The goal of this “Behind the Picture” series is to explore not only the story behind a certain powerful or interesting rainwear picture but also the person depicted in the picture or the photographer who created the image. All too often a picture is shared online endlessly; the people in the picture are reduced to objects or subjected to speculation about their motivations and feelings, and nobody will ever find out what was really behind the image.
At first glance you would expect this picture to be hanging in the clothing department of a shopping mall above endless rows of jumpsuits in different colours. While the model is obviously very attractive, and both the pose and setting look professional, the picture seems rather generic. There are countless similar fashion pictures showing different outfits, hoping to attract just enough attention from the passer-by to consider taking a look at the merchandise and possibly buying it. It is only when you realize she is not wearing a green cotton jumpsuit that would fit a summer’s day perfectly, but a heavy-duty chemical suit, that you would stop dead in your tracks to process what is going on.
There is a clear contradiction in this picture, a set of industrial PVC gear is being presented as a fashion item. The setting best resembles a home or hotel, not a chemical factory or other industrial place, and the high-heels combined with a hair worn lose are clear violations of safety protocols for the chemical industry. I am starting to like this picture more and more.
An even closer looks brings out another oddity, while a suit of this standard would be extremely protective already, you can see a sliver of other gear peeking out at the left sleeve and at hood. It certainly looks like she is not just wearing one suit, she might even have one more suit under it to be double protected.
Another interesting detail is the fact the model is wearing the bib pants over the raincoat, something that can regularly be seen in the fishing industry in situations where the wearer wants to be protected from water splashing up instead of rain coming down. And it is often seen inside the rainwear community, where keeping dry from rain might take second chair to presenting raingear is the most attractive way.
There are three possible explanations for the existence of this picture. Maybe it was the producer of this gear who wanted another type of picture to showcase their gear, maybe it was an artist who wanted to use the contradictions mentioned before to make a statement about the fashion industry, or, most likely, this picture was created by and for people with an above average interest in rainwear.
Meet C, who is maybe better known under the pseudonym of Greenjoker within the rainwear community. He has been creating pictures of models in protective gear for over a decade, and I finally got a chance to talk to him not only about this picture but his work in general.
Can you tell a bit more about this specific photo?
This is quite an old picture already; I suppose I took it about a decade ago. The model in the picture is best known under her pseudonym “Candle Boxx” and we did this photoshoot at her place in Atlanta. I brought several sets of gear to the shoot and from there onwards we mostly improvised with the poses and spots. Luckily she had quite some experience modelling already. I used a rather simple digital camera back then, with less megapixels you will find on even the front-camera of your mobile phone today, which explains the limited number of pixels in this picture. Back then I was also relatively new to photography, which explains why the picture is a bit out-of-focus. Below another picture from that same photoshoot, showing a bit more of the suit she is wearing.
And the suit that she is wearing, do you still have it and can you tell what kind of suit it is?
This suit is still in my possession as it is virtually indestructible. While it looks like a rainsuit for commercial fishing it is actually a chemical suit from Tingley Rubber. These suits are used in industrial settings to protect the wearer against dangerous chemicals and acid. You would expect it to be thick and heavy to wear, but it is surprisingly light weight and flexible. As a chemical suit it has some additional features like snaps to secure the waist, ankles, and wrists to prevent the suit from riding up while being worn. These suits are still made today and you can probably find them available at industrial suppliers, on ebay, or directly from the manufacturer (jacket & bib pants).
So we have a professional model posing in a green chemical suit combined with high heels at her home. How did it end up like this?
You want the long story or the short? It basically all began at the age of 10 when my parents got me a blue PVC raincoat. There was no going back anymore from there onwards. Like so many I figured I was the only one who had these feelings for a simple piece of rainwear, but that changed when internet access became more common and I found like-minded people around the world. One of the first content creators I came across was actually Rainwearboy, who you interviewed in a previous edition. Finding his pictures of gorgeous women in mostly heavy rainwear was a dream come through.
Around that time I also started to become more active in online communities on Yahoo Groups. Similar to today the communities were quite diverse, with everybody having their own unique interest in different types of rainwear. While there was a decent amount of content being shared and created, the exact things I was looking for only came by occasionally.
There might be more talented photographers with bigger budgets, but by starting to make my own content I was able to combine the exact things I was looking for. At the start my approach was very basic, over time I improved my photography skills, upgraded my camera to a more professional one, and added things like lights and backdrops to my arsenal.
What kind of content were you exactly looking for? Is the picture we talked about earlier the perfect combination of elements in your book?
