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The Power of Touch, Photographs by Ron Amato
"Growing up in a culture where you rarely see the same gender (particularly men) touch, images like these can be disarming. Much of my work explores men's affection toward each other. Being denied the normalization of my own affections toward men, it can still be deeply emotional for me to see men touch in an affectionate way. It takes me back to my first Pride parade, or the first time I saw men holding hands on the street, or the first time I saw Brokeback Mountain (specifically the make out scene... you know the one: against the wall when neither man could bear not touching the other for one more second). There is an honesty and purity in these moments that reaffirms my truth. The simple act of touching holds a power beyond words. Images like these bring me back home over and over again, back to my truth. This collection started with one image. I couldn't stop looking at it. I decided go through my archives to see if I could find more that spoke to me the same way. This is what I found." -- Ron Amato
Ron Amato has been making photographs since his childhood in Brooklyn, NY. His early influences were fashion and portrait photographers of the Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe and Francesco Scavullo. Much of Ron's work centers on issues of sexual identity.
In the 1990s and early 2000s Ron photographed for fitness and sports magazines including Men's Health, Men's Fitness and Sports Illustrated. He has exhibited extensively in the US and internationally. His seminal show of sexual self-portraits at Richard Anderson Fine Arts in NYC in 2000 earned Ron a reputation for his frank portrayal of the sexual dynamic between men, prompting Vince Aletti to write in the Village Voice:
"Ron Amato (in his current show at Richard Anderson) (is) leaving nothing to our imagination with pictures of (himself) having a Kama Sutra's worth of sex, the sexual self-portraits of Pierre Molinier and Robert Mapplethorpe might seem a bit old-fashioned."
Ron's recent work centers around issues of aging in the gay community, diverse images of male beauty, idealized body manipulation, image and social media and embracing same sex attraction. In 2016 Ron published his first monograph, "The Box", which continues his exploration of these themes. The photo series and book garnered worldwide praise and won an American Photographic Artists Award for Outstanding Photography Series.
In 2004 Ron began teaching and is currently a Professor in the Photography department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC. Ron has a BFA from School of Visual Arts and an MFA from Long Island University.
Ron still lives in Brooklyn with his husband Seth and their fox terriers Ben and Zeb.