Philip Lorca-diCorcia’s Hustlers

Mike, 26 years old, $40

Mike, 26 years old, $40, image courtesy of Vice.

In the 1990s, photographer Phillip Lorca-diCorcia changed photography with his series “Hustlers.”  The series depicts (what may seem like candid moments) of male prostitutes lives. However, each photo in the series was very well thought out and used studio lighting, while looking natural.

My favorite photo from the series is Mike, 26 years old, $40. The scene depicts Mike, the male prostitute lying down in a dingy motel bed as he gazes up pensively at the ceiling. This photo very much reminds me of the book Women by Charles Bukowski. It feels very 80s, due to the model’s haircut and the antiquated television in the background. The lower third of the composition is framed by the nightstand, which runs off the bottom edge of the frame to give the photo depth. It also leads us into the scene and to the model’s face. The upper third of the composition, shows a lamp, the TV, and the door to the bathroom.

The lighting arrangement of this photo creates an overall somber mood. The model’s face appears to be lit from a studio light placed at the corner of the bed adjacent to the nightstand. My reasoning for this is because of the glare you can see on the wood panel wall near the lamp in the background.


One thought on “Philip Lorca-diCorcia’s Hustlers

  1. rmichals

    I have never read Bukowski but between being in LA and DiCorcia’s interest in hard lives, you are on to something.

    What I find fascinating about the photo that you selected to write about is the two arm yellow light sources in the photo and how they compare to the neutral light on the model. The model is well lit compared to what I imagine it would be like in a motel room. I think there are two lights on the model. there is actually some glare on the frame in the wall so this one isn’t quite as perfect as some of the others..


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