Can one safely assume that a heady and explosive homoeroticism is going to be the inevitable outcome when young, virile men are subjected to the keen eye of a young gay photographer? Not necessarily.
Whilst one can not deny that the work of Russian photographer Andrei Vishnyakov certainly has elements of homoeroticism, what sets apart his work is that it recalls a different era. When I look at Andrei’s images I see very little Mapplethorpe, Pierre et Gilles or Bianchi influences here, but rather echoes of Physique Pictorial and Vim, the magazines from the early part of the 20th century when homoeroticism was veiled under the guise of health and fitness.
And there is a reason for this. Andrei’s models are not models at all: in fact many of them are sourced from fitness clubs, gyms and even street gangs. Prowess is key, testosterone is abundant and there’s just a hint of danger. There is a different type of frisson steeped in his images that comes from being held at arms length. You can look, but you can’t touch. It’s a tension that is wholly more exciting than the homoeroticism of full nudity or the bold statement of an erect phallus.
Read our Interview with Andrei Vishnyakov here.
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