Category Archives: Gay

Gay issues or themes

It’s My Turn

The journey seems to continue deeper within myself as this last month I have begun connecting to the community that surrounds me and working with some very astonishing people. I miss the daily blog of coming to this page each day, part of what I have been working on it making to old blog more accessible from different points. I am about 2/3rd of the way through creating galleries of the images month by month. It is amazing to see how much was there and is stirring much emotion, still. There seems to be about 500 people per day still access the two blogs, the original and the new site and I feel it’s becoming something important and worth the time I spend on expanding it’s accessibility.

Part of the month I was going through a phase of questioning the validity of the project and what I was doing, thinking that perhaps these thoughts and images are to remain private. My father has been reading it and expresses concerns about me. He says I am a very strong writer, but I think this is the first time I have really let him in my world. I am somehow glad that he wants to enter in and see what I have become. My relationship with him is important to me and a stronger connection is what I need with him at this stage in my life.

I have been spending more time getting out and meeting new people in my community. Last week I photographed several members of the Imperial Sovereign Court of Montana (royal order of drag impersonators) getting ready for and images of their pageant. I posted them on my Facebook and they were stunning and enlightening. It gave me a stronger bond to my own community that surrounds me and gives me a greater sense of place and home here in Montana. I have also been out meeting, having coffee, and lunch with other members around me. Last night I went out, for a charity show and I finally met Soul Seeker, one of the guys whose manhunt profiles intrigued me into writing a blog about internet cruising sites. It was an amazing moment of coming to flesh of someone who had captivated and inspired me and see the extraordinary intrigue in his eyes, as he seems genuinely pleased to meet me as well. We are so lucky in many ways that we have such an amazing group of people that surround us. Many of us are from Montana, there seems to be such a healthy strength everywhere I look. Most everyone is aware of my project and what I have created and there is a certain pride about it that touches many of them. The project in that sense has become a reflection of my time and era as so many others are also relating to my process.

It seems everything I touch now is about me and I see the world that surround me from a new perspective; unique, unusual, quirky, marvelous. I am finding great delight everywhere I turn my camera. Though the last month has mostly been about me I have been bringing new subjects into the studio and am shooting most everyday. The explorations have been deeper and more personal then I have ever been. There is a truth and honesty others want to share with me and they allow me into vulnerable places. It’s still an explorations and I am not sure if these images will be for exhibition because they seem more raw, I feel more raw, more exposed then ever. Somehow the process of getting to work out there now seems less important then the actually process of creation. It becomes more about who I am, how I have lived my life, and having connected to something beyond what I ever imagined possible.

The Fatal Effects of a False Perception

Is there still a perception that sex with another man is a smoldering gun or have we grown beyond that?  Today is world AIDS Days and being a gay man who has lived and loved his entire adult live throughout the epidemic, it has had the greatest impact on my sexual life.  I first came out and began exploring my sexuality before anyone ever heard the words HIV or AIDS.  We thought living in a rural area like Montana we were pretty much immune from it hitting us here and that we were safe.  But looking back over the years and seeing that most of the members of the community I first grew up in, were lost somehow during the course of it’s rampage.  People began to just disappear, into a seemingly shameful, unspoken oblivion, from which they never returned, no information or details available. I remember how sex suddenly become a danger zone that no one was talking about and something everyone just tip-toed around.  Much of the community was still having sex, yet denying there was much danger in it.  Heck, even the government wasn´t acknowledging that it was a national crisis until it got completely out of control.  The Regan Administration never uttered a word for months and months even with the fact that thousands of people were dying in the major metropolitan areas like New York or San Francisco.  It was not until Clinton’s Administration in the 90’s when a young kid named Ryan White who had been infected by a blood transfusion  went to the White House and the then passed the Ryan White Act, that it became a clear message that it was not just a gay virus and awareness and prevention needed to be supported.  I remember it was a very bitter time in our community and we became consumed with remorse and resentment.

Would we have heeded the warnings earlier if we had known?  Would it have changed our behaviors?  It’s still hard to tell, we as a culture had just gained our sexual liberation.  With all the awareness today do people still heed the warnings?  I am still not sure anymore.  It almost feels like the pervasive attitude, especially since the anti-viral drugs have came out to make the virus more manageable, that it doesn’t seem to still be a threat.  It seems the rates of infection are still rising.

