Erik Lundback’s photography project Guy is an exploration of the nude male body, the goal of which is to show that the nude male body can be just as sensual and beautiful as the female body. The project has already gotten a lot of attention during previous showings, and will now be exhibiting again at Södra Teatern in Stockholm, followed by Galleri Draken i Gamla Stan.
Erik Lundback is 36 years old and has worked as a photographer for six years. Originally from Gävle, he has spent his adult life in Stockholm. Bullied as a child, he spent a lot of time alone but he managed to turn the negative experience into something more positive, developing a strong sense of imagination to help him survive the boredom of his childhood years. That is something he reaps the benefits from today, in his work as a photographer with a strong visual sense. “I’ve always seen the world around in me in images. It’s almost like I can’t turn it off,” he says.
Besides working with a broad range of photographic projects, he’s very interested in moving images and film. He’s also a bit of a nerd when it comes to light and lighting. “I sometimes dream about lighting, and people I want to light,” he says with a smile.
It was almost a coincidence that he made the entry test to Fotoskolan in Stockholm in 2004. It is a two-year long program that instructs the students to become working photographers. Before that he had barely touched a still image camera, as he was more into filming. After the program he was stuck – photography became his passion.
At the school they got new assignments every week, with themes that they were supposed to take pictures of. Back then he already taken quite a lot of pictures of nude men, mostly friends that got to model. One of the teachers recognized that there was something special in the photos.
“I remember him telling me ‘you should take more nude pictures. Nude men in black and white is your thing, Erik’. Maybe he was right!”
Nude guys in black and white became Erik’s favourite theme, and there are aestethic as well as somewhat political ideas with the exhibition.
“I want to show that a nude male body can be just as sensual and beautiful as a woman’s. I want to give a more nuanced image of how the man and the male body is portrayed, especially in media.”
The attention the images have been given is due to people not being used to seeing pictures of nude men, he thinks. “The woman’s body is almost over-exposed, but we are not used to male nudes.”
He tends to take softer, and more ”feminine” pictures where the nudity is not always sexual or explicit.
“When a man is finally portayed there is often a focus on the hard, potent, body and a kind of macho ideal, or pornography. My pictures are perhaps a bit more feminine?”
Do you feel like you are part of a general trend at the moment?
In a way, perhaps I am. I think my work fits the current discussion. But portraying nude men in photos or paintings is not a new phenomenon. Maybe it’s more how they are portrayed that is ”new”.
How you do you think you succeed as a photographer in Sweden today?
You need to be talented and good at what you’re doing, and give the customers what they want. But you also need to be outgoing and constantly networking to find new contacts. And it almost feels like it is more important to be visible, even as a photographer behind the camera, now than ten years ago. It can help if you find a clear niche that makes you different from your competition.
What inspires you?
Men’s beauty, and showing people what I see when I am watching a man through the camera lens. Also, to try to challenge the stereotypical image and idea of men. I hate stereotypes, of all sorts.
Erik’s plan for the future is to bring Guy to New York, something he’s currently working on, pulling some strings with his contacts there. He wants to continue with the project for years to come. The fact that the pictures can be regarded as sexual does not bother him. For him, nudity is not very strange or dramatic.
“I’m just taking pictures of what I find beautiful.”
Guy is showing at Södra Teatern i Stockholm, with the opening party October 8th before moving on to Galleri Draken at Österlånggatan 25 in Gamla Stan, where it’s showing October 12-24.