The early parts of my life were spent doing everything possible to not be different. I sought sameness. In favor of fitting in with the crowd, I shelved my own ideas, dreams, and desires. But they would not be denied. I began to discover myself through photographers creating work that broke photography rules – nonprecious, homonormativity, sexually explorative – and generally against the norm. I found inspiration in the works of Juergen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans, Bruce LaBruce, Ryan McGinley to name a few. Through them, I saw images that reflected the very same ideas and dreams I had shelved away. I saw outsiders like me. And I saw that being one was not only wonderful, it provided a means of escape. I did not start taking pictures to be a photographer, but I keep taking them to feel the kinship I share with other outsiders.
Gay porn has been my longest-serving inspiration. It was in porn that I saw men unapologetically engaged in sexual acts for the first time. The sex symbols of that era have greatly influenced the way I photograph men. In contrast to the slick and sanitized stars of the 90’s, men who appeared in the films of the 80’s seemed to possess a greater sense of authenticity and rawness. It is this quality that I try to infuse my images with. My work is often rooted in sexual iconography – but the power is in the subject.
Photos: Christopher Sherman | Instagram
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