Benno Thoma (b. 1956) is a Dutch photographer who has always been fascinated by the male body, as can be seen from his popular photos for Bel Ami. Born in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Thoma has also established a career as a travel and hotel photographer for some of the world’s leading companies, magazines and private clients. Thoma’s work for Kempinski and W Hotel groups is particularly noteworthy.
Five of Thoma’s books of male photography have been published by Bruno Gmünder, a German publishing house specializing in gay media:
Around the Globe (men of Bel Ami 2007)
Thoma shot the boys of male porn company Bel Ami, framing Lukas, Tommy and others in perfect glory. Set against lavish backdrops and masterfully composed erotic settings, these images evoke an emotional response. Benno Thoma's sense of style makes this 224-paged large format book a high point of Bel-Ami photo books, as the well-built boys pose for grandiose solos and group portraits.
Somos Cubanos (We Are Cubans, 1998)
A large format art book of photos shot on location in Cuba, containing more than 60+ sensual male images.
Absolute Sweden (2001)
Since the Bear Pond (1990) of Bruce Weber, no photo album has appeared that merges erotic male photography so convincingly with scenic photography. An atmospheric and erotic Scandinavian travel report in pictures.
Young Companions (2002)
Thoma's best-selling masterpiece, depicting gorgeous young men in atmospheric surroundings. All photos are printed using the duotone process.
...and the eponymous Benno Thoma (1996).
An atmospheric tour-de-force, these young men are presented in 47 duotone photos (16 of them depict frontal nudity). His use of natural, soft light is remarkable.
In his photo series “WET” (below), Thoma manipulates light and the element of water to present his vision of the male body – vulnerable and innocent. His work uses movement and composition to capture the beauty of male anatomy. The “WET” series consists of large black and white images printed on aluminum.