symbolist photographer of our time" by media, fans and fellow artists. His unique style and content have inspired an entire new generation of image-makers.  His complex aesthetic is derived from a mix of his exposure to Catholicism and Santeria as a child and by his fascination with Greek mythology, world religions and iconography.   

John Santerineross' first book, Fruit of the Secret God, introduced his powerful images to the world in 1999.  After forcing fans wait for five years, he released his second anxiously awaited book, Dream, in October of 2004.  This commanding new book is considered by many to be the definitive example of contemporary neo symbolist photography. It is an exploration of John's dream imagery and iconography through the use of the photographic medium. 

John never explains his imagery because he feels, “To explain an image is to suppress the enjoyment and wonder.”   He was influenced by the early symbolists’ belief that “the creation of a mood is as important as the transmission of information, (it must also) seek to engage the entire mind and personality of the viewer by appealing to the viewer’s emotions and unconscious mind, as well as to their intellect”. 

Throughout John’s artistic career, his refusal to be limited by any one medium has lead him to master multiple artistic outlets; he has been a ceramist, sculptor, painter, and mixed media artist.  He has recently delved into the world of moving images and has already directed two short art films: “Child, Doll or Bone” which captures the beauty and intimacy of a cutter’s compulsion and “Destin”, the story of a young girl questioning her ability to avoid her tragic fate.  At this very moment, Santerineross is in the preproduction phase of a powerful, warped tale of a doll maker entitled “Ningyoushi”.   Santerineross’ uncompromising integrity, ethics and belief in freedom of expression continues to show even now through his avant-garde photographic images and films. 

Unlike many of John’s contemporaries, his use of digital manipulation is extremely limited.  95% of what you see in the photograph was on the set that day. All blurs or distortions are created by either the model moving at his command or objects that are moving in the set by means of a variety of intricate motors, wires and mobiles.  Due to the complexity of his images, John only shoots approximately 12 images a year, which makes every one of them extremely significant and personal.   

It is his commitment, integrity, passion and dedication that cause many admirers to consider him to be one of the most influential image-makers of this generation.

Books and Collections

 . . .Dream, Attis Publishing

. . .Fruit of the Secret God, Attis Publishing

. . .Secret Fetish Photo Anthology, vol 1, Glitter publishing

. . .Secret Fetish Photo Anthology, vol 2, Glitter Publishing

. . .Extreme, vol 1 , Glitter publishing

. . .The Mammoth Book of Illustrated Erotica, Carroll Graf publishing

. . .Gothic Spirit, Takahara Eiri, Asahi Shimbun Press

. . .Cover image: Coven of Celsus Elizabeth by Shauna Tully


Partial Listing of Gallery Shows and Events 

. . .Strychnin UK Gallery, London October 2007

. . .Harvest 07 Atlanta GA October 2007

. . .Seattle Erotic Arts Festival March 2007

. . .Dark Hearts and Broken Vows show at Strychnin Gallery NYC Feb 2007

. . .KFMK Gallery, NYC May-June 2006 (solo exhibition)

. . .Seattle Erotic Arts Festival 2006

. . .KFMK Gallery, Chelsea NYC  February 2006

. . .Seattle Erotic Arts Festival 2005

. . .Galleria de·Arte Moderna Contemporanea, Bondeno, Italy 2005

. . .Fuse Gallery, NYC February 2005

. . .Echo Gallery, Chicago IL October 2005

. . .Bizarre Vampire Bazaar, Hollywood CA, October 2005

. . .Arena Gallery/Black and Blue Ball 2004

. . .Gallery Gora, Quebec, Canada 2003

. . .Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, Brave Destiny show Sept 2003

