Dawn of the Gods
There aren't many words in this coffee table book, but the ones that are, are well chosen. Louis LaSalle explains that, as the title implies, "Dawn of the Gods" is a tribute to the Greek idol of male beauty as embodies by the enduring sculptures of its Classical Age.
LaSalle modestly claims not to be a photographer, but his ability to texture the human body and his use of light and shading, screams otherwise. Certainly, there are plenty of photos of hot men available at the click of a mouse, but you'd have to look long and hard to find ones with this aesthetic quality.
That's not to say the photos aren't hot; but no one says art and eros can't coexist. OK, maybe some people do, but they're probably not on this website.
Actually, these models only resemble some sculptures of the Greek Classical period. These guys are far bigger than the works most people associate with the period style, such as "The Discus Thrower" or "Apollo Belvedere" that personify the Greek ideal of proportion.
There are certainly sculptures, however, that they do resemble, such as "Laocoon and his Sons" and especially the Farnese Hercules, which has become the ideal of the male bodybuilder.
The Body As Architecture
LaSalle constructs many of the photographs in such a way that the models almost cease to become human. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but the result is the male body as architecture.
That is, the body is not a subject for contemplation of generation and decay, but something solid and permanent.
The Full Monty
Most of the photos are NSFE; that is, "not safe for EDGE." Sorry, but no frontal nudity or exposed backsides. You’ll just have to get the book, because the vast majority of photos show one or the other.
What I can reveal is that most of the guys are very well endowed -- so much for juicing causing protraction "down there" (and there’s no question that several of these guys have used "enhancements"). They’re also to a man extremely handsome.
Who said life was fair?
Sectioning the Body
In several of the photographs, LaSalle does something very interesting that I’ve seen in few other photo books of male erotic art: He zeroes in on one part of the model’s body. It’s like a Dutch still-life painter of the Golden Age painting one apple instead of a whole spread of food.
This may be one of those books you’ll put back on the shelf when Aunt Edna is visiting (although you never know: Aunt Edna might get off on it). But the rest of the time, this can sit prominently on your coffee table, but it won’t stay there long when your friends arrive.
"Dawn of the Gods"
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published by Bruno Gmünder