Rick Castro is an independent filmmaker & photographer living in Los Angeles. Rick's work explores the world of fetish and fringes of sex culture. His work has been published in artist editions, exhibitions and institutions worldwide.
At the age of 18, Rick was approached by designer Marlene Stewart, (Madonna, Oliver Stone) to style her line for the California Apparel News, Soon, Rick was working with photographers who are now the mainstays of the industry. Rick did wardrobe styling for photographers as diverse as, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Joel Peter Witkin and George Hurrell.
It was through hands on experience that he learned photography, watching variations of lighting and composition techniques from each photographer, then adapting them to his sensibility.
In 1986, his "underground" career as a photographer began. As a reaction against fashion and the restrictions the industry demands, his photography style was severe. A combination of hard documentary, fetish and nudes.
"Always nudes, I didn’t want to deal with wardrobe ever again!"
At that point in his career Rick was styling for major publications. He had wardrobe stylist credits in Vanity Fair, GQ, Interview and Rolling Stone magazines, and in direct contrast, photographer credits in Drummer, Bound & Gagged and other fetish magazines.
In 1988, Rick began photographing hustlers on Santa Monica Boulevard. This documentation lead to his collaboration with filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, marking Rick's foray into directing and writing. During the summer of 1995, Rick, Bruce and a small crew shot Hustler White, on the streets of Santa Monica Boulevard.
The script was based on Rick's interviews with hustlers, using them as stars, and model Tony Ward as the lead character. Hustler White premiered at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, receiving both praises and scorn from industry critics.
"Picture, if you will, a cross between Fox TV's mid-90's series Melrose Place and Pasolini's Salo."
Hustler White had theatrical screenings worldwide and is now a video/DVD cult classic. The Los Angeles Times lists Hustler White in the top 100 important independent films from 1913- 2004.
Because of Hustler White, Rick was approached by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey of World of Wonder to be the casting director of their documentary 101 Rent Boys. Rick cast his favorite hustlers to be interviewed about their personal experiences with the oldest profession in the world. 101 aired on Showtime in the summer of 2000. Rick & World of Wonder then began another project that was even beyond his preconceptions of alternative reality, the world of people who identify as "furries." Introduced to the furry lifestyle by a furry person, (see plushie page for details) Rick spent 3 years researching the furry fandom. Shot on digital video, the result became a 30-minute documentary called Plushies & Furries. Plushies aired on MTV in January 2002 and scored number 2 in the ratings. An unrated version for Channel 5 UK aired in 2003.
The success of Plushies encouraged Rick to present the first exhibit of furry art to the public. Premiering February 2002 in Los Angeles, the Furotica art exhibit featured erotic artwork created by furry artists. The exhibit has traveled to The Gallery at Les Deaux, Hollywood, The Pound Gallery, Seattle, and Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica.
Rick’s fetish photography and videos were featured on Wired For Sex- Tech TV. His work is in the permanent collections of The Alfred Kinsey Institute and The Tom Of Finland Foundation. His books and zines are archived at the UCLA library.
Rick has lectured about his work at NYU, UCLA, 18th Street Arts Complex, and The Erotic Museum, Hollywood.
Rick has photographed the Dalai Lama, (sipping tea) Gore Vidal,Peter Berlin, Alan Poul, Kenneth Anger and Tony Ward.
Rick Castro photographing Gore Vidal at his Hollywood Hills Home- 2004
Rick has now re-entered the mainstream with fashion photography spreads for Flaunt, Attitude UK, DNA and Tetu magazines. Rick is a regular contributor for Studio Magazines, publishers of Blue, B&W, Sex and Deep Blue.
Rick's long awaited second book 13 Years of Bondage, reached #2 at A Different Light Bookstore's top 10 new releases, and was nominated for a Lambda Award.
“I consider myself a folk artist, because my work is made for, and created with a kindred group. I find my subjects fascinating and become obsessed with wanting to know all about them, be it through photos, film, video, or writing. I'm fascinated with the process of original ideas, and the course it takes to becoming common place. I'm fully aware that whatever is initially considered bizarre will be the standard of the future."
Rick Castro, Hollywood, 2005