Mitya Nevsky likes to suggest that much of his work, and life and art, came about casually. As a child his father gave him a camera as a birthday gift but it held his attention only briefly. He didn't pick up a camera again until 2008, to take some snaps of a friend. His friends dubbed him a natural but Nevsky admits that it took two years of studying the masters of high art photography before he felt qualified to begin his own career.
The study paid off and Nevsky has published the book of photography Russian Guys, shot many magazine covers, worked in advertising, and branched out into directing videos. "I like to experiment," he says, "but I always get great pleasure from the process of photography. whether it is commercial or my personal idea."
His commercial work is slick, glossy and playful, as with the graphic designers "Two Bears," but his personal work can get darker. "My favorite shot is the BDSM naked guy and the soldier in German uniform," he says of the photos he provided MyGayToronto.com. "It is as interesting to take photos with a fetish or doing just beautiful images, I would like that people were evaluated not only by their sexy bodies but to be seen much deeper, to feel the emotion and soul."
One of the master photographers Nevsky studied was Helmut Newton who was well known for his dark eroticism. "I never thought much about that, but I think that certainly many photographs are created by my subconscious," says Nevsky adding that it is always about the aesthetics. "When I walk down the street I am constantly looking for interesting places with interesting light for shooting."
For Nevsky, the interesting is crucial. "It always arises in my mind while shooting the picture what I want to get," he says. "The model must have looks and charisma, but the sexiness of the body, other than well-fed, is not important. It is my job as the director to pull the emotion out of the model. I'd like to photograph in some of France's abandoned castles and great houses. On a larger scale with fairly neglected interiors."
To help with his directorial skills, Nevsky traded photos shoots with photographer Sergey Inozemtsev, who also creates sensual nudes but in a quite different style. Nevsky kept his clothes on, "Frankly speaking I didn't like it very much. I am very shy to be photographed."
My assumption that Nevsky left Russia because of his sexuality and the homoeroticism of his photos is corrected. "I did not leave Russia," he says. "I just married a Frenchman. I love Russia and sometimes go back to visit my friends and parents." And the Russian Guys were his initial inspiration. The book is printed on demand when ordered through Nevsky's website and "I already have a calendar for the year 2017, but I had a limited printing for a narrow circle of individuals.Next year there will be one for everyone, I just need to find the right way to deliver it."
Nevsky is coyly casual about his next projects, "I shot the guys within four years, and then came the time when I was tired. I wanted to relax and just travel and shoot landscapes and the lives of people in poor countries. I have accumulated a lot of photos and I am now working on them." However he assures us that "I haven't forgotten about male portraiture. I'll come back to it again soon. And maybe even in Canada."
Prints of Mitya Nevsy's work and copies of Russian Guys can be ordered at nevskyphoto.ru