PAUL’S PHOTOS || Charlie

In America, when we say “vintner” we mean winemaker. He used the word vintner and took care to explain that he didn’t mean someone who sold wine. He’s proud of what he does.

He was probably more nervous than any man I’ve worked with before.  So I settled for just a couple of very simple poses.  I think his nervousness was actually deep fear.  This was an enormous leap for him.

You can see his tension in the hand fisted behind his back. We had to stop several times to wipe streams of sweat from his torso. By the end of the shoot a small towel was soaked with his sweat.


That’s Pony in the background holding a light. Pony is learning how to shoot video pornography at TIM, and working in photography is an enormous help in coming to understand how to work with men at their most vulnerable and open.

His name is Charlie and he lives in Napa, northeast of San Francisco.  I won’t say that he was simple: no man is simple.  But the conversation we had was halting at best and he was most at ease talking about soil. He felt neither sexual nor emotional nor intellectual to me.  He felt purely and wonderfully and simply physical.  It was refreshing.

For the ancient Greeks and Romans a man’s full, heavy and hanging genitals were often used as a symbolic correlate to the heaviness of a bunch of grapes hanging ripe and full on the vine. The potential inherent in fertility, the seeds of eventual complexity and intoxication. In a way that was the antithesis of pornographic, this man’s identity was centered, heavy and filled with latent potential, in his loins.


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