Tuesday, August 15, 2006

These are a few of my favourite links

I was recently asked if I could post more links to the casting sites that I visit often, which got me thinking, perhaps I should write about some of them too!

I will never forget the first time (as a very novice internet user) that I was able to a find a casting website. Though truth be told, the exact words that I searched for at the time have long since vanished from my memory, I still smile when I recall the fact that I suddenly knew I was not the only soul on the face of the earth who loved casts. Likely that same feelings and thoughts have rung true for a great many recreational casting enthusiast.

Back in those days I didn't even have a home computer yet, and as you may know firsthand, it can be a tad hard to discretely look at casting sites while at public libraries and internet cafes - though I still did it anyways (I would keep a screen open with some mundane, run of the mill site open and a much smaller screen with the casting page displayed). The advent of a home PC brought with it the chance to at long last run like a horse in the wind through the web searching madly for every conceivable casting site.

Times change, and after a while favourites emerge from the pack. If you compare say the casting sites that existed in 1997 or even 2001 to those which are up on the web right now, you'll see that a lot of pages have disappeared. From the mid to late 1990's recreational casting sites were experiencing their heyday, in terms not so much of large (usually well structured) sites with real models, but within the realm of peoples' own casting homepages. Some folks used free pages (such as Geo City Pages) to create their little corners of the casting world, and others bought their own domains and had a go at creating a cast themed site.

One of the largest and most popular casting sites of all time is still in existence. It's stood its ground as others came and went, proving itself to be something of a casting Mecca for the community. That site is non other than Plaster of Paradise, or POP as it is lovingly refereed to by so many of us (I still visit it often, though updates are not quite as plentiful as they once were). Here POP's creator, Bob, began to show the world that enjoying casts was not some remarkably rare passion, nor was it impossible to find pictures of people wearing casts or links to other casting sites. Bob was the first caster that I know of, who flat out told people that they were not alone in their desire to see casts and to wear casts. In creating this blog ten years after POP came online, I have tried to retain that same vital spirit and important message.

There is little point it mentioning many of the casting sites which I used to frequent, as they are no longer online - yet amongst those that have vanished, a couple really stand out, and I have honestly wondered just what happened to cause their demise. Such relics of the past include Web Waddles and Fiberglass Rules.

Like a lot of people, I live a very busy life. My work has nothing to do with casting (sigh - don't we all wish we could earn our living via casting), and though I love casting passionately I don't exactly get a chance to wear as many casts as I'd enjoy. As such, it is often only possible to live out my casting dreams vicariously through the work and dedication of other recreational casting enthusiasts and their wonderful sites.

If a lot of the old school casting pages are gone, then a new genre has sprung forth from their charred remains, amongst which are many pay sites (in other words these sights require a fee to view their collection of images). As the web has advanced (I like to think of my blog as a "web 2" casting site :-)), so too has the quality of many (not all, but many) free and pay types of sites. Hopefully as time trudges onward this will continue, and new sites will also appear.

Nowadays there are still times when I try and do a full circle of the casting rounds, visiting tons of places where I know you can see casting photos and read casting stories. But if time is of the essence, a few of the main sites that I try to get are:

Cast Fetish (This site is an industry leader, so to speak, and it's work is always of top quality! Featuring female cast models, a section devoted to cast art and a growing forum, Cast Fetish remains a firm favourite of mine)

Fantacast (A sister site to Cast Fetish, Fantacast highlights a collection of unique casts that strive to be just what the site's name implies, purely casting fantasy. Great site if you love larger casts and non-tradition styles of casting)

(Well photographed images featuring models - both male and female - in a slough of different casts, often in settings that remind one of a Vogue fashion spread)

Gips Dreams (A site based out of Russian which features a lovely collection of pretty models wearing everything from minervas to dual LLCs, as well as various spicas and body casts)

Cast Planet (Though this is mainly a pay site, if you're willing to do a bit of clicking on each of the models' profiles you will discover a fair number of top notch casting pictures featuring European women in various single casts and cast combo)

