Spotlight: Empyrean Photography

Empyrean Photography

If you've been mesmerized by a stunning physique image on the cover of a men's fitness magazine lately, chances are the photograph that got your attention was created by Empyrean Photography.  Long Beach, California-based Empyrean Photography has become one of the world's hottest physique image studios.  Empyrean's much sought-after images take the most magnificent male models on earth and, with brilliant composition and through the magic of light and shadow, transform them into breathtaking gods.

We feel privileged to be able to present to you, as this month's Paragon Spotlight, a collection of the work of Empyrean Photography.  We also had the opportunity to sit down at Empyrean Photography's Long Beach, California studio with the the creative genius behind Empyrean, Andre DeLoach.

What does Empyrean mean?  Why did you choose the name for your company?

Empyrean has several definitions.  Literally, “empyrean” denotes the highest
level of Heaven where God and His angels dwell as described in Dante’s Divine Comedy.   Other definitions would be “inspiring awe” or “the best”.  I particularly resonate with the religious connotations because I seem to gravitate towards, not only what I consider to be erotic and desirable about muscular male body, but also to what is sublime or transcendent about it as well.  Sometimes, even I am surprised at how worshipful some of my photographs feel to me.   But I am comfortable with this because the beautifully developed and sculpted male body is both an object of desire and adoration for me.

Where can readers find more of your work?

Those interested in seeing more of my work are invited to visit www.empyreanphotography.com.  There, they will find a nice sampling of my images, have the opportunity to join the Empyrean Photography Mailing List, and where serious physique photography collectors and aficionados can read about commission services.

How long have you been a photographer?

Well, I would say around 2001 was when I felt the call to photography most strongly and began embracing it as a way of expressing myself and my feelings about the male body.

Which photographers have inspired you the most?

There are a number of photographers and illustrators that have brought me pleasure through their work and have definitely inspired me in different ways. A few of the prominent ones would be Ken Haak, Herb Ritts, Francois  Rousseau, Jim French (aka Rip Colt), Roy Blakely, Tom of Finland, George Quaintance, Frank Frazetta, Bruce Weber, Bob Mizer, Richard Avedon, Edwin Townsend, Vulcan, Lon of New York, and Andreas Bitesnich, among others.  Also, the  countless artists of the comic books I have enjoyed and still enjoy today.

Probably above all, these men created images that were unashamed in their celebration of what they found beautiful about male body, particularly, the muscular male body.  And their celebration, their work, helped me to recognize my own desire to join this celebration and offer my own contributions.

What first drew you to studying the male form?

I am not able to say what initially drew me to studying or photographing the male form other than an original sense of desire and awe that have probably been with me since I have been alive.  As I have matured, I have found ways to finally express that which was latent inside of since the beginning.

Please tell me about your career, training, and experiences as photographer.

I do not believe there is much remarkable to say here.  I did receive my basic initial formal training in photography from Long Beach City College.  The teacher there who most inspired me was Walt Thill, who probably has no idea how much his joy and commitment to photography sparked my own, especially given that we shoot radically different subjects.  (Walt is a medical photographer by trade.)

What sort of work and/or services do you do and/or provide?

I do editorial work for fitness magazines, headshot portraits for actors and models, physique portraits for men who want a visual record of their training accomplishments, some advertising work, very high-end special commissions for
physique photography collectors and, of course, my ongoing personal work.

Where has your work been published?

I believe a number of folks are aware of my work through Exercise for Men Only and Men’s Exercise magazines, published by Chelo Publishing.  

I have self-published a photo book entitled Ganymede that features the model Matthew Born (who I consider one of my muses).

Some of my work has been included in the new photo anthology entitled, Beautiful Vision by the Editors of  Beautifulmag.eu and the German publisher, Bruno Gmuender.  Because I so respect the work of the Beautifulmag editors, I am very proud to be a part of their first photo book.  It is a real honor to me.

Also, I have had work published in gay erotic magazines, Freshmen and Unzipped, and on various other blogs and webzines, such as Gay Nation (now known as OneNationMagazine.com) and Horizon Barcelona (now known as simply HorizonMag.co.uk).

What do you look for in a male model?

Because Empyrean Photography is dedicated to the photographic celebration of the muscular male, I look for a harmonious blend of muscle size, shape, and symmetry. Muscular definition is vital to the type of images I create and the responses I want to evoke from those who see my work: a sense of drama, desire and awe.

Bodybuilders, fitness models, dancers, gymnasts, swimmers, and the like usually possess the physiques I enjoying with.  And I welcome all ages.

Also, I look for faces that inspire me.  Not necessarily am I looking for the typical “fashion model face” (though they are certainly beautiful in their own right).  I want models who have faces that are attractive to me and can hold their own in relations to the model’s physique.  I know this is very general but this is the best I can do without writing a  dissertation for you!

But just as essential as the above, is the model’s character and his ability to “feel” the type of images I am creating, and then express it though his pose, his expression, his attitude.  Models that are able to do this thrill me to no end and call out my very best work.  I have worked with such models and I consider them my muses.

What is the best way for our readers (and our models) to reach you?

The best ways are through regular email using or via my website’s message service at www.empyreanphotography.com

Thank you so very much for this opportunity to share my work and a little bit about myself to your readers and subscribers!!

Thank you Andre, for your time and for the magnificent images you've generously allowed us to feature in Paragon Men!

 
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