Entering The Erotic World of Alec Scudder

I am reminded this morning of the character, Alec Scudder, from the EM Forester novel Maurice as I was writing the bio for one of my models, Lucas, for the new website. The novel was written in 1913 but not published until after Forester’s death in 1971. It’s the tale of homosexual love in early 20th Century England and follows a man, of some means, in Victorian times who falls in love with a young games keeper named Alec Scudder, who happens to climb into his window one night to fill a desire he only dare dreamed about. The book was then turned into a very remarkable film in 1987 by the team of Merchant-Ivory, with a very remarkable cast of actors including James Wilby, Hugh Grant and Rupert Graves as sexually alluring young Scudder. I remember this movie leaving quite an impression on me at the time I had seen it. I had been through my first relationship, which had left me utterly devastated and was trying to figure out my life. I had moved back to Montana after a year in Dallas, working road construction with my father. Though I had the desire to still be with men, I was not really sure it was quite where I belonged. I dated some women, and found sex with them mind-boggling fantastic, but I still had this erotic attraction toward the naked male and for about a year or so I lived in a strange world of duality of confusion and perplexity. Then I saw the movie Maurice and it suddenly brought into sharp focus for me that struggle I had been dealing with. Maurice is the central character of the story, who deals with his own struggle, trying to ignore his hidden and forbidden desire for male love. At one point he goes to a doctor who tries to banish the desires from his mind through hypnosis. But it is something he can’t completely ignore. Then one night the young ruffian Scudder climbs through his bedroom window to ignite that passion. They make love and the rest of the story is about them trying to reconcile their social difference what to do about the Pandora’s Box they have just opened.
The image of Alec Scudder was what played most heavy on my mind. In a sense I instantly recognized myself within this character. I, being a bit of a bohemian ruffian myself, came from small family cattle ranch in Montana, not surviving well in the city. I was not very well educated and had to drop out of college because I found it too challenging and had nearly failed my first year. But I was sexually possessed by my seemingly uncontrollable raw desire. I really had no means and though I worked construction still seem to drift without really being able to settle any particular place. The image of crawling through a wealthy man’s window and finding desire was quite romantic and appealing as I began to question if someone would actually love me for just being myself. I felt out of context, as if I had no place where I really seemed to belong.

When I first met Ian, he reminded me of all this, it was like stepping back to revisit a reflection in the mirror of what I had once been. I was immediately drawn to him as my dark past flickered in my memory and I instantly knew I had to capture the essence of those feelings of my youth. I had access to an opulently furnished Victorian house for which I had been the grounds keeper, so I took him into that environment. Though it wasn’t his sort of place, he just naturally fit. We spent an entire day shooting nudes of him with just the natural light from the window, every image becoming a precious moment locked in time that defied both of us, exploring the erotic world of Alec Scudder.