Man Crush Blog recently interviewed photographer Dylan Rosser. A well-known photographer with over 20 years of experience, Rosser has photographed many models and is known for pushing the envelope with his fascination with the male body and nudity, something that’s been both eye catching and has defined his style. We discussed a variety of topics with Rosser from his origins and reasons for getting into photography to how social media and the modern age is forcing him to promote his work in a different way. Needless to say, some of the images accompanying this interview are NSFW.
Man Crush Blog: If you could photograph anyone currently living or passed on, who would it be and what would that photo shoot look like?
Dylan Rosser: There are so many beautiful men these days on Instagram, it’s kinda overwhelming, so lets rather go back in time and maybe pick someone like James Dean. It would be cool to see one of these black and white movie idols shooting full frontal.
What’s the best tip you can give to aspiring or novice photographers?
Find good models to work with. It really is a joint effort. Shoot what you enjoy and realize that making money from it is not going to be easy.
How do you stay and remain creative?
I like to change it up so after many years shooting inside my apartment in London I got bored of my work, so I moved to Ibiza and started shooting outside with only natural light. Then i started adding lights. Soon I will move back to U.K. to start working more with studio lights again. Or think of a theme to work on. I get bored easily and if i’m not enjoying it then I will generally procrastinate for a bit and then change direction.
You shoot a lot of male nudes. What’s your favorite part of the male body?
This is going to sound crass but I like the penis. So many shapes and sizes. I will not shoot totally shaved dicks. They need to have some bush to frame the dick. And I love abs too. A tight, lean body. I’m not a fan of overly big, muscle, body builder physiques. Oh, and of course a beautiful face.
You’re working with a model that suddenly gets a bit camera shy–how do you get them to ease up and relax for a great shoot?
I never push a model to do anything they feel uncomfortable with but it’s all discussed before the shoot so I know what they are comfortable to shoot–implied, frontal, soft, hard, etc. I’m a shy person myself so I think that helps in some instances to make them feel comfortable. I usually do not show them any pics as I’m shooting but if i feel they need some confidence I will show them a shot in camera so they can see how hot they look, and then they get into it.
When and how did you get into photography?
When I moved to London in 1998. It started as a hobby just when digital cameras were coming out. I would message guys on gay dating app called Gaydar and see if they wanted a free photoshoot. This was a way to teach myself with no expense. Then I started shooting some escorts from the site who had more ripped bodies and it slowly developed from there.
You’ve photographed many different models and have had many different shoots. Which ones stands out as one of your favorites?
I get asked this a lot but after almost 20 years it’s just not possible to choose. Models–like photographers–have sensitive ego’s and by naming one favorite it will upset the others. It’s like when a model posts on social media after shooting with a photographer that it was the best shoot ever. Then every other photographer that has worked with him sheds a tear. [laughs]
In your opinion, what makes a “good” picture?
Good location, good model, good composition, good light, and sometimes just a happy mistake.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I like simplicity. A location can inspire me. A model can inspire me. I think we see so much visual stimulation these day on Instagram and other social media that it’s not just one thing that I can pin point that inspires me.
You’re comfortable with nude photography, but not everyone is. Why do you think there’s still such a stigma surrounding male nudity in our culture.
I’m not really sure. It really depends on your location. I’m lucky to live in Spain and the U.K. and I do not feel it so much. Sometimes I forget that the things for me that are normal, are the things that some people would get offended by. My apartment is full of books of naked men and there is a print on one wall with an erection. I had visitors over once and some people were really shocked. But I’m not changing my décor!
You’ve had to get creative in order to promote your work. Tell us about TheMaleForm.net, tMfMagazine.com, and OnlyFans.com/dylanrosser
I’m not a commercial photographer and so it’s hard to get any paying gigs to shoot nudes. So I had to figure out a way to monetize off my work. TheMaleForm and tMfMagazine eventually became showcases for other photographers and I was just running the sites. There will come a point where those two sites come to an end as I have to do what I enjoy and as soon as I feel like its not working or not fun anymore, I’ll have to take a step back.
Right now I’m focusing on my OnlyFans page. This platform has been amazing for me because I no longer have to worry about what I post and if it is going to get me kicked of Facebook or Instagram. I have so many random left over images from more than a decade of shoots and it gives me a reason to go back and edit now that I have a place to post the content. And sure, it’s nice to make a bit of money from it. It does frustrate me when I get negative comments about being greedy and charging to see dick. People just want everything for free. Why should I not make money from it if it’s my job? That’s how this world works right? You try and make a living.
How have you used social media to promote your work?
With difficulty. [laughs] I use social media to promote my books, prints, OnlyFans page, and so on. But I have to be really careful what I post and these days. You cannot reach many people without paying extra to “boost” the post. But because I’m advertising something that is “adult” in nature I’m not allowed to even pay to boost. So it is hard to reach all the people I’d like to.
How do you feel about other people posting your work on blogs, websites, and sites like Tumblr or Instagram?
It sucks! And the thing is most of the people that do this think it is their right to do so and get very defensive if you ask them to remove the content. Luckily there are ways to contact the companies hosting the site, and I have actually got a few sites permanently shut down. That was not my intention but I think some web hosts do not want the drama and its easier to just ban the user. It is also frustrating on Instagram when my image will get shared and they tag the model and not the photographer. It’s why I usually have a big watermark across them now.
You’ve released several books full of your photos. Any plans for a new one?
I have done about 5 or 6 published books. My last book was called WET (thewetbook.com), and this year my publisher went bankrupt during the process of putting it together. In the end I had to take over the responsibility of distributing the book. It’s a sad time for photo books I think, but i’m confident there are still those few that want to buy a printed book.
Which leads to your next question: what’s ahead for me and my work. My next book project will be called PARADISE and I will be going to Mexico next month to shoot some content for the book. I have some hot models lined up and I will be posting behind the scenes video on my OnlyFans page.
With improving cameras on phones and Instagram, everyone seems to think they are capable of becoming a model or a photographer. How is modern day technology helping and hurting the design and photography craft?
I think it just pushes you to create something special. There is definitely an infinite number of hot guys online now so it helps in finding models. But it’s also the reason I think good quality books or limited edition prints are important because they occupy a space outside of the social media bubble.
Final question: What do you hope to accomplish with your photography and work?
I just want to make a living from doing what I enjoy and get to travel and meet new people. My life is very laid back–I’m not wealthy, but I don’t have to get up at 7 a.m. and take public transport to work and then sit in an office all day. So, I’m quite lucky. I’d like to continue publishing books and maybe one day have an exhibition when the time is right.
All photos courtesy of Dylan Rosser