Shock and Aww: The Photography of Florian Hetz

Written by | Art & Design, The Lens

Sex is a thrill ride. You must surrender to your inhibitions, forfeit control to your voracious partner, and convulse wildly until orgasm is your only escape. The interplay between danger and desire has never been more evocatively captured than in the work of Florian Hetz. Degradation serves as foreplay in his hyper-sexualized universe, full of hirsute hunks and ample bodily fluids.

It’s hard to believe that Hetz got his start in the Berlin opera and dance scene, and yet there is a sense of gutter choreography to his kinetic portraits.

Same-sex couplings melt into one another, rippling violently at their enticing intersection.

Our eyes covet every taboo incident depicted through Hetz’ lens. The human animal gnashes at its mate, and sometimes devours itself. There is an urgency to Hetz’ imagery, like a desperate lover who wants one last taste of passion before succumbing to post-intercourse ennui. Perhaps Hetz’ sensibility was influenced by the medical trauma that befell the photographer early in his career. Brain encephalitis threatened to overshadow his memory. Hetz began taking pictures to create a gossamer tether to his own past. Each photo represents a cherished, yet obscene, brush with lust.

Hetz’ portfolio is like a hidden cache of desires that you summon at your most devious moments. Shame and fulfillment go hand-in-hand, and those hands represent kindness and cruelty, waltzing in an endless shimmer of intrigue. Will the next photo celebrate the alluring contours of man as an extension of the natural world?

Or will Hetz punish his subjects with another round of sadomasochistic love, served raw, sweaty, and visceral?

The answers lurk in the pages of his latest release, a monograph entitled zwei. With each entry, Hetz redefines the art of objectification. He extracts throbbing body parts like they are pieces of a biological puzzle, isolating them for shock value and maximum exploitation.

Untangling the objects of your desire becomes a playground of juxtapositions. Are you turned on by an armpit, sock, or erogenous zone? The anatomical avalanche cascades through the viewer’s eye, courtesy of the savagely talented Florian Hetz.

Photo: © Florian Hetz / Paper Affairs Publishers 2020

Last modified: October 16, 2020