LOOKING BACK IN HISTORY IT IS ALWAYS AMAZING TO SEE HOW OUR LOOKS ARE CHANGING THROUGH TIME. AND IT SEEMS THAT DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY THESE EVOLUTIONS ONLY ACCELERATED. JUST LOOK AT THE WAY WE DRESSED IN THE LAST FIVE DECENNIA OF LAST CENTURY. ALL DECADES WITH THEIR OWN, SPECIFIC LOOK AND FEEL. CHANGING AT A PACE THAT IS DAZZLING. BUT ALSO DIFFICULT TO KEEP UP. AND IT SEEMS THAT DURING THE 1990’S AND EARLY 21ST CENTURY THE GENERAL LOOK EVOLUTIONS STARTD TO SLOW DOWN.
Conservative but sexy in an innocent way, colorful and rebellious influenced by a new found freedom, glamorous and shocking, androgyne or über-sexually wild. We went through it all in during the past 60 to 70 years and it seems that, in comparison to time before that, the changes in lifestyle and the way we expressed ourselves, went more and more rapid. But all that seems to have come to a halt and made place for a very different movement. The 21st century came with a new found individualism. Maybe it is the result of the overcrowdedness of our cities we are dealing with these days. Maybe of the more conscious awareness of other cultures and mentalities in our world. Or more likely a combination of the two. What ever it was that initiated it, it seems that we feel more and more the need to identify our own personal look and stand out from the crowd. If 60 years ago you could easily tell what someone did in life by the way they were dressed, these days it seems harder to identify a persons place in society just by the way he or she looks.
Stephen J. Williams, photographer of the Picturethis-studios is a master when it comes to creating specific settings for the models he selects. In fact, it seems the way he does select his men. Stephen has that ability to meet a guy and form an impression in his head that places the person in a specific light. When he met Thomas Nunn, he could only describe him as a guy with a strong, naturally retrospective look about him. It came as quite a surprise to Stephen when he found out Thomas actually works in computer programming. It was not at all the image he gave with his looks. It was that contrast that made Stephen realize he just encountered a great photographic potential. The contrast of a modern day man with a individual vintage inspired look that, with just a little bit of help from himself, could turn out to be an unique portrait series.
Not only the way we dressed has changed over the years, also the way we think. What was once taboo and not done is now accepted or easier to access. Male nude photography, though not completely accepted yet, was not even a possibility in the 1950’s, although some liberal photographer did start to play with the concept. When Stephen J. Williams met Thomas Nunn, the idea of attributing those pioneers of the male nude photography started to form in his head. Once again he turned to the look and feel of the big movie studio publicity shots from the past for inspiration, and by mixing Thomas’ contemporary look with a retro treatment of the images he strived to emphasize that era even more: “On the day of the shoot I tried to build a set around Thomas that was in keeping with his strong 1950’s style. With intentional observation of the classic, almost gothic lighting of the time, this series of images is also meant to be something of a tribute to the early pioneers of male nude photography, who worked within a genre that was the last great taboo in photography, often having to find subtle and artistic ways in which to hide from full view the models genitals in their work.” Completely as ease in front of the camera, even though it was his first time, Thomas completely lived the moment and after settling comfortably in his role, even went as far as stripping down completely. And thus the homage to those pioneers as well as our new found individuality is complete. –BM-
STEPHEN J. WILLIAMS | BEAUTIFULMAG