Award-winning photographer Blake Little discusses his new book, ‘PRIMARY’

PRIMARY, the fourth in award-winning photographer Blake Little’s successful male portrait series, audaciously finds Little aiming his vision for the first time at nude portraiture.

Little has done body studies before, but this is the first time his focus has been on capturing personalities and stories by photographing real people in their environments without clothes. Followers of Blake Little’s male portraiture have long been asking him to make a book of nudes, but Little has never been interested in creating pornography or even overt erotica. His focus has been on capturing his particular vision of gay men and the authenticity of his subjects.

PRIMARY” refers to what comes first or is most important,” says Little. “We come into this world without clothes and all the associations and signifiers they bring. It’s where we start. To be naked is to be revealed, stripped down, raw and honest.”

The images have all of the features the photographer is known for: surprising locations, sophisticated compositions and beautiful lighting, allowing the viewer a more intimate look at some of the men from his previous publications along with beguiling new subjects.

Shot over more than four years, both in his Los Angeles studio and on locations around North America and Europe, this is Little’s biggest and most ambitious book. With 166 photographs in a large hardcover format, designed by the award-winning Sean Adams and edited by Frank Rodriguez, PRIMARY is his most extensive work yet.

We recently grabbed a chat with Blake Little to discuss a little bit more about PRIMARY.

Kyle Jackson: Most of the locations you used to shoot “Primary” are in North America and Europe.Can you tell us how you went about picking locations and which ones were your favorites?

Blake Little: I choose locations near the areas where the guys live or are traveling. The locations are an important part of the photos in my work. I create the composition with the model and the setting. I am drawn to locations that are a combination of nature, manmade structures and materials.

Some of the memorable locations are the Palm Springs desert, the streets at night in Sitges, Spain and the forest in Brush Prairie, Washington. The Brush Prairie forest was a perfect forest. It almost looks artificial.

KJ: Who are the men of “Primary”, and how did you find your models? 

BL: The men in PRIMARY are men in my extended community. They are friends, friends of friends, referrals and guys I find on social media.

KJ: You mention that you weren’t always interested in shooting nudes. Can you tell us what made you feel differently about it this time?

BL: I wanted to add a new dimension to my male portrait work. I am primarily a portrait photographer, and my focus is on the connection with the subject. I wanted to challenge myself to make nude portraits that go beyond the nude body and still focus on the guys. My first book Dichotomy (1997) was a B/W nude book of figure studies. Primary is a combination of the portrait and the nude.

KJ: What was your favorite thing about working on “Primary”? 

BL: I love men. The PRIMARY book project provided the challenge of making strong, beautiful images that highlight the unique qualites of each man. I was able to travel in US, Canada and Europe and work with all these diverse, amazing guys of all ages and body types. There is really nothing better.

For more information about PRIMARY and to order, visit
For more information about Blake Little, visit his website at and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.