"Edwardian Men"

 

 

This stunningly seductive volume takes the art of the male nude coffee-table book to a new level. Designed to resemble a Victorian photo album, the book has a padded cover and gold-stamped type on its front and back. With a stained-glass design motif throughout, the book contains 70 sensual, sepia-toned images, most of them full-frontal, explicit nudes shot and printed to look as though they were taken around 1900. Most are not on this web site. Accompanying many of the photos are passages from Shakespeare's Sonnets."Edwardian Men" is a singular collection that will make a unique addition to your collection and/or an unusual gift for a friend.

All copies ordered through this site will be personally inscribed by James Spada

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Review

James Spada has been taking attractive portraits of attractive men for the past few years, but his newest collection adds a whimsy and fantasy that greatly augments their intrigue. These sepia-toned images look as if they were shot a century ago, and yet few artists then could have gotten away with such erotic, sensual male nudes. Finding his models in a variety of ways (some are friends, some are hired by advertisement), and shooting mostly in bed and breakfast inns and other old houses, Spada explores interior and private spheres. His evocative images, however, are almost timeless, and titillating in their immodesty. One imagines these young gentlemen--sprawling on overstuffed beds, gazing longingly (Narcissus-like) at themselves in ornate Victorian mirrors, posing so artfully against elaborate wooden headboards--are more used to stiff shirts, starched ties, and a very regimented public world. Like the women of this era, the men of the 19th century had strict moral codes to follow. Here Spada lets us imagine that at least some of them dreamed of a freer, more indulgent world.

-- Shawn Hill, Bay Windows                                

 

Article

If a photographer at the turn of last century wanted to depict male nudity, decorum decreed he retreat to the safety of classical poses, biblical themes and the judicious placement of foliage. This clash of moral and aesthetic imperatives gave Boston-based photographer James Spada a flash of inspiration--with his "Edwardian Men" series he wanted people to look upon the apparently vintage (yet occasionally tumescent) nudes and think, "My God, how did they get away with that?"

Spada has certainly captured the visual mood of the period, the odd tattoo and hairstyle notwithstanding. "I wanted to place masculine men into the feminine, decorative environment that characterized the Victorian era," he explained. "I find that dichotomy very interesting." The meticulous lighting and sepia tones complete the illusion; to look at Spada's nude men is to experience a Victorian vision that would never have seen the light of day.

Though he has worked as a photographer for over three decades, most of Spada's earlier work utilized colour. "With black and white, as opposed to colour, I am able to bring more creativity into the image. When I look at a nude in colour, it seems more like pornography to me." Photographing the nude is also a recent foray for Spada--it was only in 1996 that he commenced work on a series that comprises his latest book, Black & White Men. "My art is a celebration of beauty," he says. "There are people who take pictures of dead bodies or other shocking subjects, and that is their version of art -- but I am interested in recording beauty as I see it."

Spada has also spent many years recording beauty with words. An acclaimed celebrity biographer, he's produced best-selling tomes on Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Grace, Robert Redford, and Bette Davis among many others. Evidently, his ease with exploring subjects in literary terms translates well to the camera, for there is a pervading sense of serenity in his male nudes. "My ability to make people comfortable has helped me in both journalism and photography," Spada agrees. "My subjects come to trust me, because I am easy-going, yet they realize I am very serious about my art."

-- Michelle Hespe, BLUE Magazine, February 2002