He’s a friend of Trevor’s. The day before the shoot Trevor mentioned that Mowgli is a Faerie. I said “Well, be sure he takes a bath before coming in.” Trevor said “That might be difficult. They don’t have water where he’s living.”
There were no barriers, no fears. He was absolutely open, friendly, accessible. I took the opportunity to slowly explore him, as in this shot. It’s rare to find a young man who was delighted to play with his own appeal, who understood how much pleasure I took in lifting his shirt up just this much.
I pulled off his jacket and shirt, then slid his pants down a ways. I ran my hands over his smooth torso and he fell naturally into this pose. For thousands of years young men have had a native understanding of this pose, have known that it’s pure delight, an invitation to be looked at and worshiped.
Trevor had tossed some of the backdrops against one of the walls, to get them out of the way. I put Mowgli here and asked for something serious. He folded his arms and lifted his chin. I knelt and took this.
In the Jungle Book, Kipling says that “mowgli” was a boy raised by wolves, away from human influence. The word “mowgli” means “frog” in wolf: they saw him as a furless little thing that was always hopping about.
Mowgli chose the name for himself while riding the rails cross country on the way to a Fairie gathering.
He’s poor, homeless. He gets around by hitchhiking. He’s crossed the US several times by hitching, and he loves jumping freight trains. His presence is generous, warm, loving, open. Despite his impoverishment–or because of it–his heart is wide open.
A writer recently said that my descriptions of the men I photograph are sentimental, overly emotional, even histrionic. I think he’s displeased by the fact that I don’t always present men as rawly as I can in the pornography I produce.
But in these sessions with men they often reveal aspects of themselves that are usually hidden or blocked.
And with a man like Mowgli, how can I say anything that’s true that won’t seem cloying or false to someone expecting porn? Mowgli, who doesn’t own a television or a computer, who wants nothing materialistic, is a welcome mystery in my life. I shot this image as he looked over with obvious love at Trevor. Nothing hidden, nothing denied, nothing feared.