‘Body & Soul’ ready to bare all for gay Atlanta

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It’s a risqué celebration of the male form – and no longer a kept secret. Gay Atlanta photographer Bob Burkhardt returns with his increasingly buzzworthy 'Body & Soul' show that offers enough sexy flesh to pack his Kirkwood gallery.

With models and artists on hand, the opening reception for the show always provides for a fun evening. And Burkhardt's work – celebrated in a new book and a few Morning Fix appearances – always raises the temperature. So ahead of “Body & Soul's” opening on Saturday, we caught up with Burkhardt to discuss how he keeps it so sexy, where he finds the models and a few special surprises he has planned.

This is your sixth “Body & Soul.” What’s new this year?

There really isn’t anything different from what we’ve done in the past, but I do think we are defining what we do. It’s our biggest event of the year, with a capacity crowd. It’s a celebration of fine art male nudes.  We’ll have all new photos and an erotic video by Drew Davis. My coffee table book will be out, as well as my calendars, and we’ll have some nice eye candy around. If you like what I do, you’ll see what you’ve come to expect from this. It’s maybe a little more erotic than what I’ve done in the past, though.  

How long have videographer Drew Davis and photographer Trevor Green been working with you? 

I believe for Trevor, this is his third year and for Drew, his second.

Who are the models we can expect this year? 

We are featuring Brandon Akins, Kai Bell, Ak Brown, Brad Cato, Denerick Lindsey and XL (who Burkhardt met while he was doing still photography for Black Rayne Productions, a local company which produces gay male adult material).

How do you find these sexy creatures? 

I look on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, social media. That’s primarily where. Some of these gentlemen have hired me for shoots. I meet people through the work I do at Black Rayne. But sometimes they find us! I truly don’t go out and seek people for the show. 

Are your models always receptive to dropping their clothes? 

They generally are, particularly if they are in the porn industry. They are not uptight about showing their body. 

Are these men local?

These models are all exclusive to Atlanta. Some have modeled for Trevor before, and some for me.  We’ve both worked with Denerick many times. But in working within the black community, in terms of men and models, it becomes a small group so we share.

How do you approach curating this and finding the right mix of men? 

The show has gone through a lot of phases over the years. The first time I did it, it was in conjunction with a modeling agency so it was a cross section of men and women. But I tend to shoot mostly African-American men. I kind of let it go where it would eventually leads I have shot some Hispanic men and some Caucasian men but not recently. 

Is it important that they be gay?

That’s not important at all. It’s about what they bring to the photos. 

How do you keep it sexy? 

It’s really what I find in the photos. I try to have some kind of story, not be so blatant, and hopefully that is what the viewer sees. I am not looking to do pornography; I like to be more subjective than that. 

Tell us about the video that will be premiering during the show on Saturday.

I just saw it for the first time today. Drew is still working on it. It’s being refined. It’s a single person in the video but he is imagining himself in an erotic situation. It’s a cross between reality and fantasy.

This kind of show isn’t commonplace, correct?

I don’t know of any Atlanta galleries that do a show like this. I know there are some that do erotic events and have body paintings, but I don’t know any art galleries that have an event like this. It’s not something you’re going to see anywhere else!

“Body & Soul” opens at gay-owned pb&j gallery with a reception including artists and models on Saturday, Feb. 20. The show runs through March 18.

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