French photographer Fred Goudon's book "Summer Souvenirs" begins with a picture of a heart drawn in the wet sand with an arrow through it, and indeed you'll find lots to love in his new book from publisher Bruno Gmuender. While Bruno has long published highly erotic coffee table books of male nudes, "Summer Souvenirs" is quite a bit tamer -- but just as nice to look at.
Goudin's photography is highly reminiscent of the work of Bruce Weber, although without the homoerotic pairings and groupings common in Weber's work. Most of the subjects in Goudin's books are handsome, fit men in their twenties, seen engaging in a variety of summer activities: Floating in the pool, jumping into the water at the beach, standing in an outdoor shower or lounging around the beach house.
The men in this 128-page book are nearly all shirtless, with great hair, looking like off-duty lifeguards. They usually pose in underwear or swimwear, although a few doff their kit to show off their flawless gluteus maximus as well. Those hoping for full monty shots of these handsome gents will have to find their penises elsewhere.
Goudon has had several books of his photography published, most notably the 2006 "Les Dieux du Stade," the annual collection of nude and nearly nude French rugby players. He showcases a similarly appealing if not quite so well muscled group of men here.
"Summer Souvenirs" is an aptly named tome and contains a mix of black and white, subtly colored, and brilliantly technicolored photos with vivid turquoises and reds not seen since the sixties. Goudon is a talented photographer who knows how to use water well, whether a model is submerged in it, splashing in it or showering in it.
If there is a flaw in Goudon's book, it is that one wishes he had included a more diverse group of models. There are only a few shots of black models (if the book was shot in France they would most likely not been African-Americans) and apparently not a single Asian visitor was invited to the beach house. There's also another rather creepy series of three shots of a young man in a white bathrobe that looks more like a waxwork figure than an actual human being -- sort of a Robert Pattinson kind of way.
All in all, though, there are many stunningly handsome men to admire in this artistic new collection.
Bruno Gmuender Verlag GmbH