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Rickey by Luke Austin
In the age of the Insta-hunk, there's never a shortage of shirtless men filling up our feeds. But like Australian-born, Los Angeles-based photographer Luke Austin, you may have noticed a blinding abundance of Caucasian abs and pecs.
"White portraits often receive triple the number of likes and comments as a portrait of a black man," Austin says of his own work he's posted. "We are brainwashed into thinking that European features are the epitome of beauty." In response to that lack of diversity, Austin made it a point four years ago to focus his lens on gorgeous black men. The results are now collected in his new book Lewa, which takes its name from a Nigerian Yoruba word for beauty. In stark contrast to the tough-thug cliche still so frequently fetishized online, Lewa contains refreshingly sweet and naturalistic portraits.
"Any imagery that distances black men from these common stereotypes is incredibly important," says Austin, whose subjects include models, friends, and Moonlight star Ashton Sanders.
Lewa is available now from Milos Mestas Editions.
Photography: Luke Austin