Roy Blakey's 1970's male nudes
Working in the tradition of the pre-eminent photographer George Platt Lynes, Blakey's dramatically lit images were photographed in the 1970's. Unlike Lynes, Blakey used no props in his photographs, only stark backgrounds to accentuate the male form. In 1972, Blakey's nonparil images were published in the first monograph of all male nudes entitled He. This first of its kind book set Blakey apart from other photographers, including the esteemed George Platt Lynes who sold his work only to private collectors that included the famed Alfred Kinsey.
Blakey, who toured the world as a professional ice skater, settled in New York City in 1967. He opened a photographic studio in lower Manhatten that became "the" destination for actors, dancers, and entertainers needing portfolios created. As a personal project Blakey began photographing male nudes in exchange for professional portfolios. These photo sessions were a creative challenge for Blakey and his models since Blakey would not use props or items of clothing. After the book's debut, Blakey's images were found in After Dark and many other magazines.
After spending twenty-five years in NYC, Blakey relocated to Minneapolis, where he shares a photography studio with his niece. For two decades his images of male nudes languished in boxes. In the late 1990's he received an email from Reed Massengill, a writer and photographer, who suggested that Blakey's images should be published and exhibited for a new generation that never had a chance to view them.