PETER BERLiN (aka Armin Hagen Freiherr von Hoyhingen-Huene) is a notorious gay porn star of the early 1970s, best known for his groundbreaking films THAT BOY and NiGHTS iN BLACK LEATHER. He is also my number one iNFLUENCE in terms of figures who helped shape my outlook on sexuality and what alluring means to me. He certainly made this boy appreciate the art of how to dress seductively – in a way that presses all my right buttons. These influences have undeniably found there way into my own photography – as not only can I relate to his methods (he is an incredibly private man who did his self-portrait work alone) but I also relate to his sensibility that the male body is actually sexier when dressed provocatively. His alter ego, better known as PETER BERLiN is not unlike my own CC TRUBiAK, in that I take from the idea that if utilized effectively, clothing can enhance a character and even provoke because they are often an extension of who we are. Never having been one to get too excited over full-on nudity – I am and remain considerably more affected and turned on by revealing and alluring clothes that enhance what are my favorite parts of the male physic. Even in today’s over-saturated world of porn I find his erotic images timeless in their raw sexuality – and therefore they have a bigger impact than the plethora of male nude images floating around on the net. What they lack comparatively to say the imagery of PETER BERLiN is what BERLiN did best : highly suggestive clothing cloaked in full-on hedonism.
Not only a photographer/porn star he’s an intelligent man with a sensibility I also relate to regarding the working process of photography. What is less known is that the countless covers and photo layouts of PETER BERLiN in gay magazines through the late 1980s were all taken by BERLiN who is himself a professional photographer. His assignments routinely took him to Paris, Rome and London where he photographed celebrities including SOPHiA LOREN, CATHERiNE DENEUVE, JEAN-PAUL BELMONDO, BRiGiTTE BARDOT, ALFRED HiTCHCOCK, JEANNE MOREAU, MAURiCE CHEVALiER, RiCHARD WiDMARK and the clothes designers: PiERRE CARDiN, KARL LAGERFELD and VALENTiNO.When BERLiN turned the camera on himself, he played each of two roles on different halves of the separately exposed negatives wearing his hallmark crotch grabbing costumes (all designed and executed by BERLiN). Even less known, is that PETER BERLiN is a gifted graphic artist. When the handling of black and white negatives in the darkroom occasionally resulted in prints that were slightly underexposed and grayish, he used his touch up pen and brush to darken the lines and increase the contrast. Soon he was using oils, acrylics and watercolors permitting him to enhance, embellish as well as colorize his black and white prints.The next step was the complete transformation or elimination of the backgrounds. He also started cutting up his photographs and creating collages with single or multiple self-images using different backgrounds from magazines including their covers and interior street and nature scenes. BERLiN’S talent as a graphic artist is perhaps best shown in his detailed pencil drawings which are well represented in this first exhibition of PETER BERLiN’S. The body of PETER BERLiN’S creative work defies easy characterization. He challenges conventional notions of art and pornography and is perhaps alone with TOM of FiNLAND in having created iconic images of masculine drag.
For PETER BERLiN’S official website, go to www.peter-berlin.com.