How it all




This is Mike Arlen, the unique British photographer of male nudes, whose industrious life started as a child because an amazing mother treated him as an adult from an early age.  Between 12 and 18 he acted in hundreds of radio plays and stage productions.  Being an avid reader of personality profiles on the celebrities of the day he felt at 15 he could write them as well and his adult actor friends at the BBC taught him how he could bluff his way in to interview celebrities.  Conversationally he sounded at least double his age and his features started appearing in SHE magazine and Woman's Own.


Soon after he started taking fashion pictures a German magazine editor saw a series of his shots in print on two bodybuilders in swimwear and asked if he could take nudes on them for Germany.  Mike took his  first model to a farm and had him surrounded with cows and sheep holding lambs.  But he realized quickly both sexes enjoyed watching guys undressing from uniforms of the past and present.  And putting guys into surprising settings like buses, trains and the engine rooms of cargo ships quickly made him known. But he knew under British law erection shots in magazines would have them confiscated by the police so he tied up with a Dutch company to produce one edition of MANPOWER that had 50 of his models with extraordinary erections. 


The first seven volumes of Mike Arlen's Guys quickly went out of print and collectors of volumes 8 to 15 sometimes become obsessed with tracking down the early issues.  They place ads offering 50 a copy and get no reaction.  In the nineties the government realized Britain's sex laws were light years behind other countries and a judge finally gave the British Board of Film Censors permission to pass sex videos.  So in Mike's magazine world erections were legal at last. 


Photographers of sex videos had been contacting him for years asking if they could combine his guys with their girls in movies.  Mike didn't care if his models were straight, gay or bisexual and made a point of getting to know what they wanted to do in future.  Taschen Publishing now have an impressive large and heavy coffee table excitement called the Big Penis Book in which the Arlen pictures stimulate 25 pages.  He is the only British photographer in it and lovers of the subject get the best deal through Amazon. 


The New York magazine INCHES has been running Arlen spreads for years and last year the May edition is worth tracking down for Hardy Cybulski, June has David Doyle and the August issue features Ray Spring undressing from policeman uniform.  Mike says he won't go into video as he doesn't believe in starting anything he won't stay with for at least 10 years.  Right now he is working on other career plans and only stays with male nudes as he knows it wouldn't please many people if he stops. 


Studying his magazines in print, volumes 8 to15 of Mike Arlen's Guys, that have at least 20 stunning sights in each edition, plus MANPOWER, his clients quickly learn they can also have sets of ten 5 by 7 inch colour prints on favourite guys at their even more revealing best.  When he is not taking test shots on applicants he can be contacted through mikearlen@btopenworld.com or by phone at his London number on 0207 373 1107, or by post at 23, Wetherby Mansions, Earls Court Square, London SW5 9BH.