Ostra Studio (Editions Ostra) was a photography studio in Paris that was well-known in the 1930s for producing high-quality erotic pictures of nudes and fetishistic scenes of bondage, whipping, and spanking. The studio was an offshoot of the equally famous Biederer Studio founded by Jacques (1887 – 1942) & Charles Biederer (1942) in 1908.
The name seems to refer to the village both brothers were born: Moraska-Ostrava.
The Biederer Studio had already gained a reputation for making elegant and risque images of female nudes and erotic corporal punishment — including elaborate depictions of F/Fdomination, Maledom, scenes of male-submissive Femdom, and even pony play. The Ostra division, formed in the late ’30s, was an attempt to create a separate publishing house for “Editions Ostra” — albums of photo-sets based on erotic themes.
Unlike the studio-bound Biederer line, many of the Ostra pictures were done outdoors. These include romantic, mildly suggestive images of couples enjoying nature, nudes in classical poses, humorous, voyeuristic displays of partial nudity, and scenes of playful spanking. Sometimes several photos were taken in a series in order to tell a simple story.
In the studio, Ostra produced many sleek, sophisticated photos depicting domestic discipline as well as dominatrix-and-slave BDSM scenarios. One remarkable series of doggie training images may well be the first of their kind. Studio Ostra also did commercial photographic work for La Lingerie Moderne, Yva Richard’s mail-order catalog of lingerie and bondage accessories, as well as photo illustrations for erotic books.
Identifying a Jacques Biederer photograph is not difficult in itself, but separating the work of the two divisions is a daunting task. This is because very few are signed and both product lines made hundreds of similar images. A limited number of photos are signed Ostra or have a logo of a question mark inside an inverted triangle. Most are unmarked. Some Biederer Studio photos have a “B” scratched into the corner, but the majority are also not signed. One can only extrapolate by using the marked photographs as a guide in matching up images with the same theme, props, models, costume items, and set decorations.