30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Heroic start to an exciting new photographic journey,
This review is from: Heroics (Hardcover)
The male form in all its splendour has been all but obliterated from Australian popular culture. Australian films in the 1970s for instance, could show full male nudity, but 40 years later, this is almost impossible. Plays performed in Sydney frequently have nudity removed, and literature once deemed suitable for study in schools that contained nudity such as Equus have long since been banished from reading lists.
Given the increasingly conservative tenor in Australian popular culture, it is entirely appropriate that his latest work should be titled 'Heroics' as Paul Freeman is one of the few artists courageous, dare I say heroic? - enough to present the male form uncompromisingly naked. No coy side on poses, or strategically placed hands in this photographic collection, no waxed / trimmed / plucked torsos; rather, a sensuous celebration of masculine beauty. Thematically, the book recalls earlier periods in history when the male form was valorised - as in the Roman times of gladiators depicted on the book's cover - and where there was nothing shameful or embarrassing about male nudity.
I was somewhat ambivalent when I heard about the release of the first Outback book several years, as I so loved the five Bondi books and believed they could not be topped. However, the Outback series actually surpassed the Bondi series in my view, elevating Paul's photography to an even higher level artistically. While it is too early to make predictions about where the Heroics series might lead, I must say it is a stunning beginning.
Stylistically, Heroics is very different to the Bondi and Outback series. The Australian landscape is no longer central to the work, and there is a universality underpinning the photographs. The use of colour and lighting is more elegant and sophisticated than in the other two collections, recalling the Hollywood portrait photographers of the golden years in their glamour and beauty. The tone of the book is fascinating; at times mocking, at other times reverential.
Where Heroics is at one with the Bondi and Outback collections is in the depiction of masculine physical beauty, and in Heroics there is a more diverse, more beautiful collection of models than in any previous work. Some models are breathtakingly beautiful and all are presented fully naked. The work confirms Paul's status as not only the best photographer of male nudes in Australia, but anywhere else also.
If you enjoy beautiful photographs of the male form, you will no doubt love this new and exciting photographic journey!