The photography of Florian Hetz celebrates every inch of a man
Florian Hetz is a photography based in Berlin.
His photography is stunning – sexed-up images of men in all their glory.
The origin story
“I picked up the camera in order to document my life after a severe encephalitis left me with a quite terrifying memory loss…” explains Florian, when we ask what drew him to photography.
“I used photography to remember daily things. It took a few years until I began to use photography as an artistic medium, but once I started creating instead of purely documenting, I really enjoyed the power of storytelling.”
Finding an outlet for erotica
“The photos on Twitter definitely show more of the sexual side of my work…” says Florian, when we admit to following him hard.
“In my latest book, ZWEI, I juxtapositioned the sexual photos with landscapes, plants, or food – this created a beautiful dialogue between them.”
“Many of the photos on Twitter are photos from my archive – after Tumblr clamped down, all of a sudden my sexual images no longer had a digital home.”
Heroes and inspirations
“A lot of people would assume that Robert Mapplethorpe was my idol…” says Florian, reflecting on his heroes and inspirations. “While I appreciate Mapplethorpe’s work, and what he did for sexuality in the arts, I wouldn’t consider him as my hero.”
“Peter Hujars work, on the other hand, I really admire.”
“As a teenager, I was also influenced by Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, and studio photographers such as George Hurrell and Clarence Sinclair Bull.
An exploration of sexual discovery
“LGBTQ+ kids grow up in a heteronormative world, were we don´t particular fit in…” says Florian, discussing one of the key themes in his photography.
“Until we can come out, there’s a lot of secrecy and insecurity. Many queer teenagers can´t live out desires and are confronted with emotions and physical reactions to things that should feel normal, but feel disturbing. Our emotions feel disturbing because the world – still – tells us that a straight reality is the only reality, that our feelings are wrong, shameful, or disgusting.”
“Many of us have to hide those moments that are very arousing, but totally confusing. Like, when we get turned on by the drop of sweat, running down the armpit of the best friend of our brother, or the hair on the chest of someone.”
“Straight kids can act on their feelings, but for us this will only happen in our fantasy.”
“We live with a lot of desire and a lot of pretending – pretending that we don’t feel like that.
“My work deals with that – those quick looks and fixations on body parts and the explosion of imagination.”
The creative process
“Generally, I prefer to get to know the sitter before I start to work…” explains Florian, when we ask him about his creative process. “Most of the time, I meet up with the guy a couple of days before the shoot. I meet them in a neutral setting – so we can talk, and also to give them the chance to get to know me.”
“During those conversations, I often notice little things, I make a mental note, and then try to forget as much as possible when we shoot.”
“When I started to take photos, I was always over-prepared. I had sketches of the photos that I wanted to take, like a little storyboard. These days, I don’t want to know what I’m going to be photographing, I want to know who I’m going to be photographing.”
“The shoot itself is very intimate, but less serious than you might imagine – we laugh a lot while shooting.”
“Ideally, I’d like them to feel curious about the photos and start to make up their own stories about what is happening in the photo…” says Florian, when we ask what response he hopes to generate when people see his work.
“If I can make someone feel more comfortable in their own skin, then I’ve achieved a lot with my work.”