All of the photos in this post are from Les' beautiful Bondage & Ballet project.
"...While objectively the two are miles apart, they aesthetically rely (almost exclusively) on the body itself as the focal point of the image. Both do have some sort of clothing or gear associated with them, but ultimately it’s the body that expresses the desired emotion. There’s no hiding behind props or elaborate costumes – the body dictates feeling."
Hmmm… anyone who’s creative, body confident and willing to let me dress them up. But if I had to pick from the world of celebrities, Julian McMahon, Jon Hamm or Jake Gyllenhaal would be fun. But I’m more drawn to less conventional beauty – François Sagat, Trevor Wayne, Jey Crisfar. They’d all be fun to work with.
In all of history, from past to present, what photograph do you wish you snapped?
There was a black and white photo of Carolina Herrera from the early 1990’s that is burned into my memory forever, that I think might have been Herb Ritts work, but I can’t recall for sure. And there’s an Edward Steichen photo of Greta Garbo from 1928 that isn’t particularly extraordinary for it’s technique, but there’s this haunted look in her face, and this dark mood to the photo that stuns me to no end every time I see it.
Creatively, everything visual strikes me. As indifferent as I am to trends in fashion for myself, I love the evolution of design, and the artistry to couture, architecture, product design, etc. Not just for the functional design, but the thought behind what influences that design. In my younger days, I worked in advertising and marketing and I got to see what sort of emotion goes into purchasing decisions, and to this day I can’t see anything in a store without thinking of the work that went into it. At the basest level, though, I am a professional voyeur. I probably look at bodies in a way that’s probably different than most people – I realized some time ago that I look at people sometimes as an objective set of parts. I think that’s why I’m not usually drawn to traditionally “pretty” people. Models in an Abercrombie ad will look good no matter who is photographing them, or what they’re wearing. They don’t need my help.
What’s next for Les Sterling?
Moving pictures… I’ve been trying to elude video/cinema for 15 years, but I’m finally succumbing to its warm embrace. I’ve played with it as a visual medium for years, but I’d never found anything to say with it until recently. I’m a huge movie geek, from an audience perspective, and while I might steer clear of narrative for a while, I’m drawn to it as an experimental medium.
And thank you, Les, for being so generous with your time and your art!