Cast Stories (An awesome, ever expanding collection of casting related stories from a bevy of different writers)

Psycho Casting Page (A great collection of casting photos that are well sorted - including shots of celebrities in casts and plenty of fab web finds)

Bogey's How To (This site is one of the few out there which actually takes the time to tell you how to apply a cast. And for those who might be interested, the author also offers his suggestions on how to get a real medical cast without actually hurting yourself. Most of the articles also feature corresponding photos - this site is a must-read for those who are interested in applying casts to themselves or others)

Cast Society (A Gernman page that features a lot of free casting pictures. Users have the option of paying for additional images and vidoes if they like)

Free Cast Sites
(Much as the name implies, this is a directory of sites where you're able to find pages that feature free cast pictures. Some of the links are broken, or the pages are not in existence any more, but on the whole, it's a truly cool place to go and find free casting sites)

I do not currently subscribe to any of the casting pay sites, though you will notice a few of them amongst the list above. This is because these sites also offer some free images (often smaller versions of pics that are available if you sign up or free daily pictures of casted girls) and/or have a forum (message board) that I like to check out.

On the one hand I realize that by not subscribing to pay sites I'm vastly limiting the number of casting related photographs that I can easily see, but by the same token I tend to differ from a substantial chunk of the casting population in that my main casting focus is big casts. Double hip spicas, body jackets and full body casts are what (usually) appeal to me the most, and even on the majority of pay casting sites, these can be quite hard to come by. And so while I would no doubt enjoy looking at tons of shots featuring leg and arm casts, it seems a bit of a waste of money to pay for a site and not get a substantial amount of the type of casts that I like best! Should someone ever create a pay site about body casts, well that'll be a whole 'nother matter entirely.

It's worth talking about pay sites though, because for a lot of casters these pages feature the types of casts and models that they like most of all. Be it blonds in LACs or brunettes in SLCs with crutches. All it takes is a credit card and a few minuets and you can have the world of pay sites in your palm. Though like everything else the quality of these sites can vary, and the cream of the crop do hire both real models and real photographers for their well constructed shots. There is beauty and skill behind these sites that should not be ignored, even if you never choice to subscribe to one of them. Though some sites are essentially just out to turn a buck, it's clear that for others there is a genuine love of casting going on somewhere behind the scenes.

A subset of casting sites exist in which most of the pictures are doctored. No, I don't per se mean that they are shots with doctors (or smoking hot nurses) in them, but rather that their images have been altered or created entirely with photo restoration software. I've long since found that you have to be a bit forgiving of such sites and their creators, because not everyones' photo manipulating skills are the same. Hands down (or casted, please) my very favourite site that features digitally enhanced cast pictures (including a lot of body casts!) is Medical Fantasy Gallery. Here you can find pictures that depict everything from male patients in full body casts with sexy female nurses to women in bondage gear and most everything in between. When I really need a serious cast fix, this is one the main places that I never tire of turning to.

So what it is that I'm looking for in a casting site? Well in an ideal sort of world, there would be a plethora of body casts and double hip spicas, but since that doesn't seem to be happening all that often, I look for a site that has integrity and passion. Where I can tell that the page's creator is into recreation castings, and that the pictures are not just ones that I've seen a ton of times on other similar casting sites. There is no exact element that it must contain, other than a lot of casts, but I do like it a lot when sites are updated periodically and when you get to know more about both the site's creator(s) and (if applicable) models.

I know that the sites which I like might not appeal to everyone, and so I happily point you towards the most complete directory of casting links that I know of in all the internet, Cast Central's link page. Here you'll find a list of literally hundreds of casting, brace and medical fetish related sites, from which almost any casting hobbyist could discover something to their liking.

I'm always looking for new casting sites, Googling certain keywords that are probably much the same today as they were back in the 90's when I discovered my first casting site ever. Though I've long since learned that I'm not alone in my passion, that doesn't stop me from loving the magnificent feeling that comes with discovering a new casting site or cast photograph.