It’s Tough to Have a Crush


Humbert Humbert only had “words at [his] disposal” to fuel the fire of his loins. To sate their respective fires, French photographer Nicolas Wagner and American creative director Khary Simon, the editors of Crush Fanzine, have something more visual in mind. Year in and year out, Wagner would shoot the same people over and over, as if some sub-conscious desire guiding his work. He enjoyed some repeated interactions more than others and decided, “It would be great to channel that obsession into a fanzine… a healthy way to put it all out there” he says. The result is the first issue of Crush, a fanzine and a method of creative appreciation for a person of object. The first issue features Request model and muse Arthur, and it sold out after its launch this month at Envoy Gallery. Says Wagner of the exclusivity of the crush, “It’s a small run of about 1000, which makes Crush more like a gallery project than a real magazine. It’s like a collectible item.”

The editors met Arthur on a shoot five years ago. Arthur’s qualifications for crush-dom? “He’s so consistent, it’s almost problematic to edit film with him. Every picture is amazing,” says Wagner. Model/soccer player Arthur wasn’t embarrassed; he was professionally prepared—”Because he’s a model he’s used to that kind of attention.” Arthur’s received fan mail before and after publication (some mail is included in the zine); since publication he’s had to endure even more adulation, “We’ve gotten some requests, but nothing too crazy,” says Wagner.

In forthcoming issues the editors promise their subjects (or objects) of Crush will prove polymorphously perverse. “It can be a group of people, movie director or a casting of a movie or a city,” explains Wagner. The only qualification for a crush is that it be, “something you can’t stop thinking about.” Wagner’s own first cush was Madonna—not necessarily the most sexual of crushes (who’s to say though?), but surely cause to plaster a young man’s walls with paraphernalia. But on the dark side on every crush is obsession: The next issue, Wagner warns, has a darker, more fetishistic approach.


Nicolas Wagner; Arthur, Khary Simon at the launch at Envoy


We asked the editors, Crush experts, where they’d take their ideal crushes on a date. The answers may surprise you:

Melvil and I meeting in my favorite neighborhood of Paris, Montmartre. Rue Lepic is so crowded for a Tuesday night, but we manage to sit down for a drink, he wants me to coach him for his next role. He will be playing a fashion photographer (again), and I gladly accept to show him the ropes. He knows he can rely on me.

Midday in her apartment, sitting on the floor of her walk-in closet, sipping tea for hours. We discuss fashion, politics, weaves, show business, art, holistic health, the 80s, love, Roxie Roker.

She is still on the phone when I arrive. She looks at me then at the couch. Even the drinks won’t calm my nerves. Could she possibly be more beautiful? I can’t articulate my thoughts but after our second bourbon, she says, “Yes, you can photograph me.”

Green is such a great color on her. She meets me in front of the Marc Jacobs store in the West Village, and I beg her to reenact the scene in Magnolia where she goes postal on the pharmacist, “Don’t you call me Lady! Shame on you!” She laughs, “The only drugstore around here is a Duane Reade.”  She offers to go get cupcakes instead.

Midday at La Luncheonette (he orders in French), we sample food and wine and discuss his childhood. Everyone laughs. Amy stops by—is that one dates or two?