The skill of photographing naked men
We caught up with Graham Martin — the man behind the camera of MenArtErotic — to talk about men, art, and erotic photography.
When did you start to explore your passion for photography?
I’ve always been a bit artistic — I’ve explored everything from painting and drawing to singing and acting — but it was only relatively recently that I discovered the passion for photography. I did it at school, but I never pursued the art of photography until eight years ago.
After many years in retailing, followed by a lifetime in publishing sales, I was given the job as sales director on a magazine. On my first day, one of the staff — an accomplished photographer — was taking pictures of the team for a magazine feature. She needed someone to take her photo, so she set up the shot and passed her camera to me, asking me to click. I did and — bang — it was a life-changing moment. I looked at the back of the camera then swore in delight at the awesome picture I’d just taken.
It wasn’t my picture, it was hers — I just clicked the shutter — but I realised that this was an art that I wanted to master. I decided to become a professional photographer.
What draws you to erotic photography of men?
I’m gay, and I love men as a subject matter. I’m artistically excited by erotic photography — PornArt, as I like to call it.
Is there a particular type of guy that you like to photograph?
I truly love photographing men of any age, size, look — big or small. I’ve photographed guys naked that are over 85, and some that I’ve worried whether the chair will support their weight. I’ve photographed some great athletes, and guys that struggle to get along in their wheelchair.
I don’t care where they come from or what they look like. Everybody has a spark and a soul within. I totally live to bring out that inner person, and try and help everyone look their very best. So, it’s not really about type, it’s more a question of motivation or reason for the shoot. Is it for promotional purposes or is it a paid shoot? One to share with the world or for private use only?
The guys that you see on my Instagram, Twitter, and other social media are more ‘classically’ good looking. There are many reasons for that, partly because people want to keep things private, but also the public’s response and expectations. I’ve tried to promote all types on my social media and websites, but sadly it’s not what the average guy wants to see. Photography is a passion and an art, but it’s also the thing that pay the bills, so I have to be mindful of that.
Where do you find the guys that you work with for your shoots?
I’m very lucky in that mostly guys come to me. I’ve been reasonably proactive with my social media, and I have a strong website, so that all helps to bring in the guys.
Who are some of the porn stars on your wish-list to work with?
I don’t have a wish list. I just do what I do and people, including porn stars, seem to like it and come to me for shoots. I have got to know quite a few guys in the industry this way, and really enjoy chewing the cud with them on shoots. All porn stars are welcome to give me a shout if they’re looking for promo shots or to build their paid social media platforms. The likes of OnlyFans and JustFor.Fans have been a great motivation for guys to come for shoots. Paid social media is a hungry animal, and we all need lots of pictures to feed the beast.
What do you hope that people feel when looking at your photos?
If they just feel, then that’s good enough for me.
I’m always delighted when guys tell me that they find my pictures both erotic and artistic. People often say that they get a boner, and enjoy a few private moments after seeing my pictures. That to me is very cool. I love the fact that my pictures stir emotion. Of course, it’s not just me — it takes at least two, and I always aim to work as a team with the model. Both have something to give artistically and emotionally, and if both don’t give then there will be a void in the picture.
What next for MenArtErotic?
I’m at stage in my life when I should be slowing down, but I find myself getting busier and more in demand. That makes an old man very happy.
I’d love to travel with my camera, and meet guys from around the world for shoots. I love big projects, so I enjoy shooting for advertising, and commissions for magazines are always welcome.