Friday, August 21, 2009

One/One-Thousand: Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber is God's gift to women, and gay men. No, it's not that he's a brutish, hot, muscly man--although he's cute in his own way (love the head scarf, Weber!)--it's that he's the constant purveyor of brutish, hot, muscly men. He's served up steaming hot, testosterone heavy photo shoots via top fashion magazines, Calvin Klein ads, and Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs for years and years. His aesthetic is very "American" read: lots of unbuttoned button fly jeans, unbuttoned flannel shirts, muscle tone, sports activities, and girls and boys next door. While undeniably heat raising, his photos always have a cool air of innocence that keeps them approachable for the masses, rather than relegated to the red light district.

My favorite Weber title, Branded Youth.

There is a specific book of his that I love, and that always manages to quicken my pulse if ever it's feeling a little sluggish. It's a sacred tome in my mind's library entitled Branded Youth and Other Stories, and it features page after page of, well, cute boys. There are also a great bunch of works of short fiction in there, but I didn't read it for the articles. If ever I pick it up, it brings me right back to the glory days of my youth when Eric Nies was my ultimate crush. (God, I was going to be his Alabama Julie! Only, I would have gotten him in the end.) My friend Devon and I used to call this book simply The Boy Book and we would make a beeline for it when our parents dropped us off at the strip mall Borders near the Old Navy. It was that good.

I know for a fact that I wasn't the only girl (or boy) in the world introduced to the wonderful world of maleness through the wonderful world of Weber. Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs were hotly anticipated mail in my neck of the woods.

Weber's famously underdressed clothing catalog shots are only a small part of his oeuvre of sexy Americana. Who could forget Mr. Weber's groundbreaking work with Calvin Klein? His images defined the brand in its heyday and set a new bar for how far one could take the whole idea of "sex sells". He's still got a good grip on that angle, and yet he's also managed to produce some of high fashion's most glamorous images.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Fashion, the massive monograph of his work published by teNeues proves that his work can reach fashion viewers with more on their minds than boys. But, for those of you who don't have more on your minds than boys, here's one....last....shot....


All photos are Bruce Weber, found through Google Images.

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