Piccolo Diavolo is all about opposites. Held in support of the 519 Church Street Community Centre, the one-night-only event mixes professional-grade cameras with iPhones, Hogtown with the Big Apple and the dirty with the sensual. Local bad boy Drasko Bogdanovic will present a series of medium-format, limited-edition prints at the same time NYC dancer-cum-photographer Mark MacKillop will have the Toronto launch for his steamy, selfie coffee-table book Rm XIV.
Bogdanovic’s contribution expands on his trademark gritty male nudes to include a broader range of bodies while continuing to walk the fine line between erotic and vulgar. The show includes a handful of older, never-before-seen-in-Toronto works, but the bulk of it was shot in the last two months.
“There was never any talk with The 519 about what I should or shouldn’t show,” Bogdanovic says. “They gave me full freedom to exhibit whatever I wanted, which is liberating. At the same time, I was trying to do something new. I also went back to the reasons I actually enjoy photography: the immediacy of it, the form of the body, the way light plays on skin. The most important thing for me is always the energy between the model and myself when we’re working. I love finding that connection, discussing their kinks and breaking some barriers. It can be like a sexy therapy session for both of us.”
In contrast, MacKillop’s project sees him turn the camera entirely on himself. An avid Instagrammer and part-time model in addition to being a full-time dancer and performer, he was posing for regular sexy snaps with different NYC photogs. But when he hit the road in 2013 for a lengthy tour with West Side Story, coordinating shoots became a challenge. In order to feed his unapologetic followers’ hunger for eye-candy, he began posing for his phone in hotel rooms.
“I’ve never owned a nice, professional camera,” he says. “I haven’t even really played around with one, so I don’t know if it’s something I’d actually enjoy. Like a lot of people, my phone is my main camera because it’s just such an easy resource. Some days, I’d wake up and know exactly what I wanted to shoot. Other days, it was more of a trial-and-error thing, and I would stumble across an image I liked.”
Even their goal in shooting the images was different. While Bogdanovic created much of his series specifically for this exhibition, MacKillop wasn’t originally intending to show his photos outside the digital realm. It wasn’t until the Leslie-Lohman Museum, an LGBT space in Soho, offered him a show that he began contemplating putting the shots in print.
The artists, like their works, inhabit opposite ends of the queer visual spectrum: Bogdanovic, burly and bearded; MacKillop, lean and clean cut. While they likely won’t meet until the opening, perhaps some creative sparks will fly?
“Mark’s photos have a cinematic feel and totally complement his stunning body,” Bogdanovic says. “He’s got a kind of subtle underwear-catalogue eroticism to what he’s doing, whereas I’m more explicit. But I love the contrast in our work. Hopefully, I can shoot him sometime.”