A man of sharp contrasts; light and shadow, rough surfaces and roiling depths, hard edges and soft sentiments, digital artist and erotic photographer Bruce Colero encompasses it all and then some. It’s no wonder his art provokes strong responses in those who view it when the artist, himself, can provoke on so many levels all at once, and damn well loves doing it!
Fresh from working out for an hour and then playing both piano and then guitar, Bruce shares the secret to pursuing his many interests outside of photography. “I’m fortunate that my business is pretty self-sustaining and I have good people that work for me (and) that allows me not to work.”
Michele Gwynn: How many years have you been doing erotic photography?
Bruce Colero: My first book came out, I believe, four or five years ago. So I’ve been doing this since I put out my first book; the notoriety starts with that first book. Once you’re published, you separate yourself from the fucking wannabes and all the hacks out there, it gives you credibility. I was doing this five years ago for my own self-interest, to get away from, you know, my other business. Prior to me opening these businesses, I was an artist, and I was actually pretty successful at it, but not to the degree where I was bringing in the kind of money that I wanted to make for myself.
Michele Gwynn: I read you were doing comics; was it comics or graphic novels?
Bruce Colero: I was doing, well I am doing (graphic) novels now, but back then, it was like Muscle Magazine, and romance covers, and ad agencies, and the like. The kind of work I was doing for the body building magazines was kind of more the fantasy type, the more, um, heroic, you know, the typical fantasy images, but not the degree of sexuality I’m doing now.
Michele Gwynn: You’re doing quite a bit of work now!
Bruce Colero: And that’s all I care to do.
Michele Gwynn: Let’s get more personal. You’re shooting all these very gorgeous, very much half-naked or fully naked women. As a man, and a man with what I believe is a great deal of testosterone…
Bruce Colero: Here comes the inevitable question…
Michele Gwynn: (laughs) Yes, the inevitable question. Do you get turned on when you do these shoots?
Bruce Colero: Everybody asks that question, and then when I tell them that it’s not like that, then they sort of disbelieve me or they can’t believe me. The fact of the matter is that when I’m looking through my lens, when I’m looking at the girl, or when I’m actually shooting, she is a prop. She’s a small part of what I am doing. So when I’m looking at the girl, I don’t see the photo that I’m taking, I see what I can do with the image so, you know, I’m focusing on how she looks, how her body fits into the image, how the lighting’s hitting her body. It’s very technical when I’m actually in the process of shooting.
Michele Gwynn: Is there a particular type of model you like to work with, does it matter? What inspires you when you’re working?
Bruce Colero: Most people presume that a woman’s sexuality is based on merely her body, her physical looks, and, you know, sexuality is more of an attitude, how a woman carries herself. It can’t be forced or faked. You can take a random look on Facebook and you see all these girls posing with their fucking cameras in the mirror, making duck faces, sticking their asses out, pushing their tits out, and they fucking look retarded, you know? Fuck that shit. It’s dumb. It’s just not there. You either have it or you need to learn how to emit it on your own. It can’t be faked. It’s like, you know, you’ll see images where it just looks too hard, the floaty lingerie, and sort of the Playboy-esque images, to me those are never sexual, like Playboy, those kind of shots are just too forced, it’s like “I’m trying to be sexy”. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Michele Gwynn: What do you like, personally, in a woman?
Bruce Colero: Hmmn. Um, I’ve never really looked at that. I don’t have a ‘type’. I don’t, well, I obviously like a woman who’s beautiful, but there’s varying degrees. There are so many things that can make a woman attractive that I wouldn’t say I have one particular look. That’s the sort of thing that comes across in my art; just the way a woman is holding herself, or she’s turned or, you know, to me, sexuality is the moment, um, ….
Michele Gwynn: I think I’ve stumped you!
Bruce Colero: I couldn’t define what makes me attracted to a woman. I couldn’t say that, uh, you know, that I’d go after an over-weight woman or anything like that, but even, at times, women that are not in shape or, you know, who have bad qualities or other traits that wouldn’t typically be attractive by today’s standards, even they have their times when they can be attractive. I wouldn’t say there’s one definitive quality, “Yea, that’s what I like”. No. You know, that’s not what it’s like for me.
Michele Gwynn: How did you get hooked up with Fashion Erotica?
