A new one-night-only gallery exhibition explores the male nude in photography, with local models aplenty
For anyone who thinks life in the gay community ends at age 30, Jeff Lanier is living proof it can get started well after that.
Lanier was already in his early 40s when he came out as gay. Around the same time, he was asked by a photographer friend to model for him. Nude.
“I just kinda fell into it,” he says humbly. Since starting four years ago, full-nude shoots is “mostly what I do. I’ve never really had a problem with nudity — I’m a free spirit. I just see the human body as art.”
Darrin Miller has a similar story. He did not begin nude modeling until his 40s as well, and ever since he started, he’s been on a quest to demystify the naked male body — to prove that you don’t have to be pornographic to appreciate nudity.
“I find it fascinating that in our country, if a women is nude, it’s art; if a man is nude, [it’s a scandal],” Miller says. “So I wanted to have a photographic exhibition that shows what I consider to be classic portrayal of the male body in an un-sexual, unaroused state.”
The result is the upcoming show Celebrating the Male Form, which exhibits for one-night-only at the Basement Gallery. Setting up the exhibit “was just a perchance thing,” Miller explains. “I went to the Basement Gallery where they have a drink-and-draw, where models pose and you draw them. They do mostly pop art, but [I asked the owner], would he be open to doing a show that celebrated the male nude? He said sure!”
“The biggest reason I did it was, for lack of a better term, to celebrate the simplicity [and beauty] of the male body. Someone once said, a woman can stand completely naked and it’s art, but a guy has to be doing something — playing sports and such,” he says.
Miller then put the word out on Model Mayhem, a website networking models and photographers, to gauge interest. More than a dozen participants (artists and models) have submitted works for the show. Miller expects more than 60 images will be featured.
One of the participating photographers is Russell Windle, who’s been involved in photography (behind the lens and in front) since he was 13 more than 50 years ago. (“My age right now doesn’t permit modeling,” he jokes.) He cites Paul Freeman, an Australian photographer, and Mark Henderson from Austin, as influences — artists “who help take the taboo out of the male nude,” Windle says. He personally employs post-shoot effects to add an artistic element.
“I try to disguise a lot of my photographs into looking like an oil painting,” he says, though he doubts he will use such techniques in this show. Even without such elaborate Photoshop applications, though, Windle, Lanier and Miller are all aiming for something other than titillation.
“They will be very boudoir-ish,” Miller says of the intent of the show. “The beauty of the male anatomy doesn’t have to be pornographic.”
“I think there are different types of nudity,” agrees Lanier. “There’s pornography, which you wouldn’t want everybody to see, and then there’s like the David, which is a famous work of art. I don’t have a problem with that.” Still, he’s not sure he wants his daughters or his mom to come to this show — there’s art, then there’s family.
To see more photos, visit DallasVoice.com. Celebrating the Male Form at the Basement Gallery, 115 S. Beckley Ave. Jan 16. 7 p.m.–midnight.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 8, 2016.