Photographer, Visual Artist
1955 – 2009
Who was Luke Smalley?
Luke Smalley was a United States photographer known for capturing boys in adolescence and as a talented art director famous for creating "playful images that explored the intersections between fashion and masculinity". His work, which pairs a coolly minimalist aesthetic with a retro nostalgia, centers around his tongue-in-cheek take on the journey for truth inside the lives of small town youth, especially athletic, all-American, young men. Many of the photographs are homoerotic, yet sexually ambivalent and never perverse. Images from his earlier collections were inspired by fitness manuals and yearbooks circa 1910. This is not surprising since Smalley graduated with a degree in sports medicine from Pepperdine University and worked for a number of years as a model and personal trainer. Smalley shot his the artistic portraits in his home state of Pennsylvania. He used real high school athletes as models, who engaged in unusual competitions reinvented by the photographer, who also designed and crafted some of the outfits and equipments.
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