Met Kevin Caudill

Ah, so this city is not New York or Los Angeles, and celebrities are not as frequently visible as they are there. But we have our own A-list, made up of actors (Robin Williams), directors (George Lucas), singers (Barbra Streisand), tycoons (Larry Ellison), and the like.

Well, ibam forte via sacra, and at the corner of Castro and 18th a random guy calls out my name. I turn around, and it’s someone I have never seen before. He introduces himself: it’s Kevin Caudill, known photographer of male nudes!

What does a known photographer of male nudes know about me? Well, he was looking for information on Safari West, found my pics and sent me a note. Then we went on for a few exchanges (he seems really busy) and I haven’t heard from him in ages. So I was quite surprised he would remember me.

What is his photography like? Black and white pictures of males in various stages of undress. If that’s not your thing, no use going to his site. His men are mostly very bemuscled, hairless, and emotionless. Once in a while a smirk will capture a face in one of the poses, but all in all Kevin seems to have learned from Bruce of Los Angeles (or one of his later and more famous successors).

Of course, the choice of black and white somehow makes emotionlessness a logical choice. Light and shadow playing off rippled muscles are an important part of the equation, as are the contrast between the backdrop and the model. Sometimes Kevin chooses nature, sometimes interiors (usually beds), at other times some neutral backdrop.

Light and shadow, as mentioned, are an important part of the composition. Kevin takes great care in making sure his models become 3-dimensional by virtue of shading. I have not found one picture in which Kevin has played on the flatness of features, and the body becomes a collection of geometric shapes when viewed through his eyes.

An unnatural calm suffuses his photographs. Models appear frozen in time and space, as if they are statues, not humans. The more muscular they are, the more Kevin puts them on a pedestal and makes them look divine, but inhuman.

His latest exhibition is part of Sporting Life, a local show that runs until the end of the year. I will have to go, it is going to be exciting to see Kevin shoot something in motion!

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