Bruce Colero: They contacted me, and uh, I think because my art is do different than the norm, because lets be honest, any guy with a fucking camera can take a shot, and I..for me, taking the photo is only a part of the final image. If you take a look at my portfolio, those images where it’s more than just a photo, that’s what I consider my work.
Michele Gwynn: What exactly are you working on with FE right now?
Bruce Colero: Well, because of the nature of my work, and whatever other reason, Naked News contacted me, and I have access to a lot of girls and a lot of girls seem to want to work with me, um, so they came up with the idea of them shooting me shooting a model; a reality sort-of segment: ‘One on one with Bruce Colero’. So, the model is then being interviewed and they’ll interview me during the course of the photo shoot and it’s just the process of me shooting a model. So Fashion Erotica came on board. They were interested in providing wardrobe, they have access to designers; high-end couture from around the globe, they would be able to put their work into my work. So they get the broadcast, you know, they get to be seen in 36 countries, and then there’s the internet airings, and then there’s my work that’s, you know, there’s sixty to seventy thousand sites that have my work so anybody who gets on board is going to have a massive amount of exposure very quickly. FE really came through. I told them I need them to source out locations and provide me with wardrobe, and even on short notice, they came through. In this industry, everyone talks shit, everyone says they can do things, and I say show me, don’t tell me, and they did.
Michele Gwynn: Who have you photographed and of those, who was your favourite?
Bruce Colero: I’ve worked with a lot of adult film stars like, because, okay, my work is different so for them to see them selves portrayed in a manner in which they’re not typically used to, it’s a fucking kick for them. So Jesse Jane was awesome to work with – I’ve worked with Alektra Blue, Stormy Daniels, but – and then I have a lot of girls flying in from Canada or the states to shoot with me and so every girl has their…it’s been really good shooting with, I would say, 99% of the girls. I’ve had one girl, — what pisses me off, the one fucking piss off I had was a girl came in looking completely different than her portfolio showed. She was much heavier than what she presented at, and it was an awkward fucking moment. And then when she saw me, you know, I’m very clear about what I want. I don’t want somebody coming in expecting something different than what it is so when a girl works with me, and it’s obvious what I do, it’s clear that I want nudes if that’s the shoot, and it was very clear with this girl that she was going to be posing nude. When she came in, she saw me and her fucking eyes bolted out, and she was like “I can’t, uh, I can’t get nude.” I was like “what the fuck?”
Michele Gwynn: Why not?
Bruce Colero: I don’t know. She was like “I can’t do nudes with you”. I’m like, what the..okay. I would never pressure a girl into doing anything that she’s not willing to do. Despite the fact that she agreed to it prior. If she has a change of heart coming to me, then, uh, whatever! So I killed the shoot and she went home.
Michele Gwynn: That’s weird. Generally speaking, a model would know ahead of time what she’s walking into.
Bruce Colero: Yea. The only other bad experience I had was this girl, she had no fucking sense of humour, whatsoever. She was just a complete – she was a dead fish, but she could pose, right? So that was good. Past that, I really get along good with the girls. I have a good relationship with them, and it works out well.
Michele Gwynn: You seem extremely personable to me. I don’t see what the problem is? Going back to Fashion Erotica Magazine, when I first saw it, I thought, this is really neat and very different from anything I’ve seen before. It’s like a high-end European Couture magazine, but with more nudity. Considering the current political climate in America and the religious rights’ push to drag us all back into the Dark Ages, freaks and zealots coming out of the damn woodwork, do you think this magazine is an idea whose time has come? Do you think it will flourish and become the norm or remain taboo?
Bruce Colero: I was asked a question similar to this by Hustler, too. Do I think something like this will ever be ‘mainstream’, and I don’t think the taboo will ever become mainstream, A) because people want their ‘taboo’ to stay dirty, and once it becomes mainstream it’s no big deal, you know? All the kinks and fetishes that people have, part of the allure if that is a kink is that it’s not the norm. But, you know, will it flourish? I think that kind of appeal if it’s done tastefully will always have its market. I mean, adult magazines currently are suffering because there is such rampant abundance of it on the internet. So, magazines are dying, overall. Not just adult magazines but the whole fucking genre; books and all. Five years from now, are you still going to have newspapers?
Michele Gwynn: God, I hope so. I’m a writer!
Bruce Colero: Well, that’s not to say you won’t still be useful, but will it be on the internet or on paper?
Michele Gwynn: Probably on the internet.