That picture comes close; it has the combination of a gorgeous model and some heavy-duty gear which are 2 important elements for me. And as you earlier noticed she is wearing another suit under it, which makes it even more interesting to me. The loose hair and high heels are mostly for the aesthetics of the picture though, as I personally would prefer a pair of protective rubber boots, rubber gloves, and some type of facial protection added. Be it a full face respiratory mask or a gas mask.
The Tingley suit is a great one, but in my view the heavier and the shinier the suit the better. I currently have a collection of about 20 suits of different brands, including Ocean, Viking, AJ Group, Grundéns, Tingley, and PVC-U-Like, and my favorites are definitely the ones from AJ Group. This brand has not just the heaviest suits available, with a material weight of up to 700 gram/m, but their Opalo fabric is also extremely shiny. Above a picture of a black AJ Group jacket and pants combination and below an integrated yellow suit, both made out of Opalo fabric.
When I go through your portfolio you have a lot of different models posing for your pictures. You will need to explain where you get them from as many readers will be extremely curious about that.
Most of the models in my photoshoots are professional models who I contacted through a site like “Model Mayhem”, which is a modelling community. Models, photographers, post-production retouchers, make-up artists, stylists, and filmmakers all have profiles there to come into contact with each other for jobs.
So far I have worked with two categories of models: glamour models and fetish models. The first you will mostly find back in mainstream publications while fetish models are obviously open for fetish content which can also include porn. The latter category of models has normally my preference when looking for new models, as they are used to working with Rule 34* content making them more at ease with dressing up in heavy-duty rainwear for pictures.
*Rule 34 basically states that “if it exists, there is porn of it – no exceptions”.
The content I create maybe involves some heavy gear, but there is little nudity and no porn involved. Below you can find a picture showing how far I go regarding nudity, most pictures will have the girls fully geared up and protected though. And while some models might find the gear I bring along a bit strange at first, they often seem to understand it better after a bit of conversation during the photoshoot. Most of the models I have worked with actually enjoy the photo sessions, as they often share interest whenever I post a picture of some new gear I bought and I almost exclusively work with repeat models nowadays. It is quite reassuring in a way that the models actually have a good time dressing up in the gear I love so much and are not creeped out about it.
By using professional models in your photoshoots you are obviously investing quite a sum of money into this. Do you monetize your content to recoup your costs or even make a profit?
While it was never my intent to turn this into a business and make a profit, I did try to recoup some of the costs by putting the content behind a paywall. Unfortunately the demand for my pictures was too low; the whole rainwear scene is quite small already and what I am into is a niche within that scene. I now accept that it is mostly a hobby for me and it will lose me money.
Another problem, that is not unique for the rainwear community, is that some people steal and share content produced by others. There might be one person who pays to get behind the paywall, copies all the content, and uploads it somewhere for everyone to see. This is of course problematic for the people producing the content who incur costs for the photoshoot and need to pay the models. The end result is that less people will create content as none of their expenditure can be recouped.
Most of the content producers and participants in the rainwear community stay anonymous for as far as possible. They stay behind the camera, cover parts of their face when they are in view, and share as little personal information as possible. You are doing almost the opposite, as you regularly post pictures of yourself in your favourite gear or with a model you have been shooting with, without covering up. Was this well thought out beforehand and have you experienced any negative consequences from being recognizable online?
Rainwear is an integral part of who I am as a person; dressing up in protective gear is a way of releasing stress for me and I could not do without it. And while I could have chosen to stay anonymous, I do not regret posting pictures of myself in which I am easily recognizable by the people I know. Friends and peers have been surprisingly accepting of me and my work by asking questions and liking my online posts. Of course there are less positive experiences with hacklers online who think it is necessary to provide negative feedback, and some acquaintances that have trouble understanding my motivations, but these experiences are luckily quite limited. In general my experiences of sharing my identity are positive, including some opportunities to connect with like-minded people who I would not have come across in normal life easily.
Thank you so much for participating in this interview, and thank you for all the pictures you have been sharing over the years. If people want to follow you, where can they find you?
You can find most of my work on my site hazgirl.com. I am also active on most social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Fetlife. And I regularly visit and post on some rainwear community sites like Regnfrakker.dk, RainwearCentral, and Waterproofs4u. Feel free to follow me on any of these platforms or leave a comment when you see me posting something you like. In the end it is all about building a community around rainwear where people can express themselves, feel appreciated, and share their love for rainwear. Hopefully it can inspire people to feel more confident accepting and expressing their passion for rainwear in their own way and just enjoy it.