Tonight at Nuvo, photographer Blake Little will sign copies of his pictorial The Company of Men. The book includes photos of everyday men who you wish would show up on your Grindr and Scruff apps. Little talked to us a little more about how the book came to be, which we first wrote about here.
Interview with Little — and some more pictures — after the jump.
Dallas Voice: From your Wessel and O’Connor artist statement: You say “I photographed these guys more instinctively, reacting to the way they made me feel.” What were some of those feelings? Little: I have related to this type of man ever since I can remember. I only realized recently how primary this work is for me. I relate to these men emotionally, physically and spiritually.
You also said, “I also wanted to document a particular type of masculine gay male that I appreciated and related to.” What did you appreciate about these subjects? As a photographer, how do you relate to their varied industries? There is a type of maleness, natural masculinity that I see in these men. These qualities are hard to put into words. It is strength, integrity and a different kind of male beauty. The “industries” you refer to are male icons: the athlete, cowboy, blue collar men. The men in the book are modern interpretations and mixes of these male icons.
Seems like the attention has been growing for The Company of Men. How has that affected you being that this is unlike previous work? I think The Company of Men has been well received. I donʼt think these type of men have been photographed much before — especially these type of gay men. There are a lot of gay men that see themselves outside the mainstream. This work shows a different type of gay man outside the stereotype and these men see themselves in the photographs and identify with the work.
OK, these men are way hot. What about them do you think makes them appealing for viewers? Men are sexy to me when they are natural and real. They are not posing and trying to be something. It is essential that the subject is connected and present when I am photographing them. This connection translates to the viewer when they look at the photograph. Connection is what everyone desires. I think it is universal. If the subject is connected, open and available then it is “hot.” It is a subtle thing and I find it erotic.
Which of your subjects has gotten the most attention? I get asked all the time if I have a way to contact specific men in the book. Wolfgang, the man on the cover, gets a lot of attention.
Do you know how the book has affected any of their lives? I know the book has had a big effect on some men. I get messages and emails regularly thanking me for doing the book and how much guys relate to the photographs and what they represent. One man in his early 50s, who just came out, said he used the book to explain his gay identity to his family and friends. Another man, who is very religious and gay, told me how the book helped him with his struggle with conservative religious beliefs and his sexuality.
Which is easier, shooting celebs or regular people? There is usually less pressure when shooting “regular people” and fewer time constraints. Many of the men, from the book had not been photographed before. Celebrities have lots of experience in front of the camera. But I wanted the guys to be as natural possible, no posing. I am experienced with making people comfortable when shooting. Shooting this work was very relaxed and intimate; just the subject and and myself. Photographing is really the same regardless of who I am shooting. I use the same creative processes whenever I am working. Ultimately the goal is the same — to make great images.
What did you hope the impact of this book would be? Have you seen that? It was never my intention to have an impact or make a statement. I wanted to show a type of man and male beauty that I had not seen represented. The result have all happened organically. Yes, the work has affected people. It really validates the work when guys tell me how it effects them. This means the most to me.
Thoughts on coming to Dallas? Shooting any Dallas men? Some of the men in the book are from Dallas. I was in Dallas a few years ago specifically to shoot for the book. I think there is a large audience for the book there. Texas has a western tradition and I relate to that very much. I think the book is very American and has a Western sensibility. I am working on my next book now, I will be shooting several guys this trip. My goal is to publish the next book by Fall 2013.