Bruce Colero: I just think the time for printing is done. You know, the cost savings of going internet is monumental! That sort of physicality of holding a book, you know, I just flew in and was reading on my iPad which is – you sort of lose that touch of a book.
Michele Gwynn: I see what you’re saying, and I know that’s the way things are going, but I’ll miss that ‘tactile’ feeling. From an ecological ‘save the planet’ perspective, it’s good because it saves trees and all. But, you know, FE is pioneering the way with being a 100% internet magazine experience. So is there anything you would not shoot, anything you would personally object to?
Bruce Colero: No. I mean, outside the obvious, — abuse to animals is out of the fucking question.
Michele Gwynn: Bless you! I love you.
Bruce Colero: There’s no way I would fuck with an animal, now way, no how. No cruelty to children. But past the obvious , uh, no. Even though it’s not my personal kink, if someone wants to see someone get butt-fucked, well that’s their thing. Go for it! I may not be seeing it, but I never judge anybody for what gets them off. For me, I like what I do. I like the sort of taking the unreality and making it a possibility, making it look real, um, you know, if you take a look at my work, you know I go into a little bit of bondage, those things. I’ve done a woman squirting into a martini glass, you know, that kind of stuff. Sometimes the actual visual aspect of an image is what I get off on. That’s what I like to see. It may not be something of a sexual turn on for me. It may not be something I’m personally into, but if I can look at it and visually make it sexual and appealing to my eye, then I’ll do it. Like one of the concepts I want to do right now with, you know everyone has their own twist on a clown. They’re fucking scared of them or most of us don’t like clowns, so I want to do this sort of dark circus theme and have a very innocent, but, you know, Lolita, sort of sexual girl, and then have these sort of clowns, like the Joker portrayed in Batman Begins or….
Michele Gwynn: The one with Heath Ledger?
Bruce Colero: Yea, the Heath Ledger one; and then have this really fucked up circus where shit’s broken, and everything is dark and you have this girl sort of as a contrast where she’s light. That’s the sort of thing I like. I like textures like metals, and glass, and stuff like that so that’s an image I want to do.
Michele Gwynn: That’s an interesting concept. I personally don’t like clowns. I have a sort of trauma about clowns from when I was five so we’ll leave it at that.
Bruce Colero: Right. The aversion that you feel with that image, you wouldn’t know how to feel. You have that sort of allure of the woman and that disgust, that fear with the clown. To me, an image has to move you.
Michele Gwynn: ..and it doesn’t have to be in a good way.
Bruce Colero: No. I mean, it should fucking ‘affect’ a person, you know? There’s so much you can look at and it’s like, man, it’s there, it’s pretty, who gives a fuck? Really? Show me something that fucking makes me think or moves me or twists my emotions and does something to me. That’s what I like doing and obviously my primal urges are sexual in nature, so that’s what I like to sort of, that’s my playground. There’s so many aspects of that that you can touch on. It’s just endless what I want to do. One of the questions that I routinely get is where do you get ideas or are you afraid you’re going to run out of ideas? I’m afraid that I’m not going to get all the ideas that I have in my head out!
Michele Gwynn: I feel the same way about writing. Must be an artistic thing.
Bruce Colero: Your labour is much more in depth than what I do. Yours is a relationship. Mine’s a one-night-stand!
Michele Gwynn: (laughs) You’re right. That’s a good way to put it. Are you working on another book right now?
Bruce Colero: Right now I’m working on my own calendar that’s coming out, it will be out next summer. It will be sold in stores, kiosks, around the world, so to do that, it has to be non-nude. To me, again, it’s not ‘flashing your vag” that makes it sexy. You can still have a non-nude, and still make a very sexual image. And then there’s another calendar project that just undertook today, again, based on my own work, uh, there’s a chain of clubs in Edmonton called Diamonds, and I’m doing work for them, like a calendar based on my kinds of images, so that’s happening. I have another pin-up book that I’m working on. Then I have the monthly Naked News thing alongside Fashion Erotica. They all work together, thankfully. Yea, I’m busy.
Michele Gwynn: It’s good to busy. I know exactly what you mean. In the last 24 hours, I’ve had so many different assignments and opportunities thrown at my head, and I love it. It’s all good.
Bruce Colero: It just means people are wanting your work.
Michele Gwynn: It’s good to be wanted.
Bruce Colero: Absolutely. With you writing for all these, uh…the (Sex and Relationships column), I used to write for this one and do a sort of advice column. Has there ever been anything that sort of shocked you?
