I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE ON THE FACT THAT MOST CAPITAL CITIES ARE NOT THE MOST REPRESENTATIVE CITIES OF THEIR COUNTRIES. OFTEN THEY ARE ALMOST AN ENTIRE ECOSYSTEM ALL BY THEMSELVES. NEW YORK CITY IS NOT A CAPITAL CITY, BUT IT IS MOST LIKELY THE MOST INFLUENTIAL CITY OF THE WORLD. AND INDEED ALSO NOT A REAL REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE OF THE UNITED STATES. OR IS IT?
St. Augustine in the northeast section of Florida is officially the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the United States of America. New York City – or better said New Amsterdam - was only established 60 years after. Still this Dutch-British colony in the north of the continent soon became the most important city in the New World and has been that ever since. New York City is known to be the gateway to the New World, the escape door for many poor European citizen who so desperately made the dangerous crossing of the Atlantic in search for new hopes, new opportunities and new possibilities. Millions entered America through the portal on New York’s Ellis Island after having passed the impressive presence of the Statue of Liberty only minutes before, it endless stare and raised torch as a silent salut to those who made it. And thousands of those emigrants settled in New York City, either by choice or by circumstance. This is why New York has always been – and still is – the true representation of the United States of America. An energizing and dynamic melting pot of many different cultures.
Sam Devries was born in Israel but moved to the United States some years ago. Obviously Sam did not enter the USA through the Ellis Island portal. That has been out of use for centuries. Sam arrived by plane and settled first in Pittsburg before moving for a more permanent residence in New York City. In 2009 Sam made his first careful steps into the exciting world of modeling and, not in the least thanks to his middle-eastern looks and well toned body, enjoyed instant success within the circle of American male photographers. But Sam had other ambitions and aspired a career behind the camera instead of in front. He still models every now and then. He was for example one of the exciting men in Mark Henderson’s latest book Luminosity. But since about 2 years now we have also seen Sam’s qualities as photographer, and even though we regret seeing less from the handsome Sam himself, his fashion and artistic portraits of other male models more than make up for the loss.
Walking through New York you really get that sensation of being in the center of the world. It’s the culture, it’s the pace. It’s the fact that this city, indeed, never seems to be sleeping. But most of all it is the people who live here. This mix of different origins and backgrounds of people that now, almost 4 centuries after its establishment, has resulted in what almost seems to be a complete new kind of people: New Yorkers. Sam Devries, only recently living in this jungle of concrete and glass towers, has adapted himself in no time and is by all means a true New Yorker. And so are his men. The boys he carefully selects for his artistic portraits. Artfully set in black and white, Sam’s photographs seems to be a mirror image of the city itself. Grey tones with bright contrasts, featuring sculpted bodies that can only have come to existence through years of training, polishing and creativity. These are Sam Devries’ vision of the city he holds close to his heart. These are the a culture that has mixed and matured ever since the first colonists set foot in Manhattan. These are the real New York City boys. –BM-
BeautifulMag archive for Sam Devries: Dreaming of Sam | Play It Again, Sam | Sam Devries’ Last Days of Summer.
With special thanks to the Leslie Lohman Museum, New York.
SAM DEVRIES | BEAUTIFULMAG