Narcissus Magazine Tom Bianchi
Photo © Tom Bianchi

Elegance of form and muscularity were assets Mark Jugis possessed in great measure. Mark was the subject for the photograph titled Narcissus first published in my book Out Of The Studio in 1990. My intention was to present a positive image of gay men when our fear of death and disintegration reached epic proportions in the darkest days of AIDS.

Mark reveled in his physical being. He knew he inhabited an extraordinary physique that he enjoyed displaying. He could move dramatically without appearing arch – striking attitudes that a less gifted man would seem silly to assume. When Mark extended a leg or stretched his torso, he did so with the confidence of a well-trained dancer. While not a dancer, he seemed capable of flight.

Mark was, in fact, a narcissist; he recognized his beauty. Most often, the term narcissist is pejorative, applied to people who have little consciousness of others. When, the narcissist so loves himself that he is blind to others, the tragedy the myth illustrates is realized. But I believe in a state of narcissism that is healthy.  The narcissist can also be a realist in recognizing his or her own beauty and still be conscious of the beauty of others. The “real” problem in life and love is when a man cannot see his own divinity. In that case, his ability to love others is crippled.

Examine your life with rigorous honesty. Gaze at your reflection. Love all that is good about you. Forgive, and change what you see as less than your best self.

by Tom Bianchi