41 Photos of the Types of Men You Meet in the Desert by Jim Wilkinson
By Jim Wilkinson Photography
First of all, clothing seems less important. Read more below.
It's true, generally one meets more nudists in the desert. It may be the weather, it may be the culture, but often when visiting a new friend they greet you at the door completely naked. It's a relaxaed lifestyle.
By the time men locate in the desert, they often have stopped trying to adhere to someone else's idea of what is normal and dignified. It's earthier, more natural.
Jim started using his camera in the fall of 1999 on a trip to Europe after coming out. It had been close to six months after his divorce. The photos from that trip and another in 2000 (mostly architectural images) were featured in his one-man show in Seattle the following year.
Meanwhile his love for mid-century male images began to take a serious turn as he started to gather those images into his personal collection.Eventually the collection grew to over 800 pieces. At one point, he created replicas of early posing straps and he began to shoot his interpretation of that type of image, using his friends as models.
That led to the Seattle Quake Rugby Team choosing him to shoot their annual rugby calendar. Subsequently, doors to other photographic opportunities began to be offered.
His first book, Naked Truth — Exposing Men's Souls" was produced in 2010. A large installation of of that work, using both male and female models, was featured at the annual Seattle Erotic Art Festival. Over 8,000 people attended the festival and Jim's installation was voted viewer favorite that year.
Before deleting it many years ago, Jim's Flickr account had accumulated nearly eight million views in less than three years. The reason for the enthusiastic response to his work is simple: By photographing real, normal men instead of perfect "model types" he found that his (mostly) gay male audience could relate to his subjects because they were presented as both attainable and relatable.
Other books, hundreds of models, and about a dozen major joint shows or solo shows followed. Jim has photographed many hundreds of men in the Seattle/Northwest area. He prefers to shoot normal, regular men instead of "model types." He likes to capture the beauty he sees in these men. The man's eyes and smile is what initially draws him to a subject, rather than a perfect body.
In mid 2017, Jim sold his properties in the Northwest and moved to his second home in Palm Springs, CA. The spiritual energy of the desert has inspired him to create beautiful images of local men as well as visitors to the area.
Jim's philosophy regarding his photography: "It has been said that each snowflake is unique. I see each moment in time as an intersection of subject, emotion, and light. It is my goal to try to capture some of these unique moments/images before they 'melt' away. What grabs my attention initially is the model's eyes, mouth, and facial structure. A perfect body is not a requirement and I've found it is often a detriment. What I try to capture is the model's 'soul': that unique combination of personality, heart, and past experiences that makes each flesh and blood man a one-of-a-kind piece of art."