Michael Stokes: It’s not the subject that matters, it is how the subject is presented

Michael Stokes.
Michael Stokes – “I am happy to risk going over the top, but perhaps with some humor”

Michael Stokes. You know Michael. You were recently shocked by his photoshoot of naked American veterans who have lost limbs in the Middle East. (see photos below)

Michael is a fine art photographer with a twist of eroticism. His first veteran amputee photoshoot was in 2012 with the 26-year-old U.S. Marine Alex Minsky. A year later, after the shoot went viral, other veterans approached Michael to be photographed. All 14 of them, U.S. Army, Navy and Marine veterans of the Iraq War, Gulf War, and War in Afghanistan, can be seen in the up coming coffee table book “Always Loyal”.

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Michael, the photoshoot of American veteran amputees raised a lot of questions, most of them concerning the moral message of the photos. I will shoot straight – is the photoshoot an atempt to sexualise war and its consequences? No, the purpose was not to sexualize war, it was to photograph him (the U.S. Marine Alex Minsky, Michael’s first subject) in my regular style which is erotic. In other words, to photograph him as if he had no injury, no special treatment because he is missing a limb.

Is the concept of beauty shifting to a different direction then and which direction would you say that is? Concept of beauty is not shifting, but I think it can shift. It’s not the subject that matters necessarily, it is how the subject is presented. If I believe it, then I can make others believe it as well.

What is the predominant reaction towards the photos that you’ve encountered so far, from both men and women? The vast majority love the photos. A few, very few, think I am exploiting the subjects.

Is less more? As in less clothing? (smiles)

Your free interpretation. In this case more is more, not less is more (smiles). I am happy to risk going over the top, but perhaps with some humor.

More of Michael’s work is gathered in  “Bare Strength” and “Masculinity”.

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