IDOLS M A R K
H E N D E R S O N
In the spring of 2008, the artist BEAU hosted an artists’ dinner at his apartment in West Hollywood where I had the honor of viewing Mark Henderson’s portfolio. Four weeks later, Mark came to the hills of Hollywood to visit Ron and me and to use our pool and home as the location for a photo-shoot. I witnessed first-hand how professionally Mark handled his models, how creatively and intuitively he used light to put his ideas into action. When I saw the finished images, I immediately knew that his work merited a book of its own and sent a recommendation to the publisher Bruno Gmünder in Berlin. He and his CEO Michael Taubenheim shared my enthusiasm—the results you now hold in your hands. Mark Henderson whisks us away into a world of exquisite staging: beautiful men, expressive faces, muscular bodies. Perfect perspectives and a magical mastery of light form the basis for his remarkable photos which Mark then skillfully enhances on the computer; the velvety glamour effect rounds off the images and turns them into veritable eye-catchers. This book is also meant as a collection of pin-up motifs—but talk about interpretation! Even the standard poses are successfully varied until they have nothing in common with the run-of-themill pictures you so commonly see. His expert implementation on the set as well as his skillful enhancement on the computer make this artist a cut above the masses of photographers. I was immediately amazed by Mark Henderson’s imagery—which adeptly walks the fine line between art and pornography. Admirers of erotic nude photography are certain to remember this style. Henning von Berg Berlin, July 1, 2008 www.Henning-von-Berg.com
The mark of every great artist—whether sculptor, painter or photographer—is the development of a style that is the hallmark of his work. When viewers look at a piece of art and can say, “That’s a Pollack,” “That’s a Rodin,” “That’s a Mapplethorpe,” the artist knows he’s risen to a new level of his art. Mark Henderson is on his way to developing that style. His palette is loaded with signature aspects that set him apart from other photographers of the male form. Visually he is unique. His use of saturated colors and lush textures create a canvas on which he creates his scenes— sometimes raw, sometimes sensual, sometimes romantic—and sometimes all three. His eye for architecture and the settings where he photographs his men, frames them with lines and masses that give hard-edged strength or soft edged sensuality. His use of objects and their relevance to the scene add a three dimensionality to his images. And then there are his men—the center point of all this creativity. The men are Yin and Yang. There is an amazing masculinity to their sculpted bodies. They exude hot male sexuality at its best. And yet there is a layer of softness and vulnerability—a feminine approachability that invites you to enter the image gently—knowing you are welcome. Together these forces create images that are hot and hard, yet sensual, languid and seductive. I have known Mark for years and have watched him develop this individual sense of style while creating amazing images. It is an honor for me to introduce my friend and an amazing artist— Mark Henderson. Enjoy his images! Jeff Palmer Palm Springs, June 24, 2008 www.jeffpalmer.com
As the title of the book indicates, all of the images included here were shot in and around a house. I intentionally pose models in domestic surroundings (bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, gardens) so the viewer can imagine finding these otherwise unobtainable men in their own homes, discovering them in moments of quiet but sexually charged repose. Suddenly these „idols“ seem more accessible, touchable. During the photo session I often ask the models to imagine they are awaiting the return of their lover, which helps create an atmosphere fraught with the potential for romance. Therefore I select models who are not only handsome with chiseled physiques, but ones who can evoke this sense of romantic anticipation. The use of pillows, silk fabrics, and the ubiquitous (faux) furs heighten the sense of comfort and luxury. Although I have occasionally traveled to the desert and other remote outdoor locations for photo shoots, I am always drawn back to the tranquil, relaxed atmosphere of a home where I can create images in which the models can be admired, indeed idolized, in a more private and personal way. In addition to creating the proper atmosphere and setting, I believe that the careful combination of colors (sometimes lush and vivid, sometimes more subtle) lends an immediacy to the image and can greatly enhance the visual experience—and perhaps inspire the libido! At the same time I prefer strong contrasts between light and dark to add a painterly quality to the photographs. As an art historian specializing in Northern and Southern European painting of the 17th century, I am often drawn to the expressive colors and chiaroscuro effects employed by many of the great Baroque painters. Looking through the images in the book the observant reader will quickly notice that although the models change from picture to picture there are certain backgrounds and furnishings common to many of the photographs. There is a reason for that: When I began photographing male nudes several years ago I had no professional studio per se, so out of necessity I simply enlisted my own very small home in Los Angeles to serve as the setting for many of my photographs. This turned out to be a blessing because my house is not only an easy and economically practical place to work, but I was delighted to discover that it is filled with beautiful natural, diffused light throughout the day. This light, sometimes warm, sometimes colder, turned out to be the perfect vehicle to illuminate and define the spectacular physiques I love to photograph. The various rooms of my house (and sometimes the homes of very generous friends) quickly became a continuing motif in my work—and inspired the theme of this book. Let me welcome you to the quiet, sun-drenched rooms where the men of “Household Idols” await their daily devotion. Mark Henderson Los Angeles, July 10, 2008 www.edendalestudios.com
First of all, I would like to express my thanks to all the models who appear in this book. Believe it or not, modelling is not easy and I want to applaud all these men for the years of hard work they have devoted to sculpting their physiques into sensational works of art, and for allowing me to photograph them in such an intimate, personal way.
I would also like to thank several friends and colleagues who have encouraged and supported me throughout my photography career Each in their own way have helped make this book possible: Armando Aguilar, Jake Cruise, Ron Anderegg, Henning von Berg, Thom Bissett, Gabriel Goldberg, Barry Gollop, John Hou g h , J i m Obl a k , J e f f Pa l m e r , D o u g R e e d , J e a n Searcy, Stephan Sirard, Luiz Felipe Stelling, Bob Stickel, Gary Takesian, Rodney Washington, and Randy Blue.
In particular I want to thank three extraordinary artists who are also dear friends, all of whom were directly involved in the creation of this book. Don Pollard who helped me refine the look and finish of my images with his amazing technical artistry and exacting standards. Andre DeLoach for befriending me early on and for inspiring me to set and achieve my goals. And Kevin King (also known as the painter BEAU) for believing in this project long before I did and for his superb good taste and sage advice upon which I relied every step of the way.