Michael Stokes is no stranger to controversy. The Los Angeles-based photographer has been fighting internet censorship for years as he showcases the male body in its rawest form, combining its sexual allure with its heroism and resilience. His newest book, “Deconstructed,” is no exception.
The collection of hand-picked photos differs from Stokes’ usual style, focusing on behind-the-scenes and unpolished moments of a photo shoot. Verisimilitude takes priority over well-crafted compositions and figure study, and the images are mixed with candid, silly, and sometimes revealing pictures.
Stokes has a personal connection to his subjects, and his presentations of them as unashamedly erotic and powerful have been called inspirational. In his Kickstarter campaign for “Deconstructed,” Stokes says he uses the crowdfunding platform to get an idea of how many books to print, keep the publishing costs down, and provide a fun way for people to watch an art project actualize.
“Pledge and then follow me through the process of publishing and distributing your coffee table books,” Stokes says on his Kickstarter page. “I oversee the layout, personally go to Italy to supervise the printing, and when the books arrive in the United States, I even help my packers pack the books for shipping.”
The photos in the Kickstarter campaign are just a sample of what will be in the books, and intimate and exclusive photos are reserved for supporters. Stokes’ mission to showcase the male body in all its forms continues with “Deconstructed.”