Saturday, October 10, 2015

Playgirl Desires : Matt York by Peek Physique


'It is because of Matt that I can say I once photographed a Playgirl model...well actually more than once.'


Today, photographers of the male form have so many options when it comes to sharing their work. The Internet has allowed artists to share their imagery on sites and blogs, on-line photo albums, Model Mayhem and sites like Blurb which help artists creates books and to sell their product. Of course this isn't guarantee they will make any money.... In addition to providing opportunity to share their work, the net also means the field is incredibly crowded.


Maybe more than anything, the Internet makes it so easy to 'right click' and save any image you covet, selling an actual paper product; books, prints, posters or calendars is even more difficult. Before the Internet though, it was those final images printed out on paper that were the only way to showcase, share and sell an image. In the seventies, eighties and early nineties, books and magazines featuring the male form were the only way many could enjoy imagery of naked men.


Most of us, especially those who grew up hiding our natural urges, have memories of finding, ordering by mail, nervously buying and even stealing books and magazines. Without a doubt, one of the most well known sources for images of the male form, and socially acceptable and easily available for that matter was Playgirl Magazine.


I have written several times of my childhood experiences with Playgirl magazine. Sneaking into the bedroom of the parents of a good friend to flip through an issue, stealing from my aunt and hiding one under a Sports Illustrated and nervously walking to the cash register to buy it, waiting for the store to be deserted and hoping the person behind the counter would not look me in the eye. As much as lovers of the male form desired a source to view it, photographers also desired a avenue to share their work. For many at the time, Playgirl was the best way to gain exposure and obtain a large, nation wide audience for their work.


One of those photographers wanting to see his work in Playgirl was Peek Physique's Tom Willard. I love featuring Tom's work and my piece, with his images of Sean, (The Basics Bared) was one of the summers most popular posts. Thanks to Matt York however, he can say he once worked with a Playgirl model. Tom and Matt first shot back in October 1999. I will be sharing work from their later shoots soon, but it is the 1999 shoot, that I am featuring here. Tom was coming out of a long hiatus from shooting the male nude and Matt was just getting started. 'Matt came over to my tiny studio and we did a shoot in B&W film. Two months later he invited me to his home and we did another shoot, this time in color. I brought some lighting but we also used natural light. This has been the hallmark of my work over the years, natural settings and lightings, nothing fancy or contrived.'


'In a small and conservative town like Rochester, N.Y., it can be hard to find good male nude models. At that point I was used to models who wouldn't even take off their underwear, so to have Matt waving his boner all around while I photographed him was a new and memorable experience. I don't know if this was before or after he did Playgirl, but I could tell that I was dealing with a different class of model here, and I liked it.'



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