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Touch the leather: what went down at Europe’s biggest fetish festival

TextTish WeinstockPhotographyUma Termas

Last Saturday, French photographer Uma Termas took to the streets of Berlin to capture the colourful characters at this year’s Folsom

Welcome to Folsom, the biggest fetish festival in Europe. Get off the train at Berlin’s Nollendorfplatz U Bahn station and navigate your way amongst the hoards of latex-clad horsemen, puppies on leashes, gimps, drag queens, and the various stalls selling leather accessories that line the street and perfume the air with their rich, earthy, and slightly sweet scents. In tribute to her late uncle, a long time Folsom reveler, Uma Termas ventured there this Saturday to recorded all its wonders. “Upon arrival I was greeted by a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. Last time I saw one was at Franck's, my uncle's, funeral. He was a fearless activist against homophobia and fundraiser for AIDS all his life, so we had the honour to have one of the Sisters with us, she came to give him an homage,” says the French photographer. “Actually, the best part wasn’t what was scandalous and in a way 'expected' but the real humanisation of the fetish scene, like butt naked men and puppies doing the most mundane things such as eating a curry-wurst or queuing for beer with their mates, was fantastic.”

For Uma, Folsom is especially poignant. “As children my siblings and I were bathed in gay culture, dancing with men dressed as women and learning the choreography to Madonna’s Vogue on rainy Sundays. My uncle, the initiator of this kind of fun, who was a father to us, died last year. Since then, I have been working my way back to warm memories and familiar settings. This was my impulse to go to Folsom, a need to feel at home.” Check out her photos below.

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