I always think that Matthias Vriens is the father of “gay chic”. He pioneered the use of gay aesthetics in the high fashion. I always find a money shot in his photos. He was born and raised in Amsterdam. Matthias Vriens is a photographer for Numero, Numero Homme, Vogue Homme International, The New York Times magazine, i-D and The Face and dozens of other magazines, and he‘s art director of the Jil Sander ad campaign. He was also worked as the for Armani and Gucci. He was the art director of one of my favourite Fall 2000 Gucci ads- “the erection ad” where Caroline Rebeiro was kneeling and the guy’s standing behind her had a huge hard on. He was also the famous photographer who shot the controversial Eminem in pink tank top cover.
Here are some excerpt of his interview on Butt Magazine:
“I’ve always worked in the visual arts. It’s not like I’m starting a restaurant tomorrow. And photography fits me really well. It’s very close to my fascination with people, the flirting, and the sexual approach. Be it a boy or a girl, I’m always making sexy images. It’s not always divine, of course, what I do. Yesterday I shot for a Korean catalogue. That pays the rent, but nobody will ever see it. I’m not saying they were bad pictures, but of course it’s not the most fantastic series I’ve ever made. Anyway, I’m definitely continuing with photography.
I did art direction for the Jil Sander campaign cause Milan asked me. First I said no. Then he said: but Richard Avedon is shooting the campaign. Now, I would be a complete asshole if I’d say no to working with Avedon. I’d never met the man and now we’re working together, that’s fantastic.
I love New York, but an American boyfriend is not something I could envision. Also, if you look the way I look, you’re absolutely unsuccessful in Chelsea: I don’t have big boobs, or pierced nipples or tattoos or a shaved head. Look at the way I dress. I thought I’d never find a boyfriend in New York. But that’s where I met Francesco.
I thought the cover with Eminem wearing the pink tank top looked amazing. I did retouch him, yes; I changed his tank top from red to pink. Because the logo of The Face is red, and his T-shirt was red. I thought it was a little ton-sur-ton, so, let’s make it pink! He looked like the modern version of Saint Sebastian in that picture, with the armpits up. I thought he looked beautiful and sexy. And I think the publicists should have kept their mouths shut about it, then everybody would have said: hey cool, Eminem’s wearing a pink shirt, may be he wants to do something about his homophobic image. They just shouldn’t have made a fuss about it. But maybe I’m just privileged and I pursue fashion as...‘cause Tom Ford does pink and Helmut Lang designs pink suits for men, and people actually wear that, and I think that’s normal. If I see Eminem wear a shocking turquoise sweater with a matching headband, then I perceive that as much more queeny and much more gay than him looking good in a pink tanktop. Not that it never crossed my mind, of course, like, oh my god, he’s wearing pink. I’m not stupid.
......Well, for me the essence of my pics is that there’s always a certain amount of sexuality, even if it’s a still life. Not that everything turns into something incredibly phallic, but I love life and people and I love sex. I like sexy pictures. I get turned on more by a spark in the eye, though, not by these Chelsea guys with piercings and bubble butts. "