Professional muscle hunks

It started with a postcard from my friend Max:


The card said this was a photo of model Nathan Black, from Body Image Productions. That led me to the company’s website (not especially easy to negotiate) and eventually to the information that #1 was from a photo spread in Men magazine (formerly Advocate Men) by male photographer Ron Lloyd — a magazine that was one of a number of publications that supplied high-quality erotic photography (featuring lots of full-frontal nudity) appealing primarily to to gay men (who used it as jack-off fuel) but also to straight women. The models have attractive (and carefully developed) bodies — they are muscle hunks — which they, in effect, sell: they are professional muscle hunks.

Body Image Productions has an even narrower focus: its wares are aimed specifically and unapologetically at gay men, and they are intended as well “for the physique connoisseur”.

The company sells books and calendars of erotic male photography, and now DVDs in which Lloyd’s hunky models do a specialized form of gay porn: solo performances, with a man jacking off for an audience. (Some guys who do solo-only are in fact straight, but they love to display their bodies and usually revel in the attention they get from gay men.)

Still photography calls for some acting ability, some talent for projecting a persona; Nathan Black was really good at this. (If you decide to look at his Men spread, you should know ahead of time that Black has some scarring on his (otherwise very attractive) penis that shows as a white strip — an imperfection that Black, admirably, just ignores in his performance for the camera.) But videos call for more serious acting abilities, and not all professional muscle hunks have them. In a while I’ll post more about one who’s really wonderful doing solo work, the regrettably named Braun Drek (I’ll post about the name, too).

Now, Ron Lloyd. From his book publisher in an writeup:

Ron Lloyd, the man behind Body Image Productions, started his career as a professional photographer in the early 80’s. As a young man he developed a passion for the beauty of pronounced forms through looking a bodybuilding magazines.

Now he supplies these images for other aficionados.

From the Body Image Production site on Lloyd’s most recent Legend Men photo book (reproduced here exactly as on the site):

Photographer Ron Lloyd has one of the best jobs of this planet without doubt: He’s looking for muscular, incredibly good looking hunks and makes them strip off their clothes in front of his camera … all their clothes. With a naughty grin on their face these dream-made-flesh guys present their bodies, which are immaculate from top to bottom. Horny hunks such as Zeb Atlas and Von Legend are popular among gay men worldwide — and in Lloyds third photo book LEGEND MEN they offer us a look that really deserves to be called “legendary”.


Model Von Legend aka Matt Davis on the cover

(If a Lloyd model has any clothes on at all, he’s about to strip them off.)

And Lloyd’s recent book Built!, with Zeb Atlas on the cover:


(No, Zeb Atlas doesn’t have a small head; it’s entirely normal in size, but he has an absolutely gigantic upper body. He has a big dick, but in photos it often looks small, by comparison to his musculature. However, if you actually dealt with it, as guys do in the hard-core porn Atlas performs in, you’d realize that it was really big.)

Now from the company’s calendar days — it no longer seems to produce them — two examples: Naked Straight Men, with Max Wheeler on the cover; and Naked Hairy Jocks, with Braun Drek on the cover:



Now we’re in video and DVD days. Here’s the cover of the Legend Men DVD, with Braun Drek again:


Pornhub has a big pile of Drek solo videos. I’m not generally a fan of solo performances, but these are really good. He has a handsome face, a great smile, and a long dick, and he loves to display himself. He puts on a fine show.

Digression on the name. I haven’t yet found an audio in which Braun Drek pronounces his stage name, or even one in which someone else does, but I’m pretty sure his first name is not /brawn/ (like brown), as it would be if taken directly from the German family name, but instead /brɔn/ (like brawn), as in Carol Mosely Braun and the bodybuilder P.J. Braun. That would be an auspicious first name for a professional muscle hunk

But Drek is harder to cope with. It would, alas, seem to be dreck /drɛk/. From NOAD2:

rubbish; trash: this so-called art is pure dreck. ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from Yiddish drek ‘filth, dregs,’ from a Germanic base shared by Old English threax; probably related to Greek skōr ‘dung’

Dreck is often glossed as crap (both as ‘rubbish, junk; nonsense’ and as ‘excrement’) or even shit (again, two sense ranges).

Maybe someone thought of Drek as powerful name, like Shrek (the ogre), suggestive of German Schreck ‘terror, shock, fear’, or Dred, suggestive of dread (note pornstar Dred Scott); or as suggestive of Derek / Derik (derrick, a construction machine with masculine associations) and Drake ‘male duck’. But it sure does sound like dreck. And if you know a bit of Yiddish, Braun Drek reads as ‘brown shit’.

The muscle hunk continuum. Ron Lloyd’s models are far out on the continuum of muscle hunks, a continuum that ranges from well-muscled very fit men (like most underwear models and many actors given to shirtlessness) to the Truly Huge, like the “massively muscled bodybuilder type” Billy Herrington (the pornstar) and, even more, competitive bodybuilders like Flex Wheeler, with high muscular definition and very low bodyfat. Both Herrington and Wheeler were treated in a December 7th posting of mine.

At the high end, we have men who are extremely ripped: not only massively muscled, but also with bodyfat low enough to produce very prominent veining. Note the comment in the earlier posting about the veining, and also the comment about men at the high end of the continuum as victims of “testosterone poisoning”. Both comments were from gay men; some gay men celebrate, even fetishize, men at the high end of the continuum, but many are turned off by them.

The economy of professional body-workers. Professional body-workers are those who exploit their bodies to earn a living. The category covers the professional muscle hunks I’ve been talking about, men who use their bodies to earn model fees for work for photographers, but it includes much more: male models in general, especially underwear models; male strip-tease performers, like the Chippendales dancers and Channing Tatum and other actors in the Magic Mike movies, all of whom do “male erotic dance shows”, and men performing solo at parties; other men paid to dance for audiences (doing pole-dancing for tips, for example); men who do solo porn; and men who are straightforwardly sexworkers of one sort or another — doing hard-core porn, doing live sex shows, and men working as rentboys, escorts providing sex, and sexual masseurs. It’s very common for men who serve in one of these occupations to take on work in another, or of course other work outside of body-work. (Gay porn actors may also work as models, dancers, or escorts, and many have more ordinary jobs.) And of course men whose main source of income is something other that body-work (notably professional athletes and actors) may do some body-work as a sideline.

Very few men who get modeling fees can come close to living on them; they need other work. Male photographers (like Ron Lloyd and others I’ve talked about) can get closer to living on the fees they get from selling their photographs of men, but almost all of them do other sorts of photography (say, fashion photography, portraiture, journalistic photography, or “art photography”) and some do other kinds of artwork as well. But, still, they have to piece together a living, and many have resorted to operating as their own distributors, in the belief that the real money comes from selling the products (books, DVDs, and videos-on-demand (VODs), in particular) to the public.

This is what Ron Lloyd has done with the videos he makes. In addition to Body Image Productions, there is a separate site, with spreads on all of the models he’s used, which serve as a come-on to a subscription service for VODs.

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