Photo by Joseph Maida: Ka'ainanui (Hawaiian, Chinese, French, German) 2013
Last year, VICE launched our column "Being Gay is Beautiful In..." with a photograph from New York-based artist Joseph Maida's series New Natives. Maida's images feature aspiring male models set against the primordial landscape of Oahu, Hawaii. Each model took Maida to a local place where they wanted to be photographed, and also listed as many ethnicities as wanted to from their backgrounds, which Maida factored into the titles of the photographs.
In a 2013 interview, Joseph told me the series was partly inspired by the election of Barack Obama: "I've always been thinking about identity, particularly in terms of sexuality and masculinity in my work. But when Obama was elected, that seemed like a turning point. For me, his presidency represented a swing in a direction that's more open-minded and accepting. I thought, Hawaii is a really charged place, and it may be the perfect place to explore these issues in more detail."
This fall, Italian publisher L'Artiere Editions came out with a book of the pictures from New Natives. The pictures below are a preview of the book.
Caleb (Japanese) 2010
Aikue (Hawaiian, Chinese, Irish, Portuguese) 2011
Blayze #2 (Filipino, Chinese, Irish, Spanish) 2012
Saburo (Japanese) 2010
Nick (Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Irish, Norwegian, German) 2013
Nathaniel #2 (Hawaiian, Chinese, English) 2012
Remy (Japanese, Black, White, Cherokee) 2012
Buy New Natives here.