From Ed Barnas’ story for The New York Photo Review:
Photographers’ using self-portraits to explore identity and gender roles is nothing new. Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman, and Francesca Woodman spring to mind. Chuck Samuels offers the viewer a nice variation in “Before the Camera.” Based in Montreal, he has exhibited internationally since 1980 but this is his first solo show in the U.S., even though this particular body of work was done several decades ago.
Walking into the back room at ClampArt, I had a sense of déjà vu. The dozen images on the wall “looked” familiar to me, as they would be to anyone familiar with the history of the nude in photography. Samuels has recreated a number of classic images, from Bellocq, Weston and Man Ray through to Avedon, Newton and Mapplethorpe. The twist is that Samuels’ own average male body has replaced the women in the original images, inverting the viewer’s expectations and subverting the “male gaze” in images of the female nude.