CULTURE & ARTS
01/21/2016 12:28 pm ET

Photographer's Haunting NSFW Photos Mix Pleasure And Pain

Warning: This article contains nudity and may not be suitable for work.
Bryan Fox

Last year we covered photographer Bryan Fox's exhibition "We. Alone." which explored the universal experience of pain and loneliness in Los Angeles. Now Fox has returned with a followup series, "We. Alone. Part 2," exploring issues of pain as it pertains to identity and sexuality. Leather, whips, masks and chains populate Fox's photographic world, perhaps hinting that intimate scenarios can be the loneliest. 

We reached out to Fox to learn more: 

Can you talk about the meaning of your series title "We. Alone." and how it relates to the images? 

In staging and shooting these images I initially felt like an outsider documenting a fantasy world. As the series progressed I came to realize I wasn’t outside these images at all. They were me, my story. The image of the taped man in particular speaks to a moment in my life. That feeling of falling into a deep, dark abyss and being unable to go back or get out was crippling. I wanted to tell a story that is mine, but I quickly realized that these feelings are not unique to my own experience. It was only the visual expressions in this show that was singular to me. Hence the name "We. Alone."    

How does part 2 differ from part 1? What unites the series as a whole?

When Eric Buterbaugh's gallery expressed interest in "We. Alone.," I was excited to show my work to those who didn't get the chance to see my pop-up show last May. The series has been refined to reflect the strongest works but I also wanted to incorporate new, never before seen pieces. "We. Alone. Part 2" has expanded upon the first iteration to investigate issues of anonymity, sexuality, even physical pain. 

What multimedia aspects did you fold into the exhibit?

"Taped Man," "Shattered Heart," and "Worry" are three pieces that I created for the show. In "Shattered Heart," for example, I wanted to draw the viewer closer to the work with a layered composition of acrylic shards. I wanted to push these multimedia works beyond the walls of the gallery, into the viewer’s physical space. It was another means of drawing a relationship between my experience and those of the viewer.

Bryan Fox

What inspires you -- whether artists, places, loved ones, films?

So many! Cindy Sherman for making herself not beautiful. Robert Mapplethorpe for his perspective on light and for pushing the boundaries of sexuality. Bruce Weber for making 'wholesome' so sexy. Steven Klein for delving into dark fantasies. Herb Ritts for his clean, stark contrast with complexion, light and environment. Not just with his photography, but videos as well. Who could forget the Janet Jackson video "Love Will Never Do?”

I've also always loved movies, and even recently wrote, directed and acted in a short film called "Dissonance." I love listening to the greats and hearing their stories. Last year I went to Cannes. One night I sat to dinner with my friend Gus Van Sant, who I admire immensely. He got a text and said Xavier Dolan was on his way. I said "I don't know who that is." Gus said "He's brilliant." That carries some weight in my book! When I got back to the U.S. I watched Xavier's film "I Killed My Mother" and I was blown away. What he did as a writer, director and actor was a kick in the ass. I thought to myself, "I have to do better."

What do you hope to communicate through these images?   

Exposing myself through my work gives me catharsis. If I can simultaneously move someone by immersing them in a story and making them think "me too," that gives me a huge sense of satisfaction.

Fox's exhibition is on view at Eric Buterbaugh Florals until March 1, 2016.

  • Bryan Fox
  • Bryan Fox
  • Bryan Fox
  • Bryan Fox
  • Bryan Fox

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