As a fine art photographer, I noticed two things about the commercial development of Boudoir photography. First, the photos displayed mostly women in lingerie and at times are (at least implied) even nude. Secondly, I noticed the tone these photos manifest to the viewer; they are very sensual, and heavily rely on implications, rather than explicitly showing things to viewers - these aspects are what inspired me to create this series. These images are far from the stereotypical macho image of manhood. In contrast, Dudeoir bodyscapes are sensitive, sensual abstractions describing the male body as tender and show that beauty is not specifically a feminine attribute. While this series is inspired by boudoir photography, it is not a series that depicts men in traditional boudoir fashion.
This series evolved over time; while Dudeoir evokes sensuality in men, it also displays other ways sensuality can be shown beyond the boundaries of traditional Boudoir photography. This came about by abstracting the body more and applying materials like water and oils onto the skin. Color also ended up playing a role, and in turn, created a completely different entity conveyed in the muted and black-and-white imagery.
This project was a challenge for me since I am a straight Latino male and typically other people would find it odd that a straight man is taking nude pictures of men. This became apparent during the development of this project when my own professors assumed I was gay. During a critique, they would ponder if this project was my “queer perspective” on the sensuality of the male body; one of them went so far as saying “if your intent is to show us what turns you on, just say it.” This massive assumption from those that were supposed to guide me showed me something very important about this project: the artist behind this work is an important part of the art’s message.
The purpose of this project is not to show “what turns me on” (since it does not), but rather to approach a bigger picture of what boudoir achieves with women. It is meant to approach the male nude in a sensual way, just as boudoir does. I do this by projecting my perspective on what I believe would look attractive to those attracted to men, regardless of gender. It sounds complicated but think of it like this; I went to a nightclub with a friend once, and we both got together to help each other choose our outfits, we worked together to figure out what we think would look most attractive to those we wish to impress. I am simply predicting - guessing what attributes each model has that can evoke that sense of sensuality within those attracted to the male body.
I never planned for this to be about being a member of the LGBTQ+ community; I am not, therefore I cannot be a voice for them. I will not dispute the important remarks made about their representation, they are important, but I would like to emphasize the issue of assuming that I was. I am here to break the norm and say that it is ok for men to appreciate other men’s bodies without giving them a label. In the end, there is beauty in us all, and Dudeoir is meant to celebrate just that, in a manner inspired by boudoir photography, and captured from the perspective of a straight Latino man.