“THIS IS MY PLACE… NOW IT’S YOUR PLACE TOO. SUSPICIONS. SITUATIONS…” “WHERE DO YOU LIVE?” “HERE.” “HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN HERE?’ “I DON’T REMEMBER.” “AND YOUR NAME?” “I LOST IT.” “WHOA...” “IT’S OKAY, I GOT USE TO IT. YOU WILL, TOO. “YOU’LL SEE. ITS NOT SO BAD. THERE IS LOTS TO SEE... LOST IN THE WOODS.”
“MY WHAT BIG TEETH YOU HAVE!”
“THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH MY DEAR!”
During the age in which most art presents the body as a visual mode of objectification and suffering, it is not surprising to find that many viewers do not know how to respond to Justin Monroe and his work. Is he being completely ironic or could his work be concealing more critical intentions? Perhaps it just all adds up to high camp silliness with its relentless focus on surface beauty and decoration. Or maybe his is the holdout from some distant dream state, intent on capturing the sublime beauty and complexity of the human form and holding it up for the world's inspection. No matter what, Justin Monroe stands guarantee for mind-blowing art that leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew.
There is a place deep in your mind, where many don’t dare to go. Don’t dare because they are afraid what they might find. What they might unleash. Here, in the Dark Forest of our imagination, your wildest dreams and most horrific nightmares live. This is where you give life to them, challenge them, make them come out knowing that once set free it might not be so easy to restrain them again. And maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe these creatures of fantasy make everything worthwhile.
Always diving into erotic fantasy headfirst photographer Justin Monroe has created these dark little treats specifically for BeautifulMag. Justin’s images have such a signature look it truly takes a bite out of erotic photography. It’s like going into a Dark Forest and seeing all its inhabitants. Black Swans and Dirty Bunnies and the kings that rule the forest. Justin’s work is always amusing and always a trip to somewhere. We recently asked him what he thinks about going into a shoot and what comes first the chicken or the egg. Do you have a concept and pick the model or do you see a model and say I think he would make a handsome prince? Justin’s reply was this. “Both! But generally I pick my subject because they interest me as a human being and then the character comes from truly getting to know them on a personal level.”
Justin Monroe’s Dark Forest is where his real-life subjects find their alter ego. The Dark Forest is the place where Justin creates his visions, his reflections of the men he works with, based on their personalities and physical assets. This is where he lets his mind run free: “If your a pig like Adam Killian then your a pig in my Dark Forest. And Adam Lion as the strong man. And Dark Bunny (nude football star) who is a powerhouse of a man so when I shoot him I think of confidence. Stefan Pinto becomes a tattooed bearded sailor but also an evil king because of his dark good looks. And of course Sergio Xtasy lives in my Forest, because of his princely bunny but.”
One of the apparitions of Justin Monroe’s Dark Forest is a black swan, a character based on the personality of Shawn Alexander. “When I met Shawn Alexander I was so taken by his quiet beauty I said on day I’m going to make him a Black Swan,” Justin says. “He is my muse currently. His body and beauty and personality are breath-taking. You will be seeing him on a BeautifulMag cover very soon.” Justin Monroe’s Dark Forest is all about having fun and finding what lives inside his models, or inside himself. But one other reason why his Dark Forest portraits are so strong is that when Justin creates a character, his models feel completely free to let themselves go. Justin has been shooting for almost 20 years and he has done a lot of mainstream, fashion and music artist photography. When it comes to his homoerotic work it is all about fantasy and enjoyment. About taking us out of our everyday life and taking a tour in that Dark Forest. –BM-
JUSTIN MONROE | BEAUTIFULMAG