Lesbros: Joseph Cultice

The trusty website, UrbanDictionary.com, has several definitions for the term lesbro:

1. A man who has more friendships with lesbians than other women or men.

2. The male equivalent of a fag hag.

3. A heterosexual man who is either one or both of the following: a brother to one or more lesbian sisters, or, friends with a disproportionate amount of homosexual women. “Wow, your brother really only hangs out with gay girls, doesn’t he! And you’re a big gay yourself, sister! What a lesbro you’ve got there!”

To us, a lesbro is a little bit of all, but at his core, a lesbro is a male friend to at least one, but possibly several, lesbians. This column shares a little bit about some famous lesbros that we love.

This week’s Lesbro: Joseph Cultice.


All photos by Joseph Cultice

Joseph Cultice began his photography career as a young rock ‘n roll-obsessed teen in Phoenix, Ariz. where he was inspired by his floor-to-ceiling KISS and David Bowie posters and lots of mescaline. He moved to New York City in 1990 and immediately began making an international name for himself as one of the top music and fashion photographers. His first big break came when he worked with Nine Inch Nails and he was also the man behind the award-winning iconic album cover of Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals. He later directed Manson’s tour documentary, Dead the the World.

Joseph lives in New York and Los Angeles with his wife and son, and he’s also this writer’s mentor and favorite photographer.

AfterEllen.com: Of the above three definitions of Lesbro, which do you think describes you best?

Joseh Cultice:
I guess number two, but I have always called my self a skag — you know, a straight male fag hag; skag.

AE: What is the best thing about your lesbian friend/s?

JC:
I have never really been concerned with my lesbian friends being lesbian. I just like them for who they are. I know from experience that you don’t choose who you fall in love with or desire, it is just built into you, you can’t help it.

I guess I do love woman — straight or gay — more then men. I do love my gay males, because they might be more in touch with their female side. I hope I am. Woman are the better and stronger of the two genders, hands down. So if I want to be funny we both love p—y.

AE: Do you think that having lesbian friends has anything to do with where you fall on the Kinsey scale ? Care to comment on your own sexuality?

JC:
F–k, I am a big “0″ on that scale. Even high on deep “E” house at the Sound Factor in the ‘90s, with wall-to-wall men with our shirts off. I didn’t have any desire to be with a man. And loves — I have been hit on, stroked, and rub by the best of them.

I love woman, deep in my bones. Having lesbian babes around has nothing to do with my big “0″ on the scale. Or does it? I don’t know.

AE: What stereotype about lesbians have you found to be false?

JC:
Well, well. I love my butch girl friends. That’s who they are, proud and and can kick my ass any time. But we are all stereotypes. Look at me: I’m now a dad, with a capitol D. I was a stone fox rock god at one point in my life. Now I look like a man who only want to hang with his 5-year-old son. I’m a big stereotype!

We stereotype ourselves into the crowd we most want to identify with at different parts of our lives. We all change and all grow. One day you are in leather shorts, the next, worn 501s and a grey pullover.

AE: What do you think it is specifically that draws you towards being friends with lesbians?

JC:
I love all women, straight or gay. But being gay in general has made them have to deal with a part of their personal lives that I have never had to deal with. I’m straight. It has been easy to understand my place in our sexual world. I give all my gay friends respect for being who they are, it has been more of a struggle for them then I. It has made them stronger people; easier to love.

AE: How has your wife and past girlfriends responded to your friendships with lesbians?

JC:
I only go out with open-minded people, unless they hide it. Then I educate them. Mmmm, educate.

AE: When did you work for Annie Leibovitz and for how long?

JC:
I worked for Annie in 1991 to1992 for about a year and a half.

AE: What was it like working for her? What was the most important lesson you learned from her?

JC:
I learned how to put on the big show, to never give up. She was relentless in getting what she wanted, she was not scared to not like what she was shooting and try something else, to push the subject boundaries. It was a lot of hard work, but I loved the process. She was tough but fair, asking her [assistants] and team to work as hard as she did. I respect her very much — a true photographer.

AE: Did you ever meet Susan [Sontag, Annie's late partner]?

JC:
Susan was one of the bonuses to working with Annie that I did not count on. I would have lunch with her in the studio kitchen many time. She was tough and kind as well. Most of the conversations would start at my level of intelligence and quickly go way over my head. I was young and dumb at the time. She was a great lunch date. I miss her the most. Sushi dates!

AE: What is the most famous/interesting lesbian you have worked with?

JC:
I have worked with Joan Jett many times, Rosie and you.

AE: Aw, what was it like working with Joan Jett?

JC:
Joan Jett — it’s tough to tell the funny stories out of school. As a photographer you can get into trouble. The pop stars then don’t want to work with you because you might talk about their personal lives outside of the shoot.

I am wrestling with that now, putting out a book and wanting to tell the stories. I am finding I can’t. I can talk all I want at parties and in private, but once it become printed it’s a different story. It is a privilege to be in such close proximity to the people I get to work with. They are all so talented, and a lot of them are my heroes. All I can say is Joan gives great photo.

Visit josephcultice.com for more on Joseph and his work.

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