Michael Alago (Left -
Photo by Isauro Cairo), whose other passions include
music, art and literature, has recently released his newest book
“Brutal Truth,” which is currently available on
provocative 260-page collection of photographs highlights
friends, models and bodybuilders in various stages of undress
and arousal. The follow-up to his 2005 book “Rough Gods,”
“Brutal Truth” represents the strength and honesty of Alago’s
pictures through raw, in-your-face machismo. Michael
Alago, who had a career in the music business, recently opened
up to Mark’s List about “Brutal Truth,” the male physique,
nudity and working in the music industry.
Your new book “Brutal Truth” has
recently been published. What can your audience expect to see in
My audience can expect to see strong
provocative portraits of the “Rough Gods” they know I love to
shoot. There are some images of men with flowers and peppered in
the book are some cool poems I wrote. Of course there are sexy
nudes as well.
does this book differ from “Rough Gods”?
“Rough Gods” was like the little engine that
could: Soft cover 65 pages, really cool. It got my name out
there. It was my first book and first step in my new life after
reinventing myself as a photographer after years in the music
business. The new book is published by German publishing house,
Bruno Gmunder, and it’s 260 pages of full-color images that are
strong, extremely erotic and in-your-face.
What does the title of the book
“Brutal Truth” represents the strength and
honesty of my pictures: hard, masculine, pecs, muscles, dick,
How would you describe your style?
Handsome, but horny, portraiture.
How did you decide on which places
to shoot these provocative photos? Are you trying to tell
a story with each different scene?
I like shooting outdoors because anywhere is
a possible backdrop—from a flowering park, to a garden, to a
beautifully distressed wall. Any place that gives off a bit of
an atmosphere, has character or tells a story attracts me.
the pictorial have an overall theme?
The overall theme in my pictures is pure
sexy portraiture—a celebration of masculinity.
What was the criteria for the models
for this shoot? Do you have a favorite type of model?
I like to meet the men I shoot in advance to
get a vibe for what they are like. I like strong personalities
who are sure of themselves and why they want to be in front of
the camera. I am attracted to big men, redheads and all types of
big built guys—from football players to professional
bodybuilders, and swarthy guys covered in tattoos, scars and
hair to the pure white porcelain skin of redheads.
Do you have a part of a model you
prefer to shoot over others?
I like pec shots with huge nipples, but
overall I like the entire man in a picture. Big cocks are a
Is there a level of shock value with
these photos? Do you hope the photos make people think about
sexuality and nudity in a different way?
I am not looking to shock the audience. What
I hope is that those who look at my work see that I love the
male physique and are open to nudity and great photographs with
the occasional fetish shot thrown in for excitement. I really
hope that people get over being afraid of male nudity and soon.
Do you think society’s view on
sexuality and nudity has changed over the last 10-20 years, or
do you think there will always be some level of “taboo”
I think its amazing that women can be nude,
and also with other women; but the moment a male nude is
presented, especially a male nude with big erect nipples or huge
uncut cock, they are taken aback and get all nervous when all
it’s just the beautiful human body in all its shapes, sizes and
variations. I would hope every great nude would put a smile on
your face, or get you thinking, or hard, or wet, or even getting
off looking at it.
is your personal view on nudity and provocative imagery?
I love nudity in all its forms from elegant
to pornographic. The human body excites me all of the time for a
myriad of reasons—from the beauty of a muscled physique to the
frank eroticism of a hard cock.
What was the process like signing
Metallica? Do you still keep in touch with the members?
I am a big music fan. I love all types of
music, but heavy metal has always been a favorite. I love the
noise. I love the sweat. I love the smell of beer and that the
audience is almost all leather clad young men bonding to the
music. I always found that so sexy to be a part of. And I
have fuckin' excellent instincts! I saw them and instantly fell
in love with them as men and musicians. I knew they were going
to be huge. I signed them to Elektra records. The rest is Rock
history! Yes, I am still in touch with them. Just saw them in LA
a couple months ago at a massive thrash concert.
How do you think the music industry
differs now from back then? Are there any artists out there that
you just can't get enough of?
The internet changed everything in the music
business. The major labels didn’t pay attention. The internet
fucked them up. The companies are still trying to apply old
templates and methods to the selling of albums, when there is
this brave new world out there of websites, Facebook, Twitter,
YouTube—everything viral. Very DIY for new bands and that’s a
great thing! I was signing artists from 1983 to 2004 and had a
blast doing it and being involved with artist development, but
it’s a different world today. As far as artists I like, I have
been listening a lot to Bettye Lavette's new CD,
“Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook.” It’s raw and
intense very cinematic.
You are involved with photography,
music and literature—a true artist. What’s next in your
journey as an artist?
Yes, I work on all three things—photography,
music and literature, but it’s all part of one life, so I make
it all work and it’s a beautiful thing. So right now I am out
there promoting my “Brutal Truth.” I will go to
London soon to read from my poetry book,
“Night Blooming Jasmine” on one night and sign copies of “Brutal
Truth” the following night at the hot gay Soho
shop, Prowler on June 23rd. I am currently hoping I get
the next music project I want—an awesome hard rock/heavy metal
artist. It's all good.
More about the artist:
Michael Alago is the
quintessential New Yorker with an “only in
career. From booking bands at the legendaryEighties
rock club the Ritz (now Webster Hall) to famously signing metal
gods Metallica and executive-producing Nina Simone’s final album
to shooting some of the hottest roughnecks on the planet,
Alago’s story is driven by creativity, instinct and guts. For
more about Michael Alago please visit