Celebrity art photographer Bruce Weber and art director Sam Shahid 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.
They moved to Banana Republic, where in 1992 they created a sensation with this "Free Souls" ad insert into Vanity Fair and later with "My Chosen Family." In a sensual series of six heterosexual couples, the "Free Souls" insert closed on a male couple, arms entwined. Shahid had to insist that the couple be included when he created the ad.
Since 1996, the creative team has made Abercrombie & Fitch a force among youth with nonstop pictures of beefcake.