words by; Samuel Glass Jr
Anybody can take a picture of a naked man.
This is a simple fact. Years and years’ worth of images from amateur and professional photographers, printed and reprinted and copied yet again in various coffee table books, skin mags, photo studies and collages and voluminous collections in galleries, libraries and the homes of private collectors all bear this out.
Even you or I could do it. We could even take candid, nude snaps of ourselves, and as the various websites and social media outlets display in this age of DIY digital dexterity, we often do. Simply remove clothes, aim, point and shoot.
But these are usually just pictures, nothing more, nothing less. When you talk about photography, then things get a little more complex. There is considerable skill involved in composing an image that attracts and holds the eye…entices the viewer to focus his gaze and explore. It helps to have a good subject, but it takes knowledge of depth-of-field, lighting, blocking, positioning…all of the elements of composition that will usually drive the uninspired novice to stick to his one-shot cameras from CVS or Walgreens, and venture no further into the medium.
But we’re just talking about photography. What about art?
Art goes levels deeper. Art inflames, incites, sparks conversation and debate. Art hits you in the brain pan, the heart, the gut and the crotch, and when it’s really good, it can do it all at the same time in the milliseconds it takes for you to draw breath to gasp at its insolence…its magnificence.
It doesn’t take a college degree or a practiced eye to recognize art, or when someone is an artist. Because when you see an image created by someone who has a bone-deep love, a driving passion for what they’re shooting, you just…know.
And that is why inkedKenny is an artist and not just a photographer.
inkedKenny is a man who loves men – naked, clothed, but especially naked – both physically and emotionally. And when he takes pictures of naked men, that love and passion transcends the medium in which he works, and turns those images into art.
Self-taught, with a background spanning twenty years in numerous aspects of fashion and commercial art direction and design, he’s been creating his remarkable images for just the past two years, bringing his considerable instinct and experience to bear on subject matter that we have seen numerous times before, but never like this. Working with deep shadows, natural light, water, fire, steel, grit, grime and sweat, he takes the blue-collar worker, the cage-fighter, the neighborhood thug, the leather daddy, the older bear and the fledgling cub, the willing slave and the haughty master, and shows us the dichotomies…the metaphorical aspect of these men in a way that can flip the script on a dime.
Even when much is hidden, all is revealed in an inkedKenny image, whether the pose is natural or planned. The brutal and the beautiful, the sacred and the salacious, the dangerous and the divine all co-exist in one image; painting word pictures, telling stories in a wild glance, a deep kiss, a handful of sweaty flesh gripped tightly, in the tension of a fist drawn back, the slope of a pair of broad but weary shoulders, the invitation within a pair of lean hips thrust insolently forward. All visions forged in the slope and curve of hard-earned muscle, faces carved out of the years of innocence turned and lessons learned…men with the capability of being brutal beasts in one moment, tender lovers in the next. Men in their surface simplicity and bottomless complexity.
There is nothing else out there like an inkedKenny image. If you didn’t know that before, one glance through these pages will leave you convinced, if not deeply satisfied.
And most definitely coming back for more…