Michael Alago brings ‘Rough Gods’ to Atlanta

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Do you enjoy images of hot men? Does the thought of one hanging out in a jockstrap at a gallery get you excited about art? If you answered “yes,” meet photographer Michael Alago, who shows “Rough Gods” in Atlanta on Friday to benefit Joining Hearts.

The photographer behind “Rough Gods” and the follow-up book “Brutal Truths” has already lived a life’s worth of adventures through his career in the music industry, working with artists from White Zombie to Nina Simone and Michael Feinstein to Cyndi Lauper. In 2003, Alago (top photo) found himself being pulled toward photography and decided to follow his bliss.

That bliss (among other things) inspired him to photograph sexy, muscular men, and the stunning “Rough Gods” collection was the result. Alago released a follow-up book, “Brutal Truths,” last year, and he is bringing some of his sexy inspiration with him to Atlanta, jockstraps and all.

Alago’s “Rough Gods” gallery show on Friday at i.d. Lab is just $5 to attend, which goes to the locally loved charitable efforts of Joining Hearts. The event features DJ Chris Griswold.

The photographer chatted us up about the models he is bringing with him (Seth Fornea and Tim Adonis, second and third photos), working with Lauper, and his interest in photographing hot ginger studs.

Other than hot men, what inspires you as a photographer?
My love of photographs from a very young age and the stories that they tell always inspires me. I love looking at family albums and always keep up with my contemporaries to see what they are up to and that inspires me to work hard and make better pictures each and every time.

Tell us about your creative process?
The creative process starts the moment I ask a man to be photographed. I like to meet [a man] first so I get a sense of [who he is]. I can look at his face and body and decide what kind of portrait I want to take. It helps if [the men] are exhibitionists and want to show off for the camera, so I then get a variety of types of images.

What advice would you give those who feel pulled in several creative directions?
I think when a creative person is being pulled in a number of directions, I feel you need to focus on the one thing that you are best at and that gives you the greatest pleasure, and you are sure to shine and become a success. All of that requires hard and consistent work.

You were the A&R executive for Cyndi Lauper’s “Memphis Blues.” What are your favorite memories of that experience?
There are so many great stories, but I love telling people about the day she called and, in that fabulous “Cyndi” voice, said, “Ya know, Michael, I know you are a great A&R man and have made Metallica rekkids, but have you ever made a blues rekkid?” and I said, “No, Cyn, have you?” She said, “No, but it has been a dream.” So I said, “Okay, we’re even! Now let’s make a fabulous record.” [Laughs.]

All that said, we sat in her kitchen for many evenings with our computers open, eating Chinese food, talking. We had lots of vinyl on the floor of her living room and started re-listening to famous women blues artist as well as men, but we were looking for stories that women were telling that Cyndi could relate to, so we really went through hundreds of songs and kept narrowing down the list until we came up with about 15 tunes she wanted to record.

What do you have in store for us for the Atlanta signing?
The Atlanta exhibit is going to be wonderful and chock full of handsome images. I am sure there are around 40 images to feast your eyes on and two of my sexiest models, Seth Fornea and Tim Adonis, will be there to meet and greet the crowds. Seth is that gorgeous redhead and my friend, Tim, is a big delicious man and one of my all-time favorite people as well. There are going to be various jockstraps displayed that I have collected and exhibited in a very unique way as well … and that’s all I will say about that.

I look forward to the potential rough gods that Atlanta has to show me as well. I am bringing “Brutal Truth” and “Rough Gods” books to sign at the opening and some t-shirts too, so all that will be fun.

What’s next for you?
Right now, I am working on a new poetry/observations book with my dearest friend and writing partner, Mina Caputo, and shooting pictures for my third book that I hope to have out this Christmas 2012. I’d love to do a book of red-headed men, so if there are any hot red heads in Atlanta who want to be photographed while I am in town, they should get in touch with me by {encode=”[email protected]” title=”e-mail”}.

Alago photo by Scott Barnes. All others by Michael Alago. Learn more about Alago’s work online.

imageBuck Cooke is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. He comes armed with a passion for pop culture and rabid appetite for arts and entertainment, scouring the landscape for treasures in music, TV, books and cinema.


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