The Last Boys by Barry Marré is a pleasant departure from many of the “gay” art books out there. Although the book is not short on pretty boys or perfect bodies, it is not about porn or penises. The Last Boys is an eloquent and authentic look into the male form – it is about reawakening the sexual imagination.
Although Marré is a professional photographer, the book reads as a collection of “boyfriend” photographs. Some may wince at this aspect, but I find it appealing because it works. So many nude art books are full of polished studio shots, which I find often lack energy. By contrast, this book offers up on-location shots and, perhaps, some of Marré’s actual boyfriend photographs. There is energy on every page. Some of the photographs seem hasty and amateur, others with slight blur and obvious lived-in backdrops – and I love it all. It’s like peering into someone’s photo album and seeing all their secrets.
This is not a book of nudes in the strict sense of that term. The male body is obviously the focus of the book, yet Marré holds back from giving us much full nudity – a few bubbles, a carefully placed arm, or a twist of the body often leave us to our own imagination.