Based in Lille, Northern France Miguel Nochair has steadily built a following for his quirky, distinctive style of photography. His work features a diverse type of male types, both in terms of physical types and ages and combines sometimes graphic nudity with highly playful elements.
I recently sat down with Miguel in his studio to discuss his art and how he developed his interest in photography.
Miguel Nochair: Accidentally on purpose. I was in love with a dear friend of mine and I took up photography to impress him. I stayed in it because I liked it and realised I was good at it. It took me a long while to admit I was good at it…
RG: That’s an interesting point. At what point did it stop being something you were doing to impress someone else and start being something you did for yourself?
There was a small competition, wildlife photography. I came runner-up and then I realised I was good at it.
RG: People know you now though as a photographer of men. Why did you start photographing guys? Was that your own interests or something you drifted into?
RG: But you’re not a typical physique photographer. Though there is quite a bit of nudity in your pictures, it’s not traditional beefcake imagery. What do you look for when you work with a model?
MN: I guess what I look for is both universes collide and explode. I do like when I have ideas and the other person has ideas. We can mix them together. Like the crazy photo-shoots of people wearing capes and with Power Rangers toys and naked with an erection. That’s where they are born.
RG: You mention toys. There are strange juxtapositions in your work and you bring together mismatched elements, like for example toy weapons or bits of costume. Tell me about that.
MN: Because I think that people should not grow up and give up on what they liked as kids if they still like it. I was often made fun of because I still loved Sailor Moon and Power Rangers when I was 18. I always refused to grow up in that sense. I want my outside to reflect my inside.
RG: So when you use these costumes and props, are you trying to find the childlike quality in adult men?
MN: I think there can be fantasy and nudity because it’s a bridge between worlds that is almost man made. You can find that in Japanese animation but its still rare in Western civillisation.
MN: I mean it’s fantasy as a genre. All these heroes we had when we were young, they do grow up and they do have a sexuality. I want to show them as human beings because they cannot be Goody Two Shoes all their life. God knows I’ve tried!
RG: I must say that you do photograph quite a few different types of guys.
MN: It’s not that I’m not picky but everyone is beautiful and everyone has a story to tell. I now feel I’m good enough to find that in the photoshoot with one person. You can be thin, you can be muscly, you can be a bear, you can be whatever you are. I will take pictures of you.
RG: So what next for you?
MN: What I would like to do is an exhibition and I kind of have a project with t shirts… Use my as they’ve been called House Models and have them wear a shirt with the others face on it. I think there’s a market for it.
And I’d like to shoot women. With a camera. Not with a gun…!!
RG: Hahaha! I did realise you meant that!! And whatever you do next I have no doubt many people will be watching with interest.