John Willie

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John Alexander Scott Coutts (December 9, 1902 - August 5, 1962), better known as John Willie, was a pioneering fetish photographer and bondage artist.


Life and work

Coutts was born in Singapore and grew up in England; contrary to some claims, he was not related to the Coutts banking family.[1]

In 1921 he entered Sandhurst and in 1923 was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scots. He was forced to resign his commission in 1925 after marrying a nightclub hostess, Eveline Fisher, without the permission of his regiment, whereupon he moved to Australia; the marriage ended in divorce in 1930.[2]

In the mid-1930s, he began working for a Sydney-based fetish club as an illustrator and photographer; around this time he began a relationship with Holly Faram, one of his models, and they married in 1942.[3] He was an early enthusiast for the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, and invited the Argentinian to Australia in 1938, to give a short series of lectures in Melbourne, sponsored by Bohemia magazine.[4]

Around 1945-47 Coutts moved to New York City via Montreal, in order to publish his bondage and fetish magazine Bizarre; Holly chose to remain in Australia where she died in 1983 at the age of 70.[5] When he moved to America Coutts adopted the name 'John Willie'.

Bizarre was published, somewhat irregularly, from 1946 to 1959 (compare with ENEG's work in Exotique magazine, published 1956 - 1959). The magazine included many photographs, often of his wife, and drawings of costume designs, some based on ideas from readers. There were also many letters from readers; he was accused of inventing these letters, but insisted that they were genuine. The letters covered interests such as high heels, bondage, amputee fetishism, sadomasochism, transvestism, corsets and body modification.

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