Gender is a circus. From the bulging, burly bravado of hirsute strongmen to the flourishing heights of feminine wiles, sexuality must be celebrated at full volume. Life is a jamboree under the big top (and delicious bottoms), and Dusti Cunningham is its delirious ringmaster. (photo credit: Dusti Cunningham)
Masculinity flows freely on the @dusticunningham Instagram feed. Beards cradle seductive bear faces, jock straps mingle with your sweaty fantasies, and boys cavort endlessly in a tattooed wet dream of possibilities… and we haven’t even mentioned Dusti’s NSFW web page. Try not to chafe as your peruse that pictorial paradise.
Back to the topic at hand! Dusti depicts gender expression as a true exploration. We are but puzzle pieces in search of the right fit, and the line blurs between butch doms and bitchin’ femmes. Dusti’s lens paints the human condition in shocking pink and lipstick red, but the artifice never obscures the essence of his subjects.
Sex is on flex in Dusti’s work. He captures the raw abandon of circuit parties like Bearracuda and the Folsom Street Fair. He also immortalizes unconventional weddings, such as the recent non-binary nuptials of the trans artist who designed the “All Black Lives Matter” mural on Hollywood Boulevard.
And he taps into our titillation on a grand scale, mining erotica from the testosterone landscape of the Los Angeles sex scene.
But perhaps the most enticing element of Dusti’s work is his eye for portraiture. The human face is a playground of expression and elation. Dusti reveres LGBTQ+ pioneers, elevating them to the pantheon of Pride to which we all aspire.
One of Dusti’s most esteemed projects was to honor Jewel Thais Williams with a photo shoot. Jewel founded one of LA’s only gay clubs catering uniquely to African American clientele. She truly was the architect of a quintessential safe space, and her work inspires Dusti to extend that sense of inclusion to his subjects and his grateful audience.
Dusti Cunningham’s photography embraces the viewer with naughty aplomb. You can virtually feel the chest hair rubbing relentlessly against your perspective, and the sensation lures you further into Dusti’s wondrous web. His imagery is sure to pique any healthy libido. If you don’t see something you like, look harder. Harder! Yeah, that’s it. Dusti would be proud.
Last modified: August 14, 2020