Editor's Note: This article contains some erotic photography.

A Thousand Words

You're not supposed to be here. In this motel room, in this bathroom, backstage at this show. You aren't supposed to be seeing this. This private moment, this intimate setting, this unguarded emotion.

But you are seeing it. And although the photographs are silent, you can hear their stories, whispering somewhere at the back of your skull. And you can't help but listen. Desire or disgust, empathy or envy, the stories move you.

Not many photographs have this effect on us. In muscle culture, this visceral reaction has almost been forgotten. Most of today's bodybuilding photography tells no story and offers no insight. It's generic, vanilla, silent, or just plain boring.

But in the last few years, several photographs have caught my attention: a fitness model smoking a cigarette in a seedy hotel room; an enormous black bodybuilder catching a cab in the rain wearing nothing but his posing trunks and flip-flops; an aging porn star sitting on the toilet.

For whatever reason, these photos made me look twice, caused me to hear those thousand words every picture is supposed to be worth, but seldom is. I recently learned that all of these strangely compelling photographs were channeled by the same medium: Brian Moss.

Brian usually lets his photos do the talking, but we recently tracked him down in New York City for an exclusive interview.

T-Nation: Brian, why is it that we can look at a thousand photos and know exactly which ones are yours?

T-Nation: Is this point of view development something you actively pursue or is that something innate within the artist?

T-Nation: You actually discovered photography pretty recently, around 1997?

T-Nation: What brought you into the bodybuilding world to begin with?

Moss:

T-Nation: The real bodybuilding movement was mostly taking place on the other side of the country, right?

Moss:

T-Nation: While you were the owner of Better Bodies you rediscovered photography, right?

Moss:

T-Nation: So you naturally starting eyeing subjects that you saw daily in your gym.

Moss:

T-Nation: Did you have a formal education in photography?

T-Nation: That's probably a good thing.

Moss:

T-Nation: Interesting. You shoot a lot of really muscular women for your site, SheMuscle.com. Really muscular women. The general public is fascinated by these Amazon women, mostly from a freak or oddity perspective and sometimes from a fetishistic perspective. What's the draw there?

T-Nation: As an artist, you seem to really enjoy the lure of subcultures, be it bodybuilders, gearheads, or strippers.

T-Nation: Subcultures are always fascinating, and of course bodybuilding itself is a marginalized community.

Moss: Yes, and even split up because you have some people who just like the men, some who just like the women, and it just goes on and on. There are subsets of subsets of subsets.

T-Nation: Your settings are often intimate: bedrooms and backstage, for example. How important is setting in your work?

Moss:

T-Nation: These backstage photos of yours seem to have the appeal of reality TV in a way.

Moss:

T-Nation: Some of your most interesting photos were taken on the set of a porn movie. Tell us about that.

T-Nation: What's sexier in photography, nudity or implied nudity?

Moss:

T-Nation: Have you ever had a model go too far during a shoot?

Moss:

T-Nation: Ansel Adams once wrote that a photograph is usually looked at, but seldom looked into. When someone looks into your photos, what do you want them to see? What emotions do you want to elicit?

Moss:

T-Nation: When this is published, we'll probably get some violent reactions to the images of the really steroidal women. Does that bother you in any way?

T-Nation: Right. So some guy may throw up and some guy may masturbate.

Moss:

T-Nation: Speaking of fetishes, I notice you have a lot of girls smoking cigarettes in your pictures. This is a sexual fetish in and of itself, right?

T-Nation: With your SheMuscle.com site, you must interact with a lot of men who like muscular women. Now, these guys don't like simply fit women, but have to have a masculine, heavily muscled woman. Where does that fetish come from?

Moss:

T-Nation: Many of these fetishes seem to attract a group of men you wouldn't suspect, such as Fortune 500 executives who like to be diapered and treated as babies.

T-Nation: I've read about that. I understand there's a "lift and carry" fetish.

T-Nation: Let's talk about some of your more interesting photos, the odd pairings for example, like bodybuilders dressed as clowns or catching cabs in their posing suits.

T-Nation: How do you come up with these ideas? Is there a moment of epiphany?

T-Nation: Tell us about your Women During Sex series, which I understand you've been shopping around as a book.

Moss:

T-Nation: Now that's thinking outside of the box! Now, since you've been involved in bodybuilding since the early 1980's, what do you think of the state of pro-bodybuilding today?

Moss:

T-Nation: Haven't some of the ruling federations asked the competitors, especially the women, to drop their muscle weight by 10%? It sounds like they're asking the competitors to back off the drugs a little.

Moss:

T-Nation: Agreed. Where can T-Nation readers go to see more of your work?

Moss:

T-Nation: Thanks for the fascinating talk, Brian. We look forward to seeing more of your work.