Calvin Klein, Guitar Kiss


This series was created by celebrity art photographer Bruce Weber and Sam Shahid, creative director of Shahid & Co., New York.

The two have worked together for 15 years, starting at Calvin Klein in 1981, where they helped win acceptance of the male body in mass media. They put up a larger-than-life billboard in Times Square of a muscled man in white briefs that became synonymous with Klein — a brand that now has tremendous currency in the gay community. Back then, the nearly nude male was considered taboo in a business that used women's bodies to sell most anything.

From there, Weber and Shahid moved to Banana Republic, where in 1992 they created a sensation with the "Free Souls" ad insert into Vanity Fair. In a sensual series of six heterosexual couples, the insert closed on a male couple, arms entwined. Shahid had to insist that the couple be included when he created the ad.

Openly gay Shahid said that Abercrombie has never been concerned about his work appearing too gay. Yet like A&F, he is uncomfortable talking about the advertising in terms of its appeal to the gay market. He focuses on its universal appeal, noting that heterosexuals love the advertising as much as gays.

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User Comments
Emery Sztankoczzy
Nice to see men showing affection for each other rather than agression. It would be a better world if it were acceptable for men gay or straight to express emotions beyond the macho and aggressive.

Why can't we ever have any NORMAL looking gay guys in ads? These men are like lipstick lesbians; fun to look at, but hard to imagine in real life, where all the sexual appeal is.

I love this ad. It's just perfect, sweet, adorable and a joy to see.

Although I agree that these guys are unrealistic, I think the reason for this isn't that they're gay but just that models used to sell clothes/beauty products (whether two women kissing, two men kissing or a straight couple kissing) are good looking so the average person (if they're naive enough) will think they look good, maybe I will too if I use that kind of clothes/beauty product. That's all that's happening here.

Apart from the unrealistic nature of it, this is a great ad with a passionate (and sweet) embrace. I like it.

Juan Carlos Villamil
My only problem with this ad is that his tank-top is tucked in. What's up with that? Is this a fashion ad to teach people how not to wear clothing? Where did they get the stylist for that shoot?

Awwwwwwwwwww... they're so cute. It's such a sweet kiss.

Awwwww...so adorable.

This is a touching expression of affection between real men, pure and simple. Unlike others who have commented, I find that this is very easy to imagine in real life. These guys are fit. So are a lot of guys. It's not that unusual or unrealistic. They definitely look normal to me.