. . .Niagra, Decadence Show July 2003 Manhattan, NY

. . .Friction Gallery, Atlanta, GA June 2001



 . . .Destin, 2005

. . .Child, Doll or Bone 2004

Partial List of Magazines

 . . .Profifoto, Germany December 2007

. . .Mombaca magazine, Spain September 2007

. . .SM Sniper Magazine, Japan, 7 consecutive issues, beginning March 2007

. . .Marquis Magazine Issue #39, 2007 Germany

. . .The New York Art World, Summer edition 2006

. . .NY Arts Magazine, July/Aug 2006

. . ."M" Magazine, May 2006<br>. . .Transmision Magazine 2006 Issue 4, Spain

. . .Elegy Magazine, 2005 Issue 37, France

. . .New Nude Magazine, 2005 Autumn Issue, Portugal

. . .Sonic Seducer Magazine, August 2005 Issue 50, Germany

. . .S Magazine, June 2005 Issue 11, Japan

. . .D-Side Magazine, March 2005 Issue 27, France

. . .Marquis Magazine, February 2005 Issue 33, Germany

. . .Gothic Beauty, Issue 15 Winter 2004, USA

. . .Schlagzeilen Magazine, 2003, Germany

. . .Vial Magazine, 2003 San Francisco, USA

. . .Gothic Beauty, 2002 Issue 7, USA

. . .Chaotic Order Magazine, Issue 13, 2002, Great Britain

. . .Newgrave Magazine, Newgrave publishing, Issue 3, USA

. . .Secret Magazine, 2001 Issue 19, Brussels, Belgium

. . .Vampiria magazine, Kingdom publishing, Issue 5, Italy

. . .Erotica Magazine. High speed productions, Issue 11, USA

. . .Secret Magazine, Issue 18, 2000 Brussels, Belgium

. . .Fetish Magazine, Hawke international Publications, Issue 12, USA

. . .Moonshade Magazine, February 1998 Issue 6, USA

. . .The Boudoir Noir, Boudoir Noir Publications, 1994 Canada

. . .Prometheus Magazine, Tess Associations. 1995 USA

. . .Secret magazine, Secret Publications,1995 Issue 8, Brussels, Belgium

. . .Le Fer Rouge, RMP LTD, 1996 Issue 1, Canada

. . .Mistress Mine, Silver Lining Publications Inc, Issue 2, USA

. . .Prometheus, Tess Publications, Issue 31, USA

. . .Elegy Magazine, Elegy Publications, Issue 4, France

. . .Apocalypse Magazine, Apocalypse Productions, Issue 4, BC Canada

. . .Blue Magazine, Mare Nero Dist. Issue 115, Rome , Italy

. . .Equilibrium Magazine, Equilibrium Publications, Issue 2, Hungary

Partial Listing of CD Cover Artwork

 . . .Attrition, Dante's Kitchen

. . .Attrition, Keepsakes and Reflections

. . Invisible Records, Nicodemus, Tales of the Lovelorn and Necromantic

. . .Dark Throne Records, Attrition, The Jeopardy Maze

. . .Projeck Records, ShellyRaven, Desolation

. . .War is Imminent Records, Attrition, The Hand That Feeds

. . .Invisible Records, Empire Hideous, Victim Destroys Assailant

. . .Dismal Abysmal Records, Empire Hideous, Live


. . .Music Video for "Take Me with you" by Vast 2007

. . .Playboy TV's "Happy Naked Girls" 2007

. . .Fetish Factory, Ft. Lauderdale, FL Multimedia presentation 2005

. . .Playboy TV, Sexetera 2004

. . .Black and Blue Ball 2003 multimedia presentation


Technical Notes (How John Creates His Images)

 Many people over the years have asked me how I create my images. To begin with, I get most of my ideas from my dreams; I suffer from insomnia so I do not sleep very well. On those rare occasions when I do sleep, I dream very heavily and vividly. When I wake, I remember not so much the minute details of the dream, but more of the flavor of the dream. This flavor is the beginning point of an image concept. I then take that seed and begin to construct a set as if preparing for a play. I actually have a built-in stage in my current studio because it used to be an old meeting hall. Piece by piece the set begins to take form. I spend many hours sitting in the studio, staring at the set, listening to music and basically waiting for the image to tell me what it needs. This long process is the reason I only shoot about 13 times a year and consequently only produce about 13 images each year.

 Once the set is constructed and I feel it is finished, I go about the task of finding the model or models I believe would work with the idea. I have a catalog of sorts of my friends and people who have contacted me expressing an interest in posing for me. Actually, this may be a good time to explain how I choose my models.

 Everyone who has posed for me over the years is my friend. When someone approaches me to pose, I explain that they need to think about their comfort level as far as nudity is concerned. I also explain that I need what I call "nude mug shots": simple, plain shots of their face and body including any scars, piercing or tattoos they may have. We then begin a dialog, usually via email, then by phone and finally in person. Once I feel comfortable with them, and they with me, I put them in my “use” file.

 Ok, so once the set is done it is then time to choose someone from the "use" file. I choose a model based on several criteria: their look, their comfort level and their mind. I need to know if this person can give me what I need for the image and the only way to do that is for us to become friends so that I understand them. After I have selected the model, I contact them to explain the idea, see if they understand the concept and if they are willing to model for that shoot. If they agree, we set a day to shoot. They come to my studio; we prepare the makeup, props, etc. (which actually takes longer then the actual shoot itself). I shoot 50 negatives only. I believe if I can't get what I want in 50 shots, then I will never get it.

I shoot with a medium format Mamiya RB manual camera, using black and white negative film. I then develop the film myself using chemistry and time that I have developed over the years. I make contact sheets and then make my decision as to which image best matches the "taste" I had. I then scan the negative into my computer and do the tonal changes, coloring and add a border. 

Many people are under the assumption that I do a lot of digital manipulation of my images. The fact is that about 95 percent of what you see in the photograph was on set that day. All blurs or distortions are created by either the model moving at my command or objects that are moving in the set by means of a variety of motors, wires and mobiles. Once I have the image done, I send the digital file to a company in California by the name of CALYPSO IMAGING (;they print my digital file onto Fuji crystal archive color photographic paper using a wonderful machine called a "light-jet". (I must tell you that the owner and staff at Calypso are just great. I highly recommend them. All of my limited edition exhibition prints are printed by them.) I then get the prints from Calypso and edition them. Well that's about it.