It’s time for something new. For the past five years, we’ve looked inside at the works of one of the world’s most fantastic homosexuals, Mr. Bob Mizer, and while we’ll never lose our love for the King, all of this introspection is getting a bit tedious. So it’s time for us to look outside, to the ever expanding world of gay art and photography, to bring you up to speed with what’s been happening since the posing strap fell. From now on, you’ll get all the same sensational odds-and-ends about Bob and his contemporaries, sandwiched by the works of living, breathing homosexuals, who will no doubt one day warrant the same esteem afforded their predecessors.
To start our little journey outside the studio, we thought it only appropriate to introduce you to some of our favorite photographers of today. Herewith is our list of the Top Five Contemporary Homos With Cameras:
1. Ryan Mcginley – Perhaps the most celebrated of the list, Ryan Mcginely sky rocketed to fame, before many of his contemporaries even graduated from college. In 2002, at the age of 24, he became the youngest artist to score a solo show at the Whitney. His brilliantly composed, semi-staged photos of the waif thin and fabulous, have made him a go-to for publications lie The New York Times Magazine. He was recently commissioned to shoot the 2010 winter Olympics and has a new-ish book of photos out from Mörel, entitled Moonmilk.
2. Luke Smalley – Though he died just months ago, Luke Smalley is still one of our favorite voices in modern American photography. His rather sullen, though playful photographs of young men, and occasionally women, have the ability to turn the mundane into the truly bizarre. Take, for example, his 2007 collection, Exercise at Home. The limited edition set of 30 plates, available from Twin Plams Publishers, turns mundane exercise into something whimsical, though just the slightest bit disturbing, with images of boys pushing an over-sized medicine ball, lifting wooden dumbbells or playing a literally interpreted game of “Donkey Basketball.”
3. Paco y Manolo – Working out of Barcelona, this handsome and talented couple have created a portfolio of images that can only be termed prolific. Many of their photographs of manly, though not often muscular men, bathed in natural light can be found in their beautifully printed, and independently published magazine, Kink.
4. Paul Mpagi Sepuya – Known for his portraits of young, creative New York types, Paul Mpagi Sepuya has garnered quite the reputation in the art world. He’s popped up in such prolific publications as the New York Times and Interview Magazine, and lent his one of a kind eye to the likes of BUTT Magazine and Pin-up. His portraits are bare-bones depictions of men from all walks of life, but they are no less fascinating for their simplicity. He has a new set of photographs out in collaboration with Envoy Enterprises, simply titled, No. 1.
5. Pierre et Gilles – Picking up where James Bidgood left off, Pierre et Gilles are quite possibly the most fantastic – and we’re talking out-there fantastic – photographers of the male nude, working today. Their images are surreal to say the least – creating lush worlds of vibrant color and over-the-top settings, to showcase beautifully built bodies and immaculate faces. Of the five photographers listed here, these two are as close to the pages of Physique Pictorial as your likely to get today, but they’re still a million light years ahead of their time.