Mark Morgan photography

gay male photography by photographer Mark Morgan, based in London

Sixties, Seventies and Eighties photography project

I’ve created a set of photos in the styles of photographers selling pictures to the gay market in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Another stay-at-home project in the lockdown, along with making good progress in my home gym. A bit of fun too, both reverse engineering the photographic techniques and getting the old rags out of cupboards and drawers.

Taster montage
Taster montage
Taster montage

Starting with the gladiator style of Bob Mizer’s Athletic Model Guild (AMG) in California in the Sixties, the time and place where Sword and Sandal movies would have been casting.
Chronologically next is a scene in rugby kit in the style of Basil Clavering’s Studio Royale and Hussar Studio of London’s Sixties and Seventies. Many of his models were serving in HM Forces and thus were familiar with military discipline.
Alex McKenna’s Zipper magazine launched in 1977 and featured muscled men, often in bedroom scenes. Zipper wasn’t on open sale so it could push the boundaries of what was acceptable for publication but even so, it was rare to see photos of two men together.
Then a pair of contrasting portraits in styles used by Robert Mapplethorpe for his highly-produced portraits of players on the New York leather scene in the 1980s. A formal analytical portrait and a leatherman at home.
My staircase pose uses the casual style of the 1980s London leather scene as it was emerging from punk and skinhead sub-cultures and finding its home in Heaven’s Cellar bar and other places.
All images of and photographed by myself. The gear is original, either mine or inherited as a result of the AIDS epidemic. I’ve used two prime lenses only for this project, 35mm and 55mm, with my D500 digital camera (APS-C sensor) working in monochrome.
Photographers of those eras had a choice of 35mm or 2¼” film; indoors they used flash or tungsten light with reflectors or diffusion; those working in monochrome could use coloured filters to change the toning. I’ve finished my images in Photoshop, the photographers and magazines of the period would have retouched directly on the negatives, prints or colour transparencies.

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My evil twin

Six fantasy composite images by Mark Morgan, contributed to GPN’s “Looking the Other Way” exhibition at the Espacio Gallery, Bethnal Green Road, London E2 in October 2019

Evil Twin montage 01 Evil Twin montage 02 Evil Twin montage 03
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More about Mark Morgan

Photographs by Morgan appeared on covers as well as pages of various fetish magazines in the 1980s and 1990s, including Toy (Germany), Checkmate (US) and Projet X (France); he contributed photographs to the original Fetters UK and US catalogues.
Gay Photographers Network’s “Looking the Other Way” exhibition in October 2019 is the first time Morgan has exhibited publicly since “Dungeon in the Sky” in September 1996.
Morgan’s book “More and Harder” (1999) sold out in two paperback editions published by Idol, an imprint of Virgin Publishing, and continues to be available as a digital download.


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