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Advance from the rear: an eye for composition, not to mention beautiful men, gives Steven Vaschon a head start in the world of photography.

How you might ask, does a neophyte photographer break into him world of homoerotica? If you're Steven Vaschon, the answer is from behind. "People seem to focus only on the front part of the anatomy--the torsos, the rippled abs, the face and arms," says Vaschon, speaking from his home in San Francisco. "I don't want to be another brick in the wall."

Accordingly, Vaschon, a native of Hawaii now living in San Francisco, is now releasing Rear View (Bruno Gmunder, $22.99), his debut collection of black-and-white photographs featuring male backsides, in the United States (the collection has already been released in several European countries). Pretty impressive, given that Vaschon has known how to use a camera for only a year or so.

Rear View, while certainly titillating, is a collection that's appropriate for the coffee table, not one that needs to be hidden under a bed. Much of the imagery is standard fare--models lolling around in lush surroundings, opening French doors, and frolicking in bathtubs. But several photographs snatch us away from this dreamy landscape, much to our delight--most notably the backside of a man who appears to be hewn from granite with tattoos in Cyrillic and other sundry symbols traversing his body. Other Rear View highlights include images of a biker who has donned a leather jacket and doffed everything else. He rides with a playful seriousness, half protected, half exposed.

And just who are these beautiful men who appear in Rear View? Vaschon isn't telling, although he will admit that many of his models are ordinary guys who were enticed by the opportunity to exhibit their rear assets while maintaining virtual anonymity. "I shot a couple of attorneys," says Vaschon--who himself holds down a day job as a corporate graphic designer--"and that was one of the big stipulations: 'Do not show my face.'"

But according to Vaschon, any stimulation is intended to be, well, at least partly intellectual. "I really struggle with calling my work 'homoerotica,'" says Vaschon. "If a person looks at a photograph and says, 'Wow, that's beautiful,' then I got my point across. But if they look at it and say, "Wow, that guy's got a nice ass,' that wasn't my main purpose."

Harmon is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.
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Article Details
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Author:Harmon, Andrew
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 25, 2003
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