I chose to title this book "the incomplete collection" because I couldn't decide on a thematic direction to take the book. Would it simply be a book containing images? Would I include narrative documentation of my experiences photographing the men who posed for me? Or would I write about the creative process of capturing the male nude?
The other challenge to putting this collection together was the fact that it never felt ready. I doubted that I photographed enough men or had the right array of men to actually put an entire body of work together. I believe that most artists struggle with this sense of incompleteness. It can always use one more brushstroke.
Essentially, I hit an emotional rock bottom towards the end of 2011. I was unhappy in my 9 to 5 corporate life and disappointed that I hadn’t done anything about my passion to live life as an artist and not as a slave to the corporate machine. Here I was experiencing the most lifestyle discontent that I had ever experienced, and I literally had two hard drives full of images I had created as a hobbyist and amateur photographer that were begging to be printed and bound. Although I knew this collection would be incomplete, it would be the next step in my path to pursuing my life as an artist.
Since I first picked up a camera in 2004, I learned quite a bit about myself and others as a result of my experiences behind the lens. Between these pages you will find some of my favorite images I’ve shot and some random narratives about the men and the process. I hope you enjoy this incomplete collection. I certainly enjoyed being the person behind the lens composing it.
If I had to set forth a mission statement for my art, it would be to celebrate real men of all colors through the tasteful display of physique photography. I like to think of it as the MasculineCurves philosophy. The men I choose to shoot are REAL men who come from all walks of life. They've been business professionals, escorts, recovering substance abusers, former drug dealers, amateur bodybuilders, flight attendants, gay, straight, fathers, grandfathers -- you name it. Whenever I'm interviewing a potential model I'm always probing to understand his unique perspective on life. It's that unique perspective that provides me with my inspiration. It's that unique perspective I strive to convey in my art work.
Howard Published May 24, 2009