Photography has become so diluted with the advent of digital cameras and smartphones. I still believe in the spirit of photography where composition, tone, colour, expression and meaning are paramount.
The quest for Asian male beauty rests with both the creator and the model. The elusive chemistry that is shared between the artist and the muse, where the potential outcome is nothing less than creation itself.
The imagery I have is contained within mystery and darkness, where male sensuality and sexuality is not proudly displayed, but in subtle way. The men with whom I connect with are not the ordinary, but the extraordinary. They are enigmatic, yet real and surreal. This is what I look for.
You are not your body; you are beyond that which is physical. Your body is an illusion that you can form and mould, forever changing, never static.
I have said that I rarely know what I am doing until the moment happens. Many of the best images are left to chance and the unknown. It is how I paint and it how I photograph.
The reclining nude has been traditionally reserved for the female gender. Recall the Manet’s Olympia or Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Yes, masterpieces no doubt! What we rarely see are male versions of the reclining nude, let alone an Asian male.
The Asian Male Project
The images that are showcased here are but a few of the many photographs that were taken for The Asian Male Project, which began as an investigation or study of photographing body forms in hopes of emulating the work of Herb Ritts. This was in 1999. My first subjects were friends Nelson and Hans, a couple that goes to the same gym where I worked out. It was done in a shared workspace called Meli-Melo with two friends Betty Cheung and Wilson Chik. The images of Nelson and Hans was met with rumours that were not so flattering, but it sent out a message to people that Asian men could be seen as objects of sensuality and beauty. I continued collecting more images from friends and their friends, and soon enough, I published my first book ‘The Asian Male – 1.AM’. Shortly thereafter, in 2007, I published my second book The Asian Male – 2.AM. There was certainly a hunger and thirst for such images. The images are not meant to be conceptual, painful, nor glamourized. They are far more simple in its intention. Conceptualisation for me was not important to me; it was more the aesthetic of accepting myself and my own ethnic beauty. You see, before I arrived in Hong Kong, I was not attracted to Asian men. Hong Kong was cathartic in exposing my own desire for love and attention through the beauty of the guys I met. Asians men could be beautiful; so then could I.