My relationship with nudity and the male body has grown in a very natural way during my life. Skin has been a part of my job as a photographer for a long time. I’m interested in discovering how something so beautiful and unique such as the human body has the ability to connect deeply within people throughout the erotic and romantic.
Raphael and I met ten years ago, and together we’ve seen how our bodies have changed. We met in Venezuela when we both were 17, and I was a skinny effeminate teenager that hadn't visited a gym once in his life. It was interesting to explore the erotic aspect of myself through him and being able to learn how to feel comfortable with my own nature. Now when I'm 27, I’ve changed a lot. I now weigh 163 lbs and I’m 5'9 with a body that fits the masculine canon. The insecurities we all experience at times do show up, especially being a gay man living in the age of Instagram.
If there’s something I have learned with time is that it’s not easy to feel comfortable inside your skin when you search for personal approval in other’s opinions. It took me so long to realize and it’s still something I’m working on. Nowadays I can safely admit that I love my naked body and its imperfections. I’m no longer bothered by stretch marks or gaining a few extra pounds, as these elements make a body more attractive for me, the marks of it's past, it's history.
Getting to know the sensuality of a body, it's way to communicate it's feelings and sensations, it’s something that I had learned while being next to Rafael. To touch his chest, to smell his scent in the morning, to kiss his mouth and lick his abdomen, those are things I still enjoy as if we were 17-year-old. Our skins are blended, connected, and there’s nothing I would feel ashamed about in front of him.
My first conscious approach to my skin was as a child, when I had my first notable scar on my left cheekbone. I never had a complex about it and I wear it with pride. However, in relation to my body, it was not easy to coexist. I was always thin, long and with a “fragile” aspect. When adolescence arrived, I noticed how my friends changed, looking more manly and strong, while I remained the same, with a pronounced waist and a hairless body.
I grew up listening to comments about how thin I looked, the kilos I had to gain, diets and routines to follow, etc. It was when at 17 I met Erick, free of complexes and him fascinated with my appearance, giving me that rush of self-esteem from the first moment, helping me to leave all that behind.
It's been 10 years since that meeting and clearly my body has changed. Having now a more "masculine" figure, complexes of the past reappear from time to time, which concludes that this battle has always been me against myself. I have learned to love myself more, respect and accept myself as I am.
Erick enhances this well-being, it is rich to undress in front of him and show me as I am, without fear or concern. That same kid from 10 years ago. Our skins have changed, but feelings and emotions remain intact.
Photography Marco Vera
Art Direction Pelayo Voullieme
Make up Liseudis Ruiz