Michele Gwynn: Things don’t generally shock me. I’ve heard so much from so many people – I wouldn’t say ‘shock’, I would say there may be a time or two when somebody told me something that made me angry because I thought it was something that was abusive, and they shouldn’t be doing it, but, you know, if they were actually hurting somebody, I felt justified in the anger, but if it was just something that was their own thing, I had to dial it back and say, you know, that’s just their thing. Let it be.
Bruce Colero: Yea. Whatever two consenting adults do, I’ll never question.
Michele Gwynn: Exactly! I feel the same way…
Bruce Colero: It’s when shit crosses the line…
Michele Gwynn: Yes. If you hurt a child, an animal, or beat a woman who doesn’t want to be beat…I’m going to be angry.
Bruce Colero: …Then I’m gonna kick you in the throat! I hate bullies. I,… fucking on Facebook you always see people posting shit about abuse to animals. I don’t want to see that shit. It fucking pisses me off. And secondly, these people that are doing it, people know these people, just take them out, man. Just get rid of them. It’s not hard to kill somebody, just fucking go there, get rid of the motherfucker, and bury the body…
Michele Gwynn: Beat their ass..
Bruce Colero: ..and the world’s a better place. There’s no benefit to having these people around.
Michele Gwynn: None, whatsoever. I just hate when people hurt an animal. That’s why I write about animal rights.
Bruce Colero: Yea, I saw that. You’re a hero in my book. I can’t stand abuse to animals. I will fucking lose my shit on somebody if uh, that’s the quickest way to turn me incredibly violent.
Michele Gwynn: We have to hang out, you and me.
Bruce Colero: Well, aren’t you, wasn’t FE wanting you to come to New York for fashion week?
Michele Gwynn: Yea. We’re discussing that. I’ve never been.
Bruce Colero: Apparently it’s a huge fucking deal. I wasn’t aware of how big of an event it was. I was sort of ignorant to the fact.
Michele Gwynn: Oh, well, you were right there with me! I told FE, hey, I’m a Texas girl. To me, jeans are formal wear! They’ll have to take me shopping.
Bruce Colero: Nice!
Michele Gwynn: You grew up in Toronto, and you have a couple of degrees?
Bruce Colero: Yea, I have my art degree, and I have my illustration..I didn’t complete it, but I went till nearly the end, and at that point I had started getting freelance work, and it was either stay in school or get fucking paid! So then I was like, fuck you, and then I started getting paid.
Michele Gwynn: You told me you have another business. What is it?
Bruce Colero: I have a health supplements and distribution business.
Michele Gwynn: How did you get involved in that? You mentioned before that you came up with your own formulas?
Bruce Colero: I’ve been working since I was fifteen; studying martial arts, exercising and lifting weights since then, so, I went to college for art, doing what I was doing, but I wasn’t making the kind of money …like I’ve always wanted to be a millionaire, and being an artist, you know, outside of the rare percentage or unless you’re fucking dead, you’re not going to make that kind of money. A successful artist, if you’re good, you’ll make, you know, a hundred a year-ish, and that’s not what I wanted to make. I started getting into my own business. I had some pro shops which are basically small stores in gyms. At the same time, I was studying martial arts, getting into the fighting heavily, and I was going to –like, I was training at the time to be a UFC fighter, and I was considering fighting professionally. At that time, I was basically – I took a look at the formulas and products that I was selling and then I tried to figure out what made them weak in terms of public appeal and in terms of the formulation, and then I got with some people in some labs. I came up with some formulas that were comparable or better, but, you know, with my own brand. So I came up with my own brand, and sold them in my own stores, and they sold well. I sold all my stores and took all the money I had and invested into more products, and bigger run sizes. From there, I basically did some manipulation, and through strategic planning, I pitted a big distributor, one of the biggest in Canada at the time with GNC; well GNC was interested in my product, but there was no way I could fucking distribute to a hundred stores. So I went to this big distributor and I said “Look, I’m gonna give you GNC and you’re gonna take my fucking line and distribute it!” They said “okay”. So I made over a million dollars in my first year. …. I started to do my own distribution after a couple of years. I have my own staff, my own warehouse, and my own reps. I control everything now.
Michele Gwynn: You have so much energy, Bruce. I’m curious. How many women have been able to keep up with you?