I became an advocate early on and spent a great part of my life involved in the political shadow of its wake.  While I was a student at the University, I produced and directed a film for the University that became a campaign across campus.  I became a member of the Governor’s Advisory team, and a member of all the regional, state and community based groups and organizations to promote its awareness and several years ago was given a Governor’s Award in recognition for the work I had given over the years.  In the beginning I became consumed by my efforts and in the end it consumed me and I was bitten by the community accusing me of conflict of interest by having my hand in too many pieces of the pie.  And eventually I was back stabbed and ridiculed by the very community I was trying to support.  For my own sanity, I had to eventually walk away to regain my life, and now use my energy to reach out to those most in need or struggling.  Throughout my life AIDS has been a painful road to wander as a gay man.  There is still a lot of fear, doubt and anxiety that surrounds it.  After all these years it still remains hidden and unmentionable, at least in Montana.  Though the leaders of the past who remember the struggle are fading, who is present to still sound the alarm?  It remains one of the areas that still divides our community and I know the organization who receives the funding to support the community as leaders and who should be the ones looked to and trusted have been the ones through gossip and the release of supposedly confidential information to hurt the community the most, especially those infected.  There is no longer a trust or respect as dignity has been compromised and a devastating shock wave has rippled through our small peaceful community, creating more internalized discrimination and fear than education and or awareness.  People are even more afraid then every to be tested and a fear we all felt in the beginning still exists, maybe even more so, 20 years later.

I am an artist and I still support my community however I can but it is all still a painful reminder that haunts the very core of my existence.


There was a time in the 50’s when young men arriving in Los Angles seeking fortune and fame in the film industry were recruited by photographers to be photographed nude or nearly nude for companies like Athletic Model Guild to showcase these young guy’s bodies in the hopes of hiring them for work.  It seemed harmless at the time, and the photographs grew into such publications as the Physique Magazine that were adored by a complete male culture as a means of becoming healthy and strong.   I recently watched a movie called Beefcake that documented the rise of fall of one particular photographer named Bob Mizer who was eventually brought down and indicted on a charge steaming from a prostitution sting.   Looking back at his images they are spectacular, well conceived, well photographed images of beautiful fit young men in the prime of their lives.  Many of them becoming classic works of art that have become highly collectable today, with prices ranging to $400 to $1000 plus for a standard 8×10.  During that era the post office began to shut down such distribution of these images as being lewd and lascivious.  Many of the photographers of this era’s images and negatives were confiscated by the courts and destroyed.  Mizer went to elaborate lengths to refine and define this style of imagery that was by nature erotic and arousing for much of the culture and was yet socially acceptable by the general public at large.  It became a cultural phenomenon to see near naked men exposed in such ways.  This was of course before my time so I was never really exposed to such things.  But I do member as a kid seeing the puny weakling on the beach having sand kicked to his face and wanting to become more masculine and strong and the beautiful Adonis you would become and who would be adored by everyone if you subscribed to this sort of ad.  I am not even sure what the product was then.  I had never really paid much attention to this sort of photography, but now I see the influence it has on my own work and style.  Mizer was a man of vision who worshiped and paid such adoring homage to it.  He opened his house to lost wayward boys, giving them a sense of dignity and respect.  Paid them small sums for posing and gave them a place to stay.  Many of them hustled on the side and took advantage of his generosity.  But to look back, his artistic vision was astonishing and at the time may have felt or seemed worthless but inspired countless others to pursue the art of men naked.  In the end he lost everything and become labeled as a pornographer, but for one fleeting time in our history defined a new adoration of oneself, with dignity and respect becoming a beacon and icon for others to follow.  The film Beefcake by Thom Fitzgerald is a delightful film to watch unfold.  It is filled with actual images and footage of this era and style, and yes contains lots of nudity mixed with live interviews from some of the models from that time and their perceptions of themselves and how they viewed culturally what was happening.  I recently had ordered a book put together by Reed Massengill called Uncovered: Rare Vintage Male Nudes that pays homage to many of these artists, images lost but suddenly recovered.  I have been looking at it with a new found adoration for those who have paved our way in this modern era.

When Did Porn Become So Homogenized?

