Blaring reggaeton, we drive from Santa Clara, through Remedios, to the seaside town Caibarien. At Caibarien, the tides are high and there are flashes of rain but we trek on, wading knee-deep through mud and sunken rock, to a secret corner of the world on the edge of the stretched-out sea where Ernesto, a bit of rough trick, through rain and sun, covered in salt water and buffeted by strong winds, cavorts and strips down because, sometimes, sometimes you just want to claim a private corner of the world and feel the sunlight on your skin. “Skin” is not the first thing I wanted to say.
I try to avoid nostalgia. I try to avoid looking back. And sometimes I fail. Nostalgia can be very seductive especially when it, when the moment, is unrecoverable, irretrievable. I had occasion lately to encounter again some older photos of Enrique and I just could not leave them alone. I could retrieve, if not the moment, the photos at least.
Often models run out of energy and enthusiasm before I do. Models know that “one more” never means “one more”. And this was Enrique at the end of a long early-morning shoot. He hadn’t nearly spent his enthusiasm or commitment or seduction either.
After cleaning off the sand from our beach shoot, I took the tireless Enrique to an old building, smeared in yellows and ochres, just in from Megano Beach. The little concrete building was covered in graffiti and littered with beer cans, rum bottles, cigarette butts and cigar stubs. Preparing these photos, I even got nostalgic for the graffiti, or the stories behind the graffiti. “Adonis y Wendy” – with crowns and hearts. “Te Amo Adonis – Wendy”. “Bebe, I need you – Wendy”. “Personas q’ vive de Amor A y W” – people who live by love. Just once, under Adonis’ name, in parentheses, “Iron Boys”. Did the Iron Boys still exist? Or did they grow out of their fervent but adolescent association? Did Adonis and Wendy still live by love? Did Wendy still need Adonis? Were they still together? I think that little yellow building just in from Megano Beach might be gone now. I returned to look for it once and found no trace of it.
Here’s my nostalgic turn for Enrique then, dedicated to people who live by love and to Adonis and Wendy. With much thanks to ADON Magazine and to Hommes Sans Frontieres (IG: @hommes_sans_frontieres) for another brilliant work.
Amanecer, dawn, is such a lovely and charming word in Spanish. The word has hope and silence and peace. This rosy-fingered dawn, we go searching for tranquility at Playita 16 (my companions disagree whether it is Playita 12 or 14 or 16) in Havana. It is a nearly untraversed place at dawn. At noontime, locals, mostly adolescents, who haven’t got the time or the resources to get to proper beaches out of town, swim and cavort and crawl atop the yaquis, those stones, meant to break the surf. And after sunset – there is plenty of evidence left behind, with the beer cans, rum bottles, and condoms too – the place fills with revelers and lovers; but at dawn, with hope and silence and peace and glorious tranquility, we can have this empty stage nearly to ourselves while only a lonely fishmonger or a Santería devotee might straggle by.
Ricardo and his cohort, JC, wear American Apparel and N2N Bodywear. Check out the Amanecer feature on Burbujas de Deseo. With with much thanks to Hommes Sans Frontieres for the beautiful work he created. Follow him on Instagram @hommes_sans_frontieres.
I will be releasing On the Farm with the Honeybrown Twins Part 3 in a few days. Meanwhile, thanks so much to BeautifulMag for the feature. Check it out here: An Idyll for Twin Idols. Yes, I wrote a poem. I couldn’t have a title like an Idyll for Twin Idols without actually writing an idyll or at least trying to.
An Idyll of Twin Idols
In Habana del Este, we’re far in from the sea
But far enough from the city’s noisome calamity
Away from tarnish, scandal, and shame
Where here on this hillock is nothing and no one to defame
The sweet melody of the rustling whisper of the palm,
The horseflesh, the noontime sun, the unfolding calm,
The blossom of the day and the sun rising high
As a few spare clouds scrub a blue enameled sky.
Amorous Marlon and Andro, still beautiful and young,
Still honeybrown and blessedly hung,
Are still made to idolaters make
Giving me more than there is time to take
With their rough beards, lusty lips, and speaking eyes,
Their sinewy forms , their tribal marks, and those meaty thighs.
And many are the curious dints to ponder
In their drum-tight bellies wither my wits wander.
Altered of course as the day alters the sun
As the sun alters the flower since the day begun.
The day, the river, time relentlessly push on.
Men have overthrown the boys, the boys are gone.
But when the brothers are playing and, oh, when they are smiling –
Either that churlish twist or that broad glint beguiling –
I recognize them again and memory can no longer falter
And I relinquish again and I submit again at the foot of their altar.
Their bodies, like the forges of Vulcan, put out a mighty heat
So that a solid embrace can make time retreat
Even for a moment – this moment here on this faraway farm
Where the brothers play, where the brothers charm
Is my scavenger’s prize and I could lose my skin and fly
Delirious deep into that blue enameled sky.
I have recently released two new galleries to my public and my membership sections: On the Farm with the Honeybrown Twins parts I and II with part III coming soon.
The Honeybrown twins, Marlon and Andro, fix me and transfix me too. The brothers do not wilt from the shining black eye of my camera. Rather, here, in the light of the day, they uncover their affection, their vivid charm, like a peacock with its brightly bursting tail, and they lay bare their lucid sensuality. By now, more men than boys, the brothers are architects of their own performance, their own bodies, their own divine youth still, still invincible and indomitable.