Bruce Colero: It’s not my energy level that women have a problem with, it’s the lifestyle that I lead. It’s just very difficult for a woman to handle the fact that I do what I do ..
Michele Gwynn: ..that you photograph nude, gorgeous women?
Bruce Colero: …so I guess it’s just difficult for women to handle. I don’t put up with bullshit. As a soon as a woman starts riding my ass she’s fucking gone; she’s out the door.
Michele Gwynn: (laughs) Why is that so easy for us Sagittarians?
Bruce Colero: I don’t know. I’m just not going to put up with bullshit. It’s not fair to the girl, first of all. If she’s unhappy, she’s not going to bring me down, not going to fucking change who I am so ..
Michele Gwynn: That’s just insecurity and lack of trust.
Bruce Colero: The moment you’re unhappy, you know, see ya!
Michele Gwynn: So it’s her problem?
Bruce Colero: Well, that’s a very fucking selfish attitude to take. You know, I’ll work with you, through you, you know, there’s obviously some degree of understanding I have to give to any woman because I get it.
Michele Gwynn: Yea..
Bruce Colero: The fact that I’m not your typical looking photographer like those short, fat fucks who just get a camera because they can’t get a naked woman in front of them any other way, and there’s a certain amount of compromise that has to go into it, but you know, there are fucking lines in the sand and I won’t cross it, and if you push me too far, then fuck you. See ya.
Michele Gwynn: So have you ever been married?
Bruce Colero: Yes.
Michele Gwynn: Still married or divorced?
Bruce Colero: Uh…I have a very high sex drive and, uh…
Michele Gwynn: It’s all that testosterone, Bruce!
Bruce Colero: Well, whatever (laughs).
Michele Gwynn: I told FE I could smell it all the way down here in San Antonio!
Bruce Colero: Yes…and she wasn’t as sexual as I was so I cheated. My sort of environment is not the norm for most people. I’ve discussed this with friends. I have a lot of options presented to me constantly.
Michele Gwynn: I bet.
Bruce Colero: You take any random male and they’re not being hit on by half-naked women. They’re not the target. They’re not the prize, and based on my lifestyle, and whatever degree of fame you want to apply to it, and with the success I have in my other businesses, …
Michele Gwynn: ..Plus, you’re personable, and probably a bit of a flirt! So…divorced?
Bruce Colero: Yep to both!
Michele Gwynn: I can see that happening. So how long have you been divorced?
Bruce Colero: I was married at 26; divorced at 27, and now I’m 43, so there you go.
Michele Gwynn: Oh, you were very young then when you were married.
Bruce Colero: Yea. But I’m an incredible romantic. Despite, you know, the sort of jaded outlook that I have perhaps, I’m sort of like the true Edward Cullen, Twilight sort of romantic. I love that shit!
Michele Gwynn: I love it, too! I’ve never met a guy that liked that! That’s so cool.
Bruce Colero: I fucking love Twilight.
Michele Gwynn: Oh my God. I’ve read the books I don’t know how many times before I ever saw the movies.
Bruce Colero: Yea, yea…that sort of distorted “Edward”-love is fucking awesome!
Michele Gwynn: Bruce! You’re my soul-mate. Come down to Texas! (laughing)
Bruce Colero: …and then you take the fact of what I do for a living and it’s, I don’t know, two huge contrasts.
Michele Gwynn: It is a contrast. But, you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. I think it just makes you an interesting individual.
Bruce Colero: Thank you.
Michele Gwynn: Aww….I love all these things that you do. I feel like I could talk to you for hours. Thank you so much for your time.
Catch Bruce’s work in collaboration with Fashion Erotica Magazine and Naked News in this and upcoming issues! He’s a freaking photographic Rock God, and did I mention he’s sizzlin’ hot?
This interview has been conducted by San Antonio-based freelance writer and author Michele Gwynn: for Fashion Erotica Magazine. Michele pens a Sex and Relationships column as well as a National Animal Rights Column for Examiner.com. She has conducted interviews with Showtime’s Gigolo Nick Hawk, international actor Rudolf Martin, former Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleader and first female scout for the L.A. Lakers Bonnie-Jill Laflin, former UN Ambassador Sichan Siv, the cast of Broadway’s The Jersey Boys, HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, to name but a few. In addition, she has authored a science fiction short story, Harvest, and a children’s fiction, The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer available on Amazon.com. Michele is currently working on her first full-length erotic novel which will be out in 2012.