The Pygmallion/Galatea experience of an artist’s work come-to-life occurred as photographer Reed Massengill and model, Sasha Chuprina, co-hosted an exhibition Thursday, June 8.
In a one-night-only event at The Fairbanks, 200 attendees including friends, aficionados and novices were introduced to images taken by Massengill while in the presence of the subject, Sasha.
The Knoxville premiere was also a signing opportunity for Massengill’s latest book, “Self-Exposure: The Male Nude Self-Portrait” and The June “PlayGirl” pictorial of Sasha. The twin bill display included black and white photography of masculine images of Sasha by Massengill. Several poses of Sasha were captured by painter, Richard Taddei, and photographer, Robert Cusido.
Internationally known Robert Massengill marks “Self-Portrait” as his 10th book. This 100-piece collection is a pictorial survey. Each photograph is a self-portrait with different artists as the subject.
Massengill collects established artists as well as the newly emerging of this field. “I want to spotlight these artists,” explained Massengill, “to the work and diversity they bring to male nude photography.”
While enjoying signing his book, Massengill mused, “This collection represents pieces that elevate the male nude and stretch the photographic experience.”
For the Ukrainian-born Sasha Chuprina, the event is a new facet to his modeling experience.
“The ‘PlayGirl’ pictorial,” offered Sasha, “is another goal attained.” Sasha is a college student majoring in Statics. He moved here 10 years ago and is delighted to reside Knoxville.
He is fluent in four languages. Speaking of his native Ukrainian, he chortles, “(It) now has a slight Southern drawl. I can definitely hear the difference.”
He is fluent in Russian and American English, and he has nearly mastered traditional Spanish. Modeling is a means to attain his goal of a career in translation, travel, and possibly a government position.
“To travel as a translator is the next step. I am excited by the possibilities,” Sasha enthuses.
During the evening Sasha smiled as guests reacted to his poses. His manly dark eyes sparkle as he proclaims, “I love this day. I enjoy all of this. I love it all.”
The “PlayGirl” pictorial is a Knoxville hat trick. The project involved a local artist with a local subject posing in a private Knoxville residence all in six hours.
Delighted with responses while signing his pictures Sasha retorts, “Thank you, so much. I love it!” He eagerly awaits more response from the “PlayGirl” shoot.
Massengill has toured extensively including three events for the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation as exhibitor and curator. He will next exhibit at Radiant Light Gallery in Portland, Maine.
Massengill’s books include photography, literal biography, and corporate history. He is a much sought-after archivist and expert in vintage male nude photography, pin-ups and male physique pictorials.
“[Carrying the torch from these pioneers is] our legacy,” premises Massengill. “They forged new methods and styles. Their work and publication was often confiscated and destroyed. We are indebted to these pioneers, and I want to preserve the work and do homage in pieces I have produced.”
For more information about Massengill and Sasha visit www.ReedMassengill.com.