Last night a group of us where sitting around the bar at the studio looking at some old vintage porn magazines and remarking at how erotic and sexually enticing this type of imagery used to be. What I mean by vintage is 80’s magazines like Men and Playgirl and the likes of that. In these images the guys are not your perfect well-defined bodies like what we see today, but where average guys seem to have a presence and actually looked like they were completely enjoying exposing themselves which I think added a level of accessibility to indulge the fantasy. These were guys you could possibly pick up on the streets or could even have been your neighbor next door, for a place like Montana. I once had a friend who worked in the business say there are three major things that qualify you for porn, one is good looks and a connection with the eyes, second was a good body that we would want to hold next to us, and the third was having a big dick which would satisfy the sexual portion of the illusion. He would say a person would need two out of these three qualities to make it in the industry and the combination could go either way. In modern porn it feels like we are often verging on actually containing just one of elements whereas in the vintage 80’s porn every single model seem to possess all three, page after page, after page, after page… The photography was sensational, most featured models would begin with a page with them dressed and somehow placed in their everyday environment. On a horse, in their back yard, a construction site, an actual garage. Great detail was placed on making these subjects normal and the photographers of this era paid great attention to the detail of the light and environment. Many of the images were actually quite a bit sexier with their cloths on than without them on. It was fantastic, the more I looked the more I began to realize that it was actually this type of photography that drew me into photographing these sorts of images from the beginning. There was a time when the great male photographers like Bruce Weber and Steven Underhill brought there level of expertise to this media rising porn to a artistic level and the photographers became an important part of the illusion. To hell with art, I just wanted to indulge my desire and live the fantasy of my dream centerfold for May, and there where enough in each magazine that I could have one for each week until the next publication came out. So what has happened with this beautiful world of tantalizing and teasing of most carnal need? It seemed to begin disappearing long before the Internet become popular. Was there just an over explosion in the industry and a shortage of models and extraordinary photographers? Did the industry decided to cut cost in order to produce quantity? How is it that the thing that becomes so enduring to all of us becomes so depersonalized without any sort of interest to wrangle us with its seductive enticing power? This is the industry that makes more than probably any other industry in the world, so as the price escalates on what we pay for why doesn’t the quality escalate? Wouldn’t they have more money to spend on upgrading the quality? Perhaps I am just a romantic at heart, I do like my sex dirty, but I still what to believe in the world of erotic fantasy. The Internet is paved with lots of dick; perhaps after a while it all begins to look the same but I still want to dream and live in a world where people are human, where I can shake their hand and have a conversation, and be pulled in by their mystical seduction.

Did I miss the streetcar named Desire?

Last night I crossed over into a strange delirium of geekdom as I had visions of naked men dancing in my head and my sexual desire crossed into a strange cyber lala land that wasn’t of men with huge penises and small tight butts, but where people were ordinary and a beauty was recognized from within. I have a kid I work with at UPS, who is a total cyber geek, whom I completely adore and I now feel like I have crossed into his dimension of existence, and I have a greater understanding of where he’s coming from. Some friends had invited me out to a drag show and when I got off work last night, I sat at my computer and was suddenly sucked in. But, it all began to click last night, instead of fighting technology I was suddenly a part of it and things where suddenly happening. Oddly enough I didn’t work too late, but had added some major elements to the project that seemed effortless. I looked up and it was only 11:00 pm and I was shocked. Normally it has been 2 or 3 in the morning. I realized the web site had past the tipping point and had crossed to the other side as I shut it down and walked away.

I took the kitties for a nice long walk under the beautiful starry sky, feeling the warmth from the day still in the air as my mind and body become overwhelmed with a great sense of satisfaction. I went to bed early and as I lay there, I laughed at how much I have changed this year and how far I have come and how I have crossed over into a side of myself that I have not felt in a decade. Sex used to make me feel this great. It seems when I hit my forties, the sexual side of myself had begun to shut down. I know guys my age who are still totally engaging in sex, all the time. Why has it all shut off for me? Mostly I think because I had the most ruckus youth and lived that prime to its fullest. I was mostly ruled by my dick from the mid twenties to those forties. I stayed in a long unhealthy relationship for almost eight years because the sex was so extraordinary, and then it took two years to get away from it because we were still having sex even after we separated. Everything became about sex and having sex, so I definitely get it.

Mapplethorpe photographed the people he had sex with and you can often see that personal connection to those subjects and their trust to allow him into places that would otherwise be forbidden. I somehow wished I had found Mapplethorpe earlier and gotten into photography during the prime of my sexual desire and could have recorded all I have experienced. Now as an older man I can only vicariously live that through my imagery and the experiences I write about. It’s like now I am on a different kind of ride, equally as exciting and intoxicating. But it feels like the last 10 years I somehow got off the streetcar at the wrong stop and ended up in a different and strange new place. The past ten years, psychologically, felt as if I had been spiraling into an unknown oblivion finally reaching the bottom at the beginning of this year as I hit the pit of despair witnessing the passing of my prime moving into middle age, rapidly approaching fifty.

Today I stand on the rampart of something extraordinary. Yet it’s an extraordinariness that I have always known and somehow felt was present. Perhaps it is all the sex, fear, anxiety, insecurities and anger that masks and keeps the true nature of our selves hidden so we can’t see it. And I have to question this morning where would I be today if perhaps I had not made this leap and come on the journey of this year. My desire has changed and so have I. I take delight in that thought and that maybe that streetcar, though still functional, just transports us to new neighborhoods, perhaps we just need to get off and explore.