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Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity

Preview ADULT #2 with John Edmonds' tender nude portraits

The New York-based erotic magazine showcases its second issue with this sublime series from a talented DC photographer

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Photography John Edmonds

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to take over Dazed for a day. This week, State of Sex takes an all-encompassing look at sexuality, gender and all the flavours of the American rainbow.

Now New York-based erotic magazine ADULT takes over the reins, bringing their groundbreaking and sexy vision to the fore. Here we preview Issue Two with exclusive images from one of their favourite photographers, John Edmonds. Keep checking back here today for all things ADULT in their Dazed guest edit. 

John Edmonds is 25 years old and lives in the American capital, where he is already making some of the most gorgeous and significant photography in the country. His is the precise type of work which ADULT was created to print: from the beginning, we've sought out classical beauty in contemporary subjectivity, and when a best friend sent us a link to Edmonds' portfolio – consisting entirely of portraits of young black men, most of whom are strangers he meets on the Washington, DC metro – we knew we had found a soulmate. 

This series, which appears in our second issue (available for pre-order now), is intended to lend tenderness, or "oneness", to our gaze upon what Edmonds calls "the most hated body in popular American culture and/or society." He tells us that because he is small and skinny, he doesn't threaten his subjects; because he is also young and black, they usually trust him. One of the subjects is a model, which makes it even more impressive that Edmonds drew out the aura from under his professional focus. The rest are not models. All are stunning – and vulnerable. The images, says Edmonds, are meant to complicate a superficial eroticism by adding layers of political intent.

If Edmonds could shoot anyone, living or dead, he would choose: Travis McCoy, his teenage crush; LeBron James, whose Vogue cover with Gisele illustrates how black men in the mainstream are portrayed; and Susan Sontag, because she is (or was) so beautiful and smart, and because she's eternally shaped his perception of the image and the politics of presence (ours too). Shooting at the intersection of race and place, sexuality and class, he wants to makes images more humanistic and powerful than the standard frame allows. We can think of no aim truer than this. 

Click here to pre-order the second print issue of ADULT, on stands August 21. 

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