WHILE SOCIETY HAS ALWAYS APPROVED OF THE NUDE AROUSED FEMALE IMAGE IN ART, FILM AND PRINT IT HAS CLASSIFIED THE AROUSED MALE IMAGE AS PORNOGRAPHY. WHEN HE WAS STUDYING FIGURE DRAWING AT THE UNIVERSITY, ONE OF JOHN CLUM’S INSTRUCTORS ADVISED HIM HE WAS WALKING A FINE LINE IN HIS REPRESENTATION OF THE MALE FIGURE. AS FAR AS SOCIETY GOES, HE WAS RIGHT. BUT THEN JOHN REALIZED THAT AS FAR AS SOCIETY GOES, HE WAS ALREADY WALKING A FINE LINE BY BEING A GAY MAN.
The Table Rock Refuge is a 31 acre wooded, private park-like setting. Off in the woods there is a log cabin that overlooks a 2 acre pond with a dock. The place is totally private, secluded and peaceful. It is a place were you can just sit and clear your head, feeling in harmony with the space and freedom of the surrounding of Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains. It is also home for painter and photographer John M Clum who has his house and studio here. This is where he find his inspiration. This is where he creates his art.
There was a time, not so long ago, when models could sit for the hours or even the days it requires to make a drawing or painting. But nowadays modern lifestyle makes it next to impossible for a model to give so much time. Painter in heart and soul, John M Clum found a way to deal with this by starting to use a camera as sketch and idea book for different poses and lighting conditions. And so, by taking photos of models to be used as reference for future drawings and paintings, John started to appreciate more and more the art of photography. The camera became his canvas, pixels his medium and the mouse his brush. And it wasn’t for long that photography started to take on a life of its own.
John M Clum sees life as a series of visual observations. He choose to draw in order to document those observations. What begins as a touch of graphite on paper or paint on a canvas has become a sensual exchange in communication for John. And know he has mastered the language of digital photography, making his experiences even richer than they already were with the craftsmanship of painting and drawing. “I approach photographing a model like I was painting a portrait,” John explains. “Instead of trying to force the model into a predetermined roll, I look for the unique physical features and manifestation of the individual personality in front of me. I play with light as if I were dabbing paint highlights on a figure being painted on canvas. While capturing images of the model, I often visualize the final edit as I release the shutter, seeing the story in the moment, whether it is imagined or real.”
In his studio, located at Table Rock Refuge, surrounded by the majestic beautify of the Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, John M Clum photographs like he paints and paints like he photographs. And his subjects are still the same as what he set out to do while he was still studying art. John produces images of men that span body structure, form, frailty, infirmity, strength, power, beauty, arousal and the exotic or any combination thereof. He has found a perfect balance between the two media, and by doing so he walks another fine line. The one between the two artistic disciplines that have become one in John’s creations. –BM-
John M Cum’s work can be visited on his Fine Line Fine Art website, as well as his Male Model Place and his Model Mayhem profile page.
Models featured in this article are: Billy | Brock | Dan | David | Gary | Ilya | Joe | Mark | Max | Ryan. Ilya poses in 'Poseidon'. Max poses in 'Petrified'.
JOHN M CLUM | BEAUTIFULMAG