PRIVATE MOMENTS is an oversized, beautifully designed portfolio of the art of Howard Roffman. Celebrated in the world of photography for his sensitive and sensuous images of the male figure, Roffman has to this point capitalized on black and white as his palette, but here in this generous book the emphasis is on the magic he can create with color. Far from being the more frequent posed pictures of other artists, more focused on the qualities of capturing form in the variations of light and shadow and dark, Roffman in PRIVATE MOMENTS takes those learned gifts and in transferring his chosen tool to the digital camera is able to present the viewer with some of the most lushly evocative moments of youths living in the moment in dazzling color.
Whether in the lush foliage of gardens, playing fields, and bodies of water or in the wisely selected interiors of homes and other dwellings, Roffman has the good fortune to have at his bidding a number of young healthy lads from Bratislava and Budapest who seem at once oblivious to the camera and at other moments embracing the lens with a combination of youthful innocence and wild physical curiosity. One of the aspects of this collection is, as Roffman proudly states in his brief introduction, that the models 'are straight boys and gay boys, school pals and total strangers, streetwise kids and innocent country lads, shy ones and show-offs, seasoned pros...all young...and gorgeous and oh so giving.' These are the boys of Bel Ami - a phrase that can either be translated as 'beautiful friends' or as the company that focuses so successfully on films of these lads. The manner in which Rothman makes them so appealing is the freshness of his approach. The gestures are full of the joy of being free in nature or in private, of expressing desire, of investigation, and of exploring the youthful libido. PRIVATE MOMENTS, so treasured by these images, become beautifully public in this very fine new book. These are some of the finest spontaneous expressions of the mixed world of passion and exploration - and simply, joy. Grady Harp, September 09