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The development of homoerotic photography has its distinct history and has been for quite a long time treated as indecent or vulgar. Starting from the beginning of the 20th century the primary source of inspiration came from the Ancient Greece and the adornment and exaltation of the human (male) body. The homoerotic iconography changed over the years and despite the domination of the muscular bodies so typical for fashion campaigns and advertising, the presence of other body types seem to be lurking in contemporary photographic practice.
Through the conceptual works of young Greek artist Helias Doulis hoover both the ancient concepts, as well as current matters of alienation and different kind of male sensibility. Mostly nudes, his images recall a long tradition of queer celebration of (suppressed) desire, longing and anxiety.
A Bright Photographic Star
Helias Doulis was born in 1993 in Greece. After finishing his film studies, he started working with photography by actively exhibiting, and presenting his works in various digital and print publications. Doulis collaborated with various commercial clients among one the important was a fashion house Ralph Lauren for which he released the photographic presentation of their new campaign in Europe and America. The artist is currently collaborating the porn star Colby Keller, and recently Doulis produced his first cinematographic feature titled The Nest, which is a unique and semi-autobiographical project.
The Queer Narratives of Helias Doulis
Although quite young, Doulis carefully selects his references from the cinematic works of Pedro Almodovar and Derek Jarman, over photography of George Platt Lyne to the poetry of Constantine P. Cavafy, and Nikos-Alexis Aslanoglou. By constructing his authentic aesthetic and embracing queer art history, the artist creates conceptually strong and emotionally saturated works full of nostalgia.
Furthermore, his practice reflects a socially charged agenda based on displaying nude bodies in hidden places; a beautiful, yet serene compositions evoke ancient traditions and underline how queer bodies are still being discriminated and deployed from free sexual expression. Doulis explores boundaries between reality and the fantasy or, in better words, rather he creates a utopia where hidden desires and cravings are possible aside from social conventions.
All images copyright of Helias Doulis.
Article written by Vladimir Bjelicic