Monday, February 4, 2013
The Sadist by Paul Morris
It was this series that first led me to the work of photographer Paul Morris. The images remains some of my favorites. I is not just because of the lighting and incredible poses and ways Paul captures the body, but also because of the the story Paul shared with them.
'I left the room---we'd been shooting for several hours and I was exhausted. When I came back he was squatting and pressing his face against the pole. He has immense power, yet he's 19. I looked at him and felt a complex reaction. Compassion for him, fear of him, anger at his power and his knowledge of it. The root of sadism is the ability to draw the masochist into a powerless state of adoration, of compassion. I realized that I would likely be able to worship this young vulnerable sadist. And I would be grateful for the opportunity.'
'He's 19. He was raised in the Bay Area, the oldest son of an upper-middle class family. I was immediately struck not only by how beautiful he is but also by how complex a presence he carries. You might think that after all these years, and these men, I'd be inured to male beauty. But in this man there was something deep underneath the surface. For a long while I had him move in simple, rote poses. I was keeping my distance. He's straight, but in his case this means something finessed, complex. His interests, he told me, are art, business and power. "Not necessarily in that order."
'In high school he was a star athlete. His favorite sport was pole vaulting. I had Trevor fetch a long pole. He laughed at it when he saw it.'
'Long into the shoot I finally said "You're very beautiful, you know." Almost impassively he responded, "I know. It makes me powerful. I use it to control men." I knew what he meant, but I asked anyway. "I allow men to worship me. I hurt them. I use them. They're insects."