Below is our recent interview with Oliver Dominguez, Chief Executive Officer at The Private Lens:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to The Private Lens?
A: The Private Lens is an online members-only weekly magazine showcasing photo galleries with different female models from all over the world and an articles section (you might refer to it as a blog) focused on female empowerment.
It first started from a photoshoot a woman asked me to shoot of her, to which my first reaction was “I’m not a photographer”, and that’s exactly what I told her. To be honest, I did own a camera and some lights, but had never done a proper photoshoot up until that point in time, which was February 2017.
I did agree to do the photoshoot with her, not knowing what I was getting myself into. It turns out I arrived there unprepared for what was about to happen. It wasn’t until I was at the location with her that I found out that this model/client wanted to shoot a boudoir/nude styled set, which I had never done before.
I decided to stay and give it a shot (so did she), and to my surprise, the photos came out great. The day after the shoot, I already had some friends of that model/client asking me to photograph them in the same style, and that felt great.
The idea of The Private Lens quickly popped into my head as a way to empower women to love themselves as they are, sometimes in the nude, sometimes in a more conservative way, and somehow it made sense to me that out of the 7.5+ billion people that populate our planet, quite a few would enjoy the work enough to pay money to see the art the models and I create together, and that’s when my photography business turned into an online magazine a year later, in 2018, which I didn’t know how to do either.
I went through a lot of trouble creating the platform, as most payment gateways are not open to my kind of content because they consider it “high-risk” (it turns out that adult content consumption on the Internet is often hidden by the people who buy it and banks and credit card companies don’t like when their clients say “I didn’t do that transaction”), even though I haven’t had anyone refuse a transaction since the project started. Being from the Dominican Republic didn’t help either, because most of the global payment processors do not accept Dominican citizens as a client.
I got banned from PayPal because of my content, which I consider to be of an artistic nature and not “adult content”, as defined by many. I got banned from Stripe because I was not american. It was ultimately Patreon that allowed me to use their platform as the payment gateway and paywall for the website, and they have been great so far. I now use a “Login With Patreon” login, just as you would use a “Login With Facebook” or “Login With Google” on many platforms today.
I was set on the idea of The Private Lens being a space that could empower these women. It took a few tries and many mistakes, but I’m now successfully running what I call “version 3.0” of the website, which is separated in two main sections: “The Galleries”, which includes photo galleries of models from all over the world in the following categories: Casual, Beachwear, Lingerie, Implied and Art Nude, and “The Articles”, which in some cases are written by some of the models themselves, who are mainly psychologists and sex mentors and are focused on Female Empowerment, Self-Love and Sexual Healing for women.
Q: Can you tell us something more about your membership levels?
A: Of course. The membership levels on The Private Lens are very simple and based on the categories I told you about earlier, for example:
- The “Starter” tier gives users access to the Casual and Beachwear categories inside The Galleries and is priced at only $2.99 per month.
- The “Mid-Level” tier allows users to see everything in the previous level and adds the Lingerie and Implied categories inside The Galleries and is priced at $5.99 per month.
- The “I love your work!” tier is priced a little higher, at $9.99 per month, and gives users total access to all the categories inside The Galleries, including the Art Nude sets.
- There is a “Close Friends” tier, which includes all of the above levels, and also some behind the scenes images and outtakes from the published galleries on the website. This tier is priced at $14.99 per month.
Each month, I try to publish a minimum of 4 new galleries on the website, at least one every week. But to be honest, I don’t remember the last time I published only 4 galleries within one month, it’s usually between 5 and 10 new galleries each month.
Q: What about “The Articles”, is there a tier that includes access to them?
A: Actually, access to The Articles is absolutely free. The most important goal of The Private Lens is to empower women, through other women’s experiences and knowledge, and that’s exactly what this section is meant for, an accessible content blog that can help women who constantly question their own value because we, men, have made it so difficult for them to be truly free.
The idea and goal is to hopefully reach out to these women and give them the tools and confidence they need to excel in whatever path they choose in life.
Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: We just opened our photography studio in the heart of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a true paradise in the caribbean. And the focus now is to open up the studio to more women as time goes by.
In parallel, there is a plan in execution to open our own merchandising and clothing store for women and men alike. This will help raise more money and keep the project going and help more and more women be free of the boundaries modern society has placed upon them.
Q: What is the best thing about The Private Lens that people might not know about?
A: I believe the best thing that people might not know about is precisely the fact that The Private Lens (and now also The Private Studios) is a creative and respectful space in which women can be truly free. We go through a lot of trouble to allow for that to happen. I want to encourage as many women as possible to open up, tell us their story and let us photograph their true essence and personality. It’s not just about boobs and butts, it’s about being as free and as successful in business and in life for women as it has been for men for so many years in “modern” society.
I truly hope we continue to help our world achieve that goal.