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Posted December 8, 2007
LOST BOYS, Slava Mogutin's first published monograph, sets out to shock and unveil the darker interstices of the lost youths who are the product of our urban moral decay. Mogutin was exiled form his native Russia for his 'malicious hooliganism with exceptional cynicism and extreme insolence', found his Gilead/asylum in the USA and has been highly visible as a performance artist and gay activist. This thin volume, with excessively wordy and pedantic verbal contributions by such luminaries as Octavio Zaya and Dominic Johnson, is a collection of Mogutin's photographs, basically of the male nude, but in Mogutin's case the nude figure is less important than the staged images he captures. In some images his thoughts are powerful: in some images there is little information and conflict that is supposed to illicit gut response from the viewer. Slava Mogutin's 'models' (the word is used instead of subjects, but the youths brought into this mÃ©lange are minimally attractive or interesting) are Russian wrestlers, military cadets, German skinheads, and football jocks - some at rest, some staged with bizarre sexually oriented stories, and some pushing the limits of sensual behavior. Some of the photographs succeed in inciting a visceral response from the viewer, and some simply feel like filler. That Slava Mogutin has something to say is obvious, especially if the Foreword and Essay are read prior to viewing the portfolio, but for this viewer there is less art and more social comment here, making this particular monograph difficult to assign in the very wide field of photographic art. Not a book for the squeamish but a viable statement from an exiled observer of some aspects of the human condition in this century. Grady Harp
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Posted November 25, 2013
This photo-journal is as much pornographic as it is a social commentary. Some of the photographs are nude men while the majority show the depravity of an entire time/sect of people. I find it a poignant representation of an entire group of people under repression. Opinions differ and I understand that, however my husband and his brother, who were both born in the Soviet Union in the early 70's were able to see this fracture. This photo-journal does capture the repression of sexual freedom as well as individuality and individual expression that was prevalent through this time and the decades that have come to follow. There is homosexual male nudity although that is not the main focus of the book. Many of the photos are sensual if not all out sexual but the social message is much more important. Honestly, one of the photos is of snow on the trees in the central courtyard in Soviet tenements...looking at this photo without bias one can see the lack of individuality that is being exhibited...the nude photos are just spoken out against that. It is not a book for everyone but I do love it; its representation of an entire generation is heartbreaking and true.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.