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David Armstrong | Mad About the Boy

February 9, 2012

David Armstrong’s retrospective Mad About the Boy assembles the forthright beauty of his most photographed muses.  His intimate hazed-out black-and-white portraits of young men are suffused with longing and sublimated sensuality.  The singularity of their stark beauty, awash in sunlight, evokes classical portraiture and makes empathetic voyeurs of unassuming viewers.

“I’m always scared before a portrait shoot the way you might be before an assassination. So much has to do with putting the person at ease, enough so they might open themselves to you in some small way. Jumping into the water is how I think about commencing any shoot. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing or where we’ll end up. As the only other participant, the sun can have as much to do with it all as either the model, the house, or myself. There’s an arc, it can be as short as an hour or as long as a day. In some cases, like the serial versions, it can go on for years with a single muse. Usually a point comes where I’m totally lost, the pictures are dictating themselves, I love that. There’s a climax and then you shoot a bit longer, wanting to cover yourself, though you know the moments passed.”

David Armstrong | Mad About the Boy

“And then there was a lot of sexual energy sublimated into the pictures. It’s not like you’re going to have sex with them, it’s not a lead up to that, but you’re worshiping their beauty. And that’s a strange territory to navigate.”

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