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My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

Piccolo Diavolo: photographer Drasko Bogdanovic knows there is a little devil in everyone

"Bodies are beautiful and sexuality should be celebrated as much as possible. When creating these pieces, I went back to what excited me about photography. The immediacy of it, the form, the chemistry with the model at that moment, the way light shapes the body, the way skin reflects it," says photographer Drasko Bogdanovic of his upcoming exhibition Piccolo Diavolo.

Piccolo Diavolo is an Italian phrase that means angel sitting on one shoulder, the devil on the other, so the concept was to create a sexy, naughty/nice cocktail reception with a photography sale that would benefit The 519. When Laurent Fort, host of the event approached me about a benefit for The 519, I said yes without even asking much. Knowing what the centre does, how much they are involved in the community, the programs that they offer, it was a really easy decision. I've always participated in charity events: SNAP! the auction for ACT, ArtAttack that supports Buddies..."

The lure of Piccolo Diavolo, aside from the excitement of viewing some brand new Bogdanovic images, is the chance to purchase a limited edition print of one's own. "There are only four prints of each photo," explains Bogdanovic. "They are signed and numbered, and once they sell out, I won't be making any more. It makes them collector's items. They are 14 x 17 inches printed on museum quality archive paper and they are all $300 each."

The prints may not be ideal for the walls of the sexually inhibitied, as Bogdanovic explains in his website bio,

Male sex appeal, unvocalized desires, kink, perversion and all that is considered naughty, and not right, is Drasko Bogdanovic . . . His subjects are raw, a little filthy - the message is to the point. Inspired by film noir and German sexual proclivities, Drasko is credited with his ability to expose the raw, often-missed angles of sexuality. Whether still or motion photography, the message is simple - there are no rules, sexuality has no bounds, all is right with the perverse.

Bogdanovic's erotic explicitness has previously made galleries skittish. It was to their detriment, his show Submission at Buddies (who are themselves refuse to acknowledge sexual shame or boundaries) was a major hit and his book, Persuasion of Men, sold out. "The 519 have been really good about it," says Bogdanovic. "They gave me full freedom to exhibit whatever I wanted, which is always liberating. I decided to create lots of new material, which will be shown for the first time. Yes, some photos are explicit, but I personally never limit myself with what to shoot. Those type of taboos of 'What is too much?' or 'How far is OK?' actually inspire me."

Piccolo Diavolo also features selections from, and sales of, the book RM. XIV which features model/actor Mark Mackillop in underwear sprawled provocatively in 14 different hotel rooms. 

Bogdanovic's self-portraits are more art than selfie and are also usually much more explicit. Bogdampvic won't comment on other photographers' work but he is happy to expound on his own obsessions, "Sometimes the boundary between erotica and porn changes due to time and place.Sometimes, even the slightest, most subtle gestures can change image to something else, it can become political statement or erotic, just like that."

Even commercial work, which Bogdanovic also excels at, gets that extra sprinkling of glittery scopophilia, "When it comes to work like that I always have a need to balance it with something creative and perhaps provocative. If I was to photograph a wedding, it would have to be a wedding party dressed in leather, with a ceremony either in a dungeon or a dark room to make me do it." The erotic photographer is perhaps a bit disingenuous as he has provided work for fundraisers forMedecins Sans Frontieres and the 2015 ReThink Brest Cancer Campaign calendar. "There might be a few gasps at The 519," he laughs but I know quite a few business fabulous guys that are just as kinky as anybody else. Everybody has a little devil inside of them.

Piccolo Diavolo is on Thurs, Feb 12 from 6:30-8:30pm at the 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. draskobogdanovic.com

tickets: the519.formstack.com/forms/piccolodiavolo


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IN FOCUS - Drasko Bogdanovic - MGTTV - Nov 2011