The brothers always look like they are up to something. There is no resistance, no reticence either. They are keepers of some divine and shining secret; and I am an unworthy scavenger, a witness, as they stir up body and soul too. I can do nothing of course but consent and resign and submit to that worshipful disquiet, holy or profane, as the brothers laugh and cajole and whisper and play.
Meanwhile, check out my recent interview with Revolutionary Gay Magazine.
“…while Fidel eschews monuments to his memory, my friends and models, representatives of diverse tribes, might stand as virile and rebellious and independent monuments to Cuba. Cuban men have a fierce sexuality and a brazen, raw, unapologetic masculinity and openness too.”
I still have a running promotion for access to my Members photos, available here: Members Promo. Why not share with a friend?
I want to wish you and yours a joyous holiday and prosperous new year. It’s time for family and friends and merry-making; it’s also time for list-making – and I am a chronic list-maker – as well as counting our blessings. I have much to be grateful for this past year.
Last January, Modus Vivendi released their Virtus line that I shot in Toronto with model, Cianan: http://www.underwearexpert.com/2016/01/smooth-like-butter-modus-vivendi-virtus-line/.
I was honoured to work with Modus Vivendi again on the beaches of Cuba for their Rainbow Line: http://www.underwearexpert.com/2016/08/modus-vivendi-rainbow-line/.
And I had so much fun putting together the shoot for The Eighth with Ricardo and Jorge Luis and new model, Yunier: http://www.underwearexpert.com/2016/04/the-eighth-in-cuba/.
One of my classic photos of Enrique made the cover of German photography anthology, Mein Schwules Auge (My Gay Eye) #13, with more of my images inside: https://www.facebook.com/Mein-schwules-Auge-My-gay-Eye-104314226323131/.
Meanwhile, I had a calendar ready for 2017. It was all edited and designed. But, with challenges with my publisher and my printer, it had to be postponed. Hopefully I can produce a 16 month calendar that will be available by next summer. And maybe even, by next year, I can finally settle into the idea – after teasing with it for so long – of assembling a book of my photos. Let me know if you have any ideas or favourite images. Keep an eye out. After the new year – hopefully not long after the new year – I will be releasing a new set with the honeybrown twins, Marlon and Andro, cavorting on the farm.
Castro refuses monuments. I have always said that I monumentalize the men of Cuba; at least for me, they serve as monuments of Cuba and monuments to Cuba. And, as always, I end this year wistfully missing my Cuban friends and hoping I can get back soon to see old friends and produce new work. I am so grateful to fans and followers of my work, especially my collectors. If you want to help fund another return to Cuba, I humbly hang up my stocking and I say: consider investing in my prints. I also now have posters available with a special promotion code available through the holidays: NAVIDAD2016. And, yes, there are still discount memberships available with full access to all of my photos too. Feel free to share this message with friends who might be interested in my photography. Thanks for sharing my passion with me and, again, for all your support.
Feliz navidad y feliz año nuevo.
I am a farmer’s son. I often miss having the big blue sky and all the space in the world. I went looking for a farm outside of Havana where I found Vany, another farmer’s son, to take me back in the fields to show me around. This vaquero, this cowboy shines golden – with fine blond hairs sparkling on his sun-bronzed skin, with his broad toothy smile, and with his disarmingly limpid aquamarine eyes.
Here’s space and quiet on god’s green earth, here’s a big blue tropical sky, here’s dazzling sunlight and palm frond shadows. And, yes, here’s Vany the Vaquero, shameless in his sparkling skin, with what must be a rich surplus of space and of time.
I am pleased to now offer a selection of my work as posters. Kevin Slack Photography Posters are available at 20 x 30″ and 16 x 24″ on either satin paper or glossy paper. I will be adding more to my selection shortly – but if I am missing one of your favorites, let me know here. Interested in a discount for bulk orders? Let me know the details here. And check out the selection of posters here. For a limited time, save 10% on your first order, with promo code POSTERS10.
After the shoot for Anatomia, Jean left. We still had the space and I still had some ideas and Ricardo still wanted to show off. So we earnestly scrubbed Ricardo’s skin clean – Ricardo is ticklish in all the regular places and a few irregular ones too.
Ricardo first filled out and showed off the Boho Briefs by Modus Vivendi and then the jockstrap. But after he stripped down, it was no contest: I’ll take Ricardo in his own glorious skin any day.
I have been wanting to work with Christopher for years. I had a photo shoot booked with Chris in the summer of 2015 and, when it fell through, it broke my heart a little. So, mid-summer 2016, I went to him, to Quebec, Quebec. I am quite used to meeting models, but I was still uncommonly giddy and nervous to meet with Chris for the first time.
I was staying in a back corner of Old Quebec – just far enough away from the more bustling Rue Saint-Jean – in quite a nice apartment-style hotel room and, just after my first coffee too early on a Sunday morning, I met him outside. Chris was dappled-drawn in the morning light under the trees of the park across the street. And while he is strong enough and handsome enough and swarthy enough to be intimidating, he was immediately affable and friendly and funny too.