Even before I turned the first page of Eros I was impressed by the lay of the land, so to speak. The giant over-sized format, the way all fine nude photography should be presented, but rarely is.
The entire production, from the models, to the printing, to the binding, to the touch and smell of the paper, exudes an air of quality.
I like the way the plates are presented, uncluttered with text, or enumeration nor even titles, or model's names. But there is a way to know who you are looking at. There's a wonderful photo index at the back of the book that identifies each model in each picture.
One of my favorite models is Viktor, taken in Barcelona in 2003. His handsome face stares at us from the cover of Eros. Appropriately, we see the back of his head, and neck on the back cover. We see the magnificence of his beautiful dark hair, and the tiny fine blond hairs on the back of his ear, and on his upper shoulders. But there's a better picture of Viktor on page 40, taken at the edge of the Mediterranean.
If you've ever seen that old Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Strangers On a Train, this picture might strike a glimmer of recognition. Viktor reminds me of a very young Farley Granger, the tennis pro in that classic film.
All of the subjects in Eros are what I call fashionistas -- tall, lean high fashion models like you might see in an International Male catalog. Flawless men with bright smiles, and unadorned yet still gorgeous bodies. There might be a pierced tit here and there, but virtually no other body art, no tattoos.
There's only one certified dog in this house. A lone, stringy blond by the name of Henrik, like a refugee from a Viking ship too long tossed by the frigid North Sea. His long, ragged, coarse hair is his worst feature. Shave his head and he might be presentable.
As a matter of fact, I immediately suspected he was presented elsewhere in the book without his offending locks, but it wasn't until I checked the handy index that my theory was confirmed, and I found his cleansed, absolved, shorn self.
It is a marvelous transformation, like a glistening butterfly emerging from a drab chrysalis, flapping its iridescent virgin wings for the first time. Your attention no longer distracted by the hair from hell, you revel in his now most prominent feature, his luscious body, in particular his rock hard abs.
Eros is entirely soft core. There's hardly a peek at any genitals, let alone a boner. Most of the models are clothed, but there are a few creative and tasteful nudes.
In this category I particularly enjoyed Julian on page 64. His deeply-etched torso is a soaring monument of carnal inspiration. Every inch of Julian is appealing, all we can see of him that is, from his neck down to just above his knees.
We find him with his large, manly hands skillfully obscuring his prick, and balls. You might at first regret not seeing if his private parts match the rest of him, but you soon become not only content with his hands, but consumed by them, his hands and forearms are his most enticing feature, beautifully veined and muscled, the kind of limbs and extremities that Michelangelo chiseled from fine Carrera marble.
Matt on page 14 was taken at Cancun in 1999, and sets the seashore theme followed throughout most of Eros.
Almost all of the pictures feature solo models, but there are about half a dozen duos, and several group shots.Many of these highly erotic photos might have appeared in glossy magazine underwear ads. All of the clothed models wear swimming trunks, or underwear, including Calvin Klein, Reebok, Old Navy, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Hanes and Versace.
Most of the models are in a similar thirty-ish age bracket. Perhaps the only exception would be the youngest looking subject, boyish Mark, who on page 14 contributes his superb body and charming persona to one of the most stunning nude compositions in Eros.
Mark is also the most exotic looking man in the collection, his Keanu Reeves-style almond-shaped eyes hinting at a, perhaps, Eurasian or Polynesian ancestry.
Lanny on page 59 is a more mature, beefier vision of masculinity. His portrait evokes the very essence of film noire. He seems to emerge from a fog of darkness, shadows across his body accentuate his mystique, and allure. The look on his sharply angular face of sheer but subdued bliss is the most sensual and sexual expression in Eros.
Eros by Jeff Marano. Published by teNeues in Germany, 2004. Retail price $45. Special collector's edition with linen slipcase and signed
photo print $200.
(Unfortunately, neither edition is currently available from
the publisher. You can buy new, and used copies from online booksellers,
including Amazon.com, from $25 to $42 for the standard edition, $189 to
$225 on up for the limited edition.)
You may want to check out the site anyway: [extern url='http://www.teneues.com' target='_blank' text='www.teneues.com'].
Your comments are always welcome: ErnieAlderete@charter.net
Simple Eros by Ernie Alderete
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