I had the good luck to begin sharing images from photographer Eric Lanuit's magazine Character on The Advocate’s website in 2011. Finding the right images to share on an LGBTQ+ website that pack a powerfully sexual punch, but don’t scare the horses in the street, is a challenge. I was delighted to work with Eric. But we had to be careful. There are many images in Eric’s book that left the horses shivering in their stables. Whether Eric creates a loving homage of Tom of Finland or makes a truly shocking image with statuette of Jesus, Eric brings a level of perfection of execution and a lightness of touch that makes it all work beautifully. It’s called good taste, kids.
Nudity is not enough for Eric. His images need to have a point of view, and attitude, and he has a surprising freedom. He is irreverent but maintains a strong reverence and dignity for the male body. He plays with dreamy homages to classical art that don’t sink into imitations because he injects Pop Art freshness and a zip of kitsch. Even when presenting giant solidly erect cocks he is unafraid to turn his photos into art.
The joy that Eric brings to some of the dependable tropes of male characters he renders keeps them from feeling like imitations of everything you know already. He is obviously having fun. At the same time, we can see his own sexuality igniting the pages of the book by keeping the details front and center.
Completing the cornucopia of offerings, there are male images fully clothed of course, because as Tom of Finland said, “To me, a fully dressed man is more erotic than a naked one.” Hence the details in the Orientalism images, the Renaissance photos, even a Royal Canadian Mountie all feel saturated in sexual appeal.
Ultimately this is a record of Eric Lanuit’s first 10 years of erotic imagination. It’s an enormous treasure to be savored and kept out on the table where the brave and unafraid can enjoy it.