WHEN KING DAVID OF ISRAEL FELT HIS END WAS NEARING HE CALLED UPON HIS SON AND LEFT HIM WITH ONE MESSAGE: BE STRONG, BE A MAN. ALMOST 1,000 YEARS LATER, ROMAN PHILOSOPHER CICERO STATED THAT A MAN’S CHIEF QUALITY IS HIS COURAGE. FOR CENTURIES MEN WERE EXPECTED TO LIVE UP TO STANDARDS AS STRENGTH AND DOMINANCE TO PROOF THEIR VIRILITY. AND ALL THAT HAS LEAD TO A FORM OF MALE BEHAVIOR AND PHYSIQUE PERFECTION THAT CAN BE DESCRIBED WITH ONE WORD ONLY. MASCULINITY.
Depending on whether you are gay or straight, man or woman, the meaning of masculinity can differ. For women masculinity is associated with virility. For straight men it stands for comradery, integrity and strength. And for gay men, masculinity is often the word that stirs desire and excitement. No matter how you look upon masculinity, there is one commonality. It stands for physical strength and perfection. The beauty of the male body is undisputed.
Being a passionate swimmer himself, photographer Michael Stokes knows as no other what this sport does for your body. Regular sessions in a pool can shape your body to a landscape of lean and strong muscles. With an eye for male beauty, Michael Stokes has been shooting many men that answer to the ideal of masculinity. Strong built, muscular men with intense looks in their well-shaped faces. Over the past 2 years, Michael has shot and collected many of them in different situations and sceneries. And all that is now ready to be compiled in one large volume that will be the personification of what masculinity means.
Quentin Elias. Vince Ramon, Jamie Dominic. Jared Brown. Daniel Sobieray. They all have things in common. First, they are all stunningly built young men who are not shy to share their perfect bodies with the rest of the world. Second, they all are well sought after male models and have worked with Michael Stokes on his monogram project Masculinity. Michael has been shooting in Paris, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and selected over 140 images from more then 30 models that eventually will become his testimony of today’s masculinity. Not only are the men mouthwatering to look at, Michael has also created visions of that typical male that makes your loins stir. Set in dramatic scenes, Michael envisions his idea of masculinity as young soldiers, athletes and thugs. The illusion is complete and enough to make your testosterone running.
Currently in negotiation with his publisher, Michael Stokes hopes to deliver his dream of masculinity by fall of this year. The idea is a to release a stunning photo book containing both black and white and full color images that all speak for themselves. To see all these gorgeous men together we need to practice a little patience. But already Michael’s photography can be admired in and on Bruno Gmunder’s October 2011 publication TurnOn: Sports and the soon to be published following volume TurnOn: Muscles. –BM-
MICHAEL STOKES | BEAUTIFULMAG