STEPHE   Photos by BIRON


Stephe, an Afro-Italian American, was one of my best models. Our first of several studio shoots over the years was on November 28, 1995. He matured nicely under my camera. First, as a 21 year old shy young man, he chose not to do any nude photography, but after two shoots, he phoned and said he now wanted to do nudes at our next shoot and I obliged. To alleviate any possible tension in the images, I did a reverse strip with Stephe. We first got out of the way a quick set of nudes and then took photos as he step by step dressed himself until he was fully clothed in a classic Armani suit. When presented in reverse, the photos give the illusion that he is stripping with full confidence. He later participated in my Peter Berlin project where I used costumes created and worn by the 70s gay porn star. A few of those photos and of the fake strip shoot are included in this book. Stephe, by the way, later also performed as an erotic dancer at the now defunct Nob Hill Theatre in San Francisco.

Nudity has never been required of my models. I have always left that decision entirely up to them for I understood given our social climate that there were many reasons why someone might not want to do nude photos. However, I was always grateful when a model like Stephe would come to terms with all that and decide to share their rare physical beauty with all of us. Their healthy narcissism, from that perspective, should be appreciated as an act of genuine generosity. There is far too much negativity surrounding beauty and sexuality that should both be more celebrated.                                                  

                                                                                                    -Biron, December 1, 2018

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