Bear's Art: Why do you make photography? What are your purpose and your motivation?
Gian Orso: Mmm good question. I can only answer: because it's my lifetime passion, I can't help it.
Many years ago I starte with making artworks, always with nude male subjects, but I was copying from photos of american erotic magazines like Colt and I was feeling the frustration of not making original works, but just copies.
So, one day, with the first money I earned from my job, I've bough my first proper camera and I decided to take my own photos.
Bear's Art: How did you start photographing men?
Gian Orso: The beginning hasn't been very easy. No one wanted to let me take pics of them.
Then a very good friend of mine accepted to pose for me and one late evening we played with my new camera, playing with lights, several jocks and boots..... it happened 25 years ago.
After him there were other friends, friends of friends, lovers of friends..... and so on till nowadays.
Bear's Art: How do you find your models? Is there any special relation between you and your models?
Gian Orso: There was a time I was looking for guys almost everywhere, bars, chats, parties.
After the creating of the webpage things have changed a lot.
Now I get mails of guys who want to pose, or get contacted through my profiles on Bearwww.com, Flickr.com.
About the relationship with the guys posing for me, with very few I have a long time friendship that goes much further the simple "professional" photo session. Most of the times guys come, pose for the photos and then disappear. Once I was thinking that taking the photos was creating something special, but I've realized quite soon I was wrong.
Bear's Art: What’s your approach to the bear community? How do you see it evolving further?
Gian Orso: I've been part of the Italian Bear Community for such a long time!
I was after the first years of the parties organized in Rome, promoting the "new" bears scene that was rising up in the USA. I am talking about the early 90's.
At a certain point the fun ended, the money started to become the main reason of several groups....and I went away.
At the moment I rarely go to any bars or parties, so I can't say how the whole scene is evolving.
Bear's Art: How do your desires and fantasies project on your art?
Gian Orso: They are integrant part of my photographic research. I can't think of taking photos without involving my sexual fantasies, my personal projection on the guys that are in front of my lens.
Bear's Art: Can you tell us what your definition of “male beauty” is?
Gian Orso: My personal credo is "Beauty is where you find it".
As you can easily guess from a quick look at my photos I am attracted by big guys, I find them absolutely handsome, sensual, attractive.
But how can I explain to the world that fancy Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp that I fancy John Goodman?
Bear's Art: Can you tell us more about the way you create your compositions?
Gian Orso: A lot depends on how the guys posing deal with the camera, how they are comfortable with the being naked and most important comfortable with their own bodies.
I usually have several ideas about how compose a portrait, but at the same time I am extremely flexible about the possibilities to change everything if is functional to the final result
Bear's Art: What do you prefer, color or black and white photography?
Gian Orso: Black and white will always be my first choice when editing the photos.
I am absolutely enchanted by the visual power that black and white has on viewers.
From a couple of years I am using the cross processing to edit my colors portraits.
It's fascinating how some photos increase of beauty and interestingness with a different editing.
Bear's Art: Are you influenced by any photographers or artists?
Gian Orso: Of course! Herb Ritts and Robert Mapplethorpe are probably the main reason I became a photographer.
But there are many others that have influenced my likes, my way of creating portraits: Horst, Avedon, Newton, Hurrell, the great photographers of the Hollywood stars of the 40's-50's.
Bear's Art: What projects are you working on currently?
Gian Orso: There is a project that I am working on since few months dedicated to the many different grades of affection between two men. They can be lovers, friends, ex lovers..... but there is certainly something special between them, that I am trying to fix on photos.
Bear's Art: Apart from art and photography what other things do you enjoy?
Gian Orso: I love watching movies, listening to music and cooking.
Bear's Art: How do you promote yourself? Do social media have a role in that? Are you active on any online photography communities or websites?
Gian Orso: I have never been particularly good in self promoting :-)
I leave my webpage do most of the promoting job.
And to the almost daily uploading of photos on Flickr.com, where there is a big, worldwide community of guys with similar likes and taste in both men and photography.
Bear's Art: How do you make a model relax for the photo session if he’s tensed?
Gian Orso: Usually with talking and talking and talking.... about anything, while listening some music and joking about the posing. It's important to make them relax and enjoy what they are doing. 99% of the times it works.
Just few times the session went horribly wrong.
But that's another story :-)
Bear's Art: Tell us about the technical part: what cameras/ lens/ light sources do you use? Do you have your own studio?
Gian Orso: I use two Nikon cameras D 300 and D 200 with various Nikon lenses but mostly I use a Nikon zoom 18-200 DX VR so I have a wide range of possibilities from portraits to full body without exchanging lenses.
My home is my own studio ! :-)
I have bought several accessories to build a photographic set in little time, with backsheets, lamps and reflecting panels, that transform my living room in a studio.
Bear's Art: Where can we find you online?