American photographer, West Phillips, has traveled all over the world, photographing various cultures of people, landmarks and traditions.
Much of his work, however, has centered around his photo sessions with swimsuit-clad muscle men.
Phillips began to notice, in his travels and in the work by some of his favorite photographers, that there was little representation of male Asian models, especially in the gay community.
Once he recognized this pattern, Phillips decided to launch a project of his own to help to mend the social gap.
Enter Asian Male Portraits, West Phillips' latest photography collection, focused on male Asian models. This coffee table book aims to enrich Asian representation and attractiveness in photography, as well as celebrate the gay Asian community.
According to the project's website:
"With over 100 models from over 10 countries, this book is a sort of 'best of' collection from what Phillips has amassed so far."
Asian Male Portraits, PHOTO BOOK by West Phillips youtu.be
In addition to providing more male Asian models to the current photography landscape, Phillips' project also addressed an important, if muted, social problem: sexual racism.
By social definition, sexual racism is one's statement of personal dating preference, in regards not only to sex and gender, but also race.
People fairly commonly will state to their friends, for example, that they enjoy dating men, but they find one "other" race unattractive, and therefore, undateable.
With the few examples we have of Asian males in photography, commercials and dating publications, it's clear that the Asian population may be a more frequent victim of sexual racism in Western Culture. While Asian women are fetishized and overly sexualized, Asian men are neutered.
"I think the mass media in the West don't find [Asian men] to be appealing, they don't find them to be sexual, and that's something that I didn't understand."
Phillips' coffee table book collection, Asian Male Portraits, features the men in a variety of artistic and diverse settings. The book does include nudity.
You can see some examples from the collection below.
As more people become aware of the project and see more examples of Asian models, the photographer hopes the ideology around what is "sexy" and "dateable" may begin to shift.
With more acceptance around what is attractive, maybe there will be less "otherness" between peoples. And gay dating apps may finally lose the prevalent request of "no Asians."