In last night's post, I mentioned "a photographer I like"... which of course, led me to doing a search for more of his work online.
Jay Gumm, Photographer and Artist.
I first came across his work back in the early days of the Photosig website, back before they made all the "improvements" and I could actually submit work without getting an error message... and before most of the gay photographers chose to leave after having our work mostly ignored.
Jay and I commented on each other's work (okay, I commented more on his, but he did post a lot more than me), and we even had a brief spate of emailing each other, which culminated in him asking if he could "experiment" on some of my shots.
Naturally, I couldn't say yes fast enough...
It's been interesting to watch his work develop over the years, from the more standard (yet still beautiful) images, to all his many and varied Photoshop creations, right through to when he started printing images out and "Frankensteining" them, drawing on them, scratching them, cutting them up and sewing or gluing them back together.
While his primary subject tends to be himself, he wears so many masks (literally and figuratively), that he is sometimes unrecognisable from one image to the next. At the same time he's so totally open and, for want of a better word, exposed (and not just his body) in many of the shots.
The images tend to run to the erotic, bordering on the pornographic on occasion, and quite often strange and confronting... but as he himself says "...the somewhat pornographic confrontation is intentional - I use that as a platform to relay my theme."
He's by no means a one-trick-pony though... one of my favourite of his images is simply three white pillows against a dark wall.
Jay is one of a small handful of photographers whose work inspires me, challenges me, makes me question and, to be honest, makes me jealous.