‘DIRK BENEDICT’

‘DIRK BENEDICT’

JH: “For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from intrusive thoughts. It’s an OCD thing where you’re literally plagued by taboo thoughts you don’t want to think. Because I didn’t know there was such a thing I suffered in secret for well over forty years, labouring under the impression that I was a terrible person before finally it broke me and I was diagnosed, gradually finding some kind of release from it. Intrusive thoughts can be about sex or violence or contamination or just about anything and everything. Unstoppable - anything you wouldn’t want to think - in fact the very last thing you’d ever want to think at that particular moment, you think it over and over. Mostly intrusive thoughts are devastatingly dark but out of context some can seem spectacularly absurd. As a small boy I tortured myself for months over whether or not I was sexually attracted to Dirk Benedict, Faceman from The A-Team. It turns out I wasn’t as is almost always the case with intrusive thoughts but the handsome Montana clothes horse remains a hero to this day.”

“Cowboy’s a look burnt indelibly into my generation’s consciousness. Redford in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Yul Bryner in Westworld. Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven. Eastwood for sure in anything Western. The Marlboro man and later Tom of Finland. At night I’d lie in the dark playing the Morricone soundtracks to Leone’s masterpieces on my walkman imagining the man with no name’s adventures scene by scene. Still do.”

‘FAN OF CLICHE’

“I’m an unashamed fan of cliche. ‘Soldier’. ‘Cop’. ‘Catalogue model’. ‘Construction worker’ - I used to club wearing a builders tool belt not because I needed somewhere to put my walkman and cigarettes but because it looked good. ‘Sailor’ too. Yes it all sounds a bit Village People but the question is less ‘why would I want to dress as a sailor?’ and more ‘when don’t I want to dress as a sailor?’ Often if I’m shooting in a studio I’ll wear a suit but if we’re shooting something playful like cosplayers in Downtown Los Angeles or surfers on Basque coastline or whatever then yes we’ve shot dressed as sailors simply for our own entertainment. Just because it feels good. That superficial. Except you know it’s about masculinity; all Popeye and Daddy issues.”

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“I half remember a black and white samurai sailor fashion shoot from The Face or maybe Arena Magazine in the late 80’s that had a big impact on me. It could have been styled by Ray Petri, all long coats, flares and sailor hats on Japanese models, samurai swords and top knots and gurning old men. Maybe my memory is remixing two or more fashion stories into something different. I like it when something new comes out of old memories, like when you can no longer remember if an old anecdote is real any more, or if it ever was.”