My Parents Had a Party
My Parents Had a Party, Long Island, NY
Last summer, my parents decided to throw a party to celebrate life. I wasn’t quite sure what my mom had planned other than an entertaining night with good food and company. As I entered my parents’ house that evening, I was greeted by a little person my mom had hired from an adult entertainment agency. He was dressed as a cop and demanded that each arriving and unsuspecting guest show his or her ID… or else.
OK, a little weird, but nothing too extreme. As the party continued, two of the cocktail waitresses and one of the male servers started taking off their clothing, and suddenly they were naked and the lap dances and the tequila ice-luge/body-shot demonstrations began. At first, many of their guests were unsure of how to react to the nakedness around them. I, for one, was amused and a bit surprised to see adults whom I have known my entire life getting smothered in breasts and bathed in booze at my parents’ house.
As the night progressed, two additional strippers arrived to perform for the guests, and the little person quickly stripped down to join in the show. Slowly and surely, more and more guests began to loosen up and really experience the celebration of zany fun that my mom had planned from the start. The hours went by fast; everyone was merrily drunk, including the dog sitter. After a long night of hard partying, the talent was paid, the guests sent off with coffee, and we all went to bed. The next morning may have been even more fun as we conducted the post-party critique, with mom wearing the little person’s uniform, which he had somehow forgoten to take home that night.
From the 2014 VICE Photo Issue: From Off to On
From Off to On is a photo series by German photographer Marina Rosa Weigl. It’s like Asger Carlsen meets a Lynchian interpretation of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.
Man’s Best Friend with Benefits
Oliver Burdinski is fighting for the right to have a relationship with his dog. His purebred Siberian husky, Joey, is his sexual partner. And while some of his fellow Germans might reel at the prospect of intercourse with another species, Burdinski is open to discussing the taboo of being a literal animal lover. Just don’t use the word bestiality.
“I don’t like this word because it’s often misleading and used in different cases,” Burdinski told me.
Burdinski first realized he was a zoophile while growing up with a German shepherd—his family dog. He was responsible for taking care of the creature, which lived in his bedroom. Around the age of 14 or 15, the young man started exploring his sexuality with his companion. He remembers being more attracted to the dog than to humans but felt rather alone with such desires. After living without a dog for a decade, Burdinski began dating men and women. He settled down with a long-term girlfriend until 1995, when he got an internet connection. That’s when he discovered forums and chat rooms devoted to the zoophile community. Soon thereafter he broke it off with his human partner (they’ve remained good friends). Burdinski realized he could never be happy in a traditional relationship.
From the 2014 VICE Photo Issue: Cindy Sherman, Cover Girl (Vogue)
While an art student at Buffalo State College in 1975, Cindy Sherman photographed herself on the cover of Vogue as Jerry Hall, the supermodel girlfriend of Mick Jagger. The first photograph in this triptych is the original cover with Hall, photographed in black-and-white. In the second photograph we see Sherman’s face, which suddenly looks a lot like Hall’s. In the third photograph, Sherman winks playfully back at the camera, spoiling any illusion of resemblance. We include this work here as a note of encouragement to young photographers everywhere: Fake it till you make it.
My Dad the Bodybuilder
VICE interviews NYC photographer Aneta Bartos and her father, Zbigniew, about the relationship of artist to subject.
My Dad the Bodybuilder
The Profiles Issue of VICE
included a portfolio of photographs of NYC-based artist Aneta Bartos’ 69-year-old father, titled simply, Dad
. I have been following the development of Aneta’s work since 2012, when I covered a group show she was included in for TIME
blog. We met in person last year, when I wrote about her show Boys
for the Camera Club of New York’s blog. That show, composed of murky Polaroids of boys masturbating, was installed in the rooms of a somewhat seedy Flatiron district hotel, and it made me realize that Aneta was thinking about her work in a much more comprehensive way that simply creating images to be disseminated—she controls their context as carefully as possible, and is an exacting craftsman in terms of color and print quality. She is sensitive to her subjects, and watches prudently over the ways her images of them are presented.
Early this spring, Aneta showed me photographs of her bodybuilder father she had begun making on a trip home to Poland. Using a Kodak Instamatic camera and long-expired film, her father is rendered in his native landscape, a powerful and imposing figure set against pastoral scenes and glowing sunsets. The aesthetic of the resulting images oscillates between family album and soviet propaganda poster, but the quality of the pictures is always dreamy. ”His presence takes me back to my youth, to what felt like an endless stretch of days in a worry-free world anchored by my powerful and loving father,” Aneta told me. “I reflect on how his commitment to education, fitness, organic food, and the simplicity of basic living has kept him so young and full of vitality.” Since we published these pictures, Aneta has returned to Poland and continued to photograph. When I saw the latest pictures, I couldn’t help but think the Dad series might become her best work yet. But I wanted to know more about the relationship between photographer and subject, because it’s not as if she is photographing just any model. It changes the dynamic to photograph someone who is this close to you. I talked to both Aneta and her father Zbigniew to find out more.
VICE: Zbigniew, what is your health regimen like?
Zbigniew Bartos: Before I turned 60, I ate everything, without any special diets or restrictions. During that time most of the food in Poland was natural and healthy, therefore spending a few hours in the gym three times a week seemed like enough to stay healthy and in shape.
After I turned 60 however, I began to pay more attention to nutrition. First of all, I buy all my food directly from farmers whom I already know. I prepare most of my food myself. I also make my own wine and health tinctures.
I eat small amounts a few times a day making sure that the meals contain a good balance of acid and alkaline. I always consume a lot of proteins derived both from meats and vegetables. I eat garlic, onions, tomatoes and radishes daily and my favorite fruit is apples and wild blueberries picked from the forest.