Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Who's Your Daddy...

Toronto, London, young and innocent, fetish, exhibitionists, sensuality are just some of the words to describe the 'edgy' yet emotive photos taken by Toronto-based photographer Anton Russ, and I had the great pleasure to brings you this interview with the man behind the lens.

So tell us a little bit about Anton Russ?
I'm a prop/fetish gear obsessed photographer, my passion is shooting guys 20-30 years of age and getting them to be total exhibitionists living out their ideal fantasy although most of them look very innocent when we first meet up. Over the past decade I've learned you should be able to shoot anywhere at anytime with just a camera, no stylist, no elaborate lighting, no make up and still create 'edgy' exciting images.

You are a Toronto-based photographer but shoot your photos in London several times a year. Why's that? What's so great about London that you can't have in Toronto?
I LOVE London! Over the past 2 decades I've probably been to London no fewer than 50 times and every single visit is an extraordinary new experience and there are not many cities in the world you can say that about. London attracts hip young 'dynamic' adventure seekers from around the planet and that is what makes it one of the greatest cities in the world. I can say that with conviction having spent time working and visiting dozens of great cities in North America, South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Toronto is a great city to be based in but still quite provincial and conservative.

How long have you been a photographer? And how long have you been a male erotic photographer?
I got my first Nikon about 35 years ago as a teenager but didn't start shooting erotica until about 15 years ago. I've never actually made my living shooting but have been self-employed as a creative director most of my career.

What or who got you started in male erotic photography?
My lover and I were on vacation in the Caribbean for several weeks and a friend of ours (a banker) was joining us for a long weekend. Over dinner one evening he mentioned he wanted to audition for a porn movie and was hoping I could shoot a couple of rolls of film so he could have some pics that he could submit. Although I had shot architecture and interiors for almost 2 decades, I never got into shooting people or portraits. We spent an afternoon on the beach and got results that shocked and thrilled me and it was all great fun! The rest is history with more than 150 models in front of me.

What is all the fuss about young men who wanna flaunt their sensuality?
The internet has changed the face of exhibitionism radically and dramatically in the past decade. It has become ubiquitous. If you are under 30 you view it as indispensable to your life! This first generation of computer literate teens and 20-somethings all think they are photographers! Their lives are about creating and sharing text, images and videos in online discussions, blogs and podcasts. Inevitably there's going to be a great deal of flaunting of sensuality and sexuality as a result of this regardless of where you reside in the world. We are now seamlessly connected and want our Facebook page to reflect that global connectivity.

A photographer who inspires you?
I attribute my passion for photography to pioneers of sensuality, George Platt Lynes, Herb Ritts, Robert Mapplethorpe, Herbert List, Joel Peter Witkin, Danny Lyon and Yousuf Karsh to name but a few.

An embarrassing/naughty story during a photo shoot?
There was this cute guy-next-door type in his 20's who exchanged weekly emails with me for months, always canceling the shoot the day before. After this had dragged on for a while and he had canceled easily 6 or 7 times, I told him I was no longer interested in getting together. About 3 weeks later, he begged me to shoot him on the upcoming weekend. Much to my shock he didn't cancel. When he showed up at the studio he was very much an A&F looking guy (even more attractive than the pics he had emailed) and I was certain we could create some great pics. Less that 5 minutes after arriving he took off his button down shirt and he paraded his fantastic chest with 2 HUGE (I'm talking the size of 2" cockrings) doorknockers hanging from his magnificent pierced nipples. I was actually a bit awe struck! We continued chatting about direction and how far he wanted to push the pics, and less than 2 minutes later he turned to me and said he had made a BIG mistake and had changed his mind and couldn't proceed with the shoot and walked out the door carrying his shirt with him. Never heard from him again.

Turned on (by the sexy model) during a photo shoot?
Absolutely! I think some of my best work resulted from the reality of finding the model HOT HOT HOT as we spent several hours shooting. As well, several models wound up going much further than we had discussed as they got so comfortable in front of the camera they wound up getting hard and even shooting a load! Very tough not to get turned on by that type of passionate exhibitionism.

Name one male celebrity/model/pornstar/sportsman you would like to take a nude portrait of?
I like porn stars because most are incredible exhibitionists. Among my favourites, Brad Patton, Logan McCree and Derrick Hanson to name but a few. I'm equally thrilled to know that I helped launch the careers of several models that submitted the pics we shot together for their first porn studio auditions.

If you could be invisible for one day with your camera...
That is too easy! Given my career and what I've seen, experienced and ultimately created... NO need to be invisible.

Something you are saving up for?
Another vintage photograph from the 40's, 50's or 60's so I can continue to build our photographic collection.

Where you'll find me on a Friday night at 9PM?
At home with my lover of more than 2 decades preparing dinner on the BBQ and opening a bottle of wine.

First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
Gather up several of my favourite models and take them to St. Maarten (the French side) with a beautiful home overlooking the ocean where we would spend every afternoon shooting. Wait a minute... I have already done that a few times, but there's nothing wrong with creating new memories!

Do you have any other upcoming projects and where do you see your photos taking you next?
In the next couple of years I'm optimistic I'll have enough good images from a 20 year retrospective to warrant a show and a book.

And last but not least. Madonna. Yay or nay?
Can't help but luv and hate her simultaneously. LUV that she can constantly reinvent herself, be such a sexy cougar and have 20-something guys falling all over her (or her Titanium AMEX)? Hate that she's such a media whore, but hey, all the power to her! She'll pioneer 60 as the new 40!

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