There is a time and place for everything. Tony Patrioli's time were the 60s to 80s of the 20th century and his place was Italy. During his carreer as a photographer, he captured something long lost in todays society: young men from the Mediterranean sea, mostly heterosexual, who were comfortable in their bodies and willing to show the world – even in poses that can be seen as arousing and homoerotic. Tony Patrioli cultivated nude art, obviously inspired by the photography of Wilhelm von Gloeden, a 19th century German photographer who is mostly known for his pastoral nude studies of Sicilian boys. Asked why Gloeden had such an impact on him, Patrioli answers: “Because Gloeden was the only male nude photographer that was not banned in Italy at the time and because his imagination in part coincided with mine. The American bodybuilders photos seemed to me too far away from the world and from the guys I saw around me.“ This book features iconicbacl and white photographs from Patrioli's œuvre as well as some little known treasures.
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Photographer Tony (Antonio) Patrioli was born in 1941 in Manerbio (Brescia). He lives in Milan. He began photographing as an amateur in 1965, immediately choosing the male nude as a subject of his images. At first the photos were taken for personal pleasure and models were his lovers, but when it was proposed in the mid-seventies to produce images for publication, Patrioli followed the advertising photography school in Milan which he successfully left with a diploma in 1977. "I initially was born as an erotic photographer," he says about himself, "and I have nothing to deny." Unlike other Italian photographers of male nudes, i.e. Angelo Frontoni, Aldo Fallai, Gian Paolo Barbieri and Dino Pedriali, Tony Patrioli was addressed immediately and explicitly by the gay world,publishing in the Italian magazine "Homo" from 1976-1986 and other magazines, Italian and foreign (especially Northern European). Apart from erotic photos, Patrioli cultivated nude art, inspired by the photography of Wilhelm von Gloeden. "Because Gloeden was the only male nude photographer that was not banned in Italy at the time and because his imagination in part coincided with mine. The American bodybuilders photos seemed to me too far away from the world and from the guys I saw around me," explains Patrioli. Patrioli portrayed and documented the last season of a Mediterranean culture which is now lost. Due to the advent of the "sexual revolution" young (often heterosexual) men were willingly available for homoerotic photo shoots. They were often from South Italy, visibly amused by the narcissistic game proposed by the photographer and eager to exhibit a sexual desirability that coincided with the mentality of that time. With the maturing of the gay market, Patrioli took a turn: in 1984 Patrioli could finally publish his first book of males nudes. In this book, Patrioli proposed a very precise type of guy: dark-skinned, young, the "untamed kitten," and very "Mediterranean." The disappearance of the world from which Patrioli's models came and the triumph of the gay nude photos of US aesthetic models and the industry established around it all went at the expense of the erotic photos in the tradition of a "craft" such as Patrioli's.
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