Blog Profile: Favorite Hunks
Western Photography Guild recently caught up with Tye Briggs at Favorite Hunks.
Tell me about your blog, "Favorite Hunks."
Favorite Hunks (wish I could change that title) began as a Yahoo group in about 2005. It was basically just for me as a storage space to keep images that I loved. I soon found the group had a following who seemed to enjoy the images. At the same time, I started a blog, mostly as a way to channel my love of writing. It started as a bit of a diary: I had just moved to a small rural town from the city, and was writing about the changes in my life. Soon after, I began to interpolate my love of photography and images of the male form into my writings, and the theme sort of took over. I ended up deleting the first entries about my move and focused entirely on the male form in photography, media and society in general
Why is it important for you to tell the artist’s story on your blog?
I guess mostly because I'm curious. As a writer, I always have 'why' questions and whenever I saw a shoot I really loved, always wanted to know how the photographer and model came to work together and what creatively inspired the ideas. I also was getting frustrated with sites, blogs and Tumblrs that never bothered to credit the artists and models they featured. I not only wanted to credit, but eventually, in about year two or three, aimed to get permission, support and input from those I was posting about.
Imagery of the male physique is seldom presented as art. How are you trying to change this perception?
I'm not sure I am. If I am doing so in any small way, I think it's due to my presentation style, and the stories behind the images I present. I think most people assume images of the naked male body are mostly shot by, and shot for, those looking for sexual gratification from the images. Although I am aware this is certainly the focus for many, I quickly started to become aware of which images and photographers that had that as the aim. I don't want to look down on that, in many ways, some of the early images of the male form (mostly Playgirl images) that I saw were that for me.
As I got a bit older, and began spending more time with artists work, I tended to lean towards images and shoots that told stories.
It is easy for me to look at an images now and immediately see if the model’s penis was all the photographer was interested in. That's OK, but those images aren't usually the images I'm drawn to. I suspect many of the readers of Favorite Hunks feel the same way, I have a pretty loyal audience and if all they wanted were images of naked men, there are many sites which don't have my ramblings getting int he way.
What influence do you believe early photographers of the male physique, such as Don Whitman of Western Photography Guild, have on today’s artists?
I think everything really. To begin, there was a time it was risky to be an artist shooting the male form. There are, of course, still risks today, but they don't come close to how it used to be. It is easy now for almost anyone to take naked images of others or of themselves. The Internet can easily connect photographers with models and it all came arranged while sitting on your couch. In the past, it required a commitment, both professionally, and financially. I'm not sure there were as many 'hobby' photographers shooting the male form when Don Whitman was shooting..\ It also required time. You had to physically find models, either by taking the risk and asking men, or through magazines and catalogues, which again required time and patience.
Not many photographers today need to take the risk of walking up to some strange hot guy at the park and ask if they'd like to model.
I also believe that although there are current photographers creating incredibly stunning and innovative work, so much of the leg work, the classic poses, the technical side, was perfected by Don and the artists who paved the way. Many of my favorite shots pay homage to the images created by the Western Photography Guild, and many of the images created then remain timeless.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers of this blog?
I've thoroughly enjoyed my time working on Favorite Hunks, especially all of the artists and models I've connected with and the stories may have trusted me to write about and share. I often think of ending Favorite Hunks, but then I'll see a new images, or be introduced to a new artist, and I get excited about finding a way to present and share the images. I also never tire of hearing the stories of the behind the scenes pieces which lead to the images creation. Favorite Hunks will end of course, but hopefully there are still stories that inspire me share. Would have loved to have interviewed Don, I can only imagine the incredible stories he could share.