In a celebration of queerness and Pride, Los Angeles based visual artist Ori Paul Levi releases Mountain Men, a series of collages in collaboration with Western Photography Guild. Western Photography Guild is a photography studio founded in 1947 by legendary physique photographer Don Whitman.
After admiring Mr. Levi’s art, the team at Western Photography Guild approached Los Angeles-based visual artist Ori Paul Levi and granted him exclusive access to the archives of legendary male physique photographer Don Whitman. Western Photography Guild, based in Colorado, is managed by Whitman’s nephew Andy Dimler who was looking to breathe a fresh perspective into his uncle’s work.
Originally trained in fashion, Ori Paul Levi transitioned into the world of art in 2018, creating collages that deal with sex, politics, civil rights, and personal expression.
“Ori’s collages are fresh, bold and masculine as well as timeless as they incorporate vintage imagery of some of yesteryear’s most beautiful men”, says Devin Baker, an archivist at Western Photography Guild. Mr. Baker continues, “This collaboration is very important for WPG as it constitutes a bold evolution of Don’s work that would have been impossible during Don’s lifetime. I believe Don would be very proud of Ori’s work with his imagery. ”
“When I was first exposed to Don’s work I immediately fell in love” notes artist Ori Paul Levi. “Don’s photography celebrates the male physique sensually, sexually and respectfully”, Mr. Levi continues. “It was an honor accessing Don’s original material as I created this new and exciting set of collages exploring sex, sexuality and queerness.”
In a celebration of Pride, Mr. Levi will release eight original works from the Mountain Men series on June 25, 2021 in Los Angeles. A full exhibit of Western Photography Guild images, curated by Mr. Levi, will occur later this fall.