Thursday, March 8, 2012

THE MAN WITH THE HARING TATTOOS
















In the summer of 1988, I went to New York City to visit my best friend from the 80’s era, Patrick Maropis, whom I had met when he lived in Washington DC at 1220 L Street. We were both working in the building, though for different companies, and I still remember how fascinated I was with everything about him. He had a distinct walk, a distinct style, and a beautiful head of hair that naturally fell in spirals. One day, I saw him at a nightclub and overcame my shyness to introduce myself, unaware that this would lead to a long friendship and an intense period of emotional growth for me.  The original plan was for us both to move to New York, but the opportunity to do so came sooner for him than I was mentally ready for, so off he went.

Patrick represents a number of firsts for me; he was the first friend I had who was not originally from the DC area, he was the first friend I had to buy a CD player, and he introduced me to the works of Keith Haring, whom he had a great affinity for. When I went to visit him in 1988, he took me to the Pop Shop in Soho and I bought my first Keith Haring T Shirts, one of which I still have today. There is something about Haring’s work that reaches people on a scale far grander than might have been expected, given the mislabeled simplicity of his drawings. It is a fond memory of an era where my life seemed simpler, easier and far more carefree, and one that I cherish.

Flash forward to early 2010. I am at my computer viewing the works of photographers on Model Mayhem and I come across an image of a man whose body is adorned with the works of Keith Haring, the characters seeming to dance down his arm. It is a self portrait I find so captivating that I want to see more of his work. The images are bold, erotic, confrontational, soft, sensual, and every manner of adjective in between. I am instantly hooked.


There is a certain element in the images of photographers who are devoted to their craft, and this is pushed to the next level when that expression is presented without fear of judgment, pretense or the desire to cater to any sensibility other than the artists’ own. Haringman shoots what appeals to his own sense of creativity and the resulting images reflect a style that remains original regardless of the influences that have shaped it. He is also one of those rare artists that can straddle the line between art and erotica, even combining the two seamlessly, and then switch over to portraiture or commercial work without compromising his personal sense of style or flair.





As with any form of art, there are always those individuals whose work resonates in a manner that pulls people in for a variety of reasons and is instantly recognizable as their own. Justin Monroe has carved out his place in this niche, as have Kingdom 19, Rick Day, Luis Rafael, Thomas Synnamon, Tom Bianchi, the late Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, the late Mapplethorpe and a host of others. I concentrated on a few that were noted for some of their male images, and I am including Haringman in this list. His use of lighting, his poses, the energy within the photos, the angles, the colors and tone and the diversity of his model choices all combine to form a body of work that is worth admiring and already influencing the style of other up and coming photographers. 


©2012 - Sean Dibble

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