Slava Mogutin

The queer Russian photographer, author and provocateur on his first book published in English.
April 03, 2014

(Slava Mogutin)

You’re probably familiar with Slava Mogutin’s raunchy photos of New York go-go boys and rough-hewn Russian twinks. But the Russian ex-pat is also the author of seven books of poetry, essays and fiction in his native language. His latest work, Food Chain, is his first collection of writings published in English. It’s a mix of a memoir, political satire and magic realism, a first-hand account of Russia’s underground gay scene and Mogutin’s explorations of the worlds of porn, fashion and art that’s been 20 years in the making. 

“It was a challenge to find the translators who would be willing and able to translate my work,” the author says. “And it was just as challenging to find a publisher who wouldn’t shy away from the subject matter, which is often very graphic and gory. I’m grateful to Chris Stoddard of the Brooklyn-based ITNA Press who offered me a book deal and made it all happen!”

CHOOSE ONE: Iconic Gay Author

Dennis Cooper, Armistead Maupin, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin

I’ll say Baldwin, Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Dennis Cooper, since I was responsible for introducing their work to the Russian audience. And, of course, I was very much influenced by the great French writers Arthur Rimbaud, Jean Genet and Georges Bataille.


CHOOSE ONE: Your Level On The Food Chain

predator, prey, scavenger, apex predator

I’m a keen observer and voyeur; however, my literary protagonist constantly alternates between the roles of a prey and predator. 



Who is the sexiest person you’ve ever photographed?

I recently shot a British actor, Russell Tovey, who was a part of the cast of HBO’s Looking. I find him incredibly sexy indeed. And, of course, my boyfriend, Brian Kenny, who remains my favorite subject, muse and collaborator for the past 10 years!


Approximately how many jockstraps would you say are in your home?

I have a vast archive of props—too many to count!


Do you prefer writing or photography?

I could never separate the two, and they’re forever intertwined in my work and life.


What’s your go-to drink? 

Jalapeno margarita