Artist Spotlight: Paul Reitz
BY Albert Smith
June 05 2010 4:00 AM ET
Paul Reitz has lived and worked in New York City for 23 years, and he has 25 years of professional experience in shooting dramatic images of men, with an emphasis on body and an editorial style. He is sought by the leading male model agencies and by new faces alike, to provide his own vision of contemporary male beauty.
Interested in photography from a very early age, he honed his skills while studying the medium in college, both from journalistic and artistic approaches. A common thread throughout his work is the simple elegance that emanates from his relaxed shooting atmosphere, allowing an uncanny connection with his subjects. His book Boys in the City will be available via BrunoGmuender.com in July.
Why are you a photographer?
I have to shoot. If I haven't in several days, it starts gnawing at me, and I have to get those creative juices flowing. I'll take a break for a week or so sometimes and am always excited to start shooting again. On a more philosophical level, I want to show the world that men are beautiful. I wasn't taught that, and most of us aren't.
What catches your eye?
A true beauty. Men who have a confident, easy sensual appeal. Often there can be one signature thing that sets them apart, takes your breath away when you pass them on the street, whether it's the eyes, the body, exotic features.
How do you choose your subjects?
I look for different men at different times. I often like to work with new faces that have that something special, and give them my vision of them. Or I will get inspired to give someone something new and unexpected, if I feel they are playing it too safe. For this book there has been a concentration on younger men in an urban environment.
How do you describe your work?
I depict beautiful, masculine men in a simple and relaxed sensuality.
What makes a good photograph to you?
An image that people can connect to ... and that creates desire. I try not to be too overt and to beat people over the head with the "story" in each shot. I want to allow the viewer to bring enough of their own sensuality to the experience, and in the end I hope the image would have more broad appeal.
Who are your favorite artists? And why?
Jenny Holzer, for the way she uses the power of language and ideas in a visual manner. Steven Klein, for creating images that have balls. John Waters, for being John Waters. And the late Luke Smalley, for toying with Americana and tradition in his images of men.