Tom Bianchi has published ten bestselling books of male photography, and he's also brought out two of his highly-successful volumes called On The Couch. They are a collection of stunning pictures of different men on a sofa in Tom (right) and his partner BJ's home in the San Francisco hills.

The pictures originated on Tom's website in which each month subscribers to the site see three different men explore their own sexual identities in front of Tom's lens. Tom Bianchi has been speaking exclusively to OutUK's Mike Gray about the inspiration for the website and the On The Couch books published by Bruno Gmünder.

OutUK: Is this your first internet project?
Tom: Actually I had a site several years ago and I became aware it is our future but I hadn't contemplated putting out a book that way until we were at the level we're at now with the kind of reproduction quality we're at now. I realise you can publish so much more material on the web. The web should be the first expression of the book and the hardback should be an artefact of the web.

OutUK: As someone who's become world famous for his photography books don't you have any regrets about abandoning print and moving to an electronic medium?
Tom: A project of this nature is more than just a collection of photographs ... it's a comprehensive discussion of our sexuality with the people who are being photographed. It offers an opportunity that a book would never allow. You can't get beyond two hundred pages in a hardback's not physically or economically possible. In that format I'd be able to publish only three of the individual stories. This way I can publish three individual stories per month which are the equivalent of a 96 page hardback book.

OutUK: What differences are there in composing photographs for the net rather than a book?
Tom: In essence no difference ... in both you're looking for the highest quality you can achieve. We did a pretty thorough research job on what was out there, what the quality was and we realised that there was now the technology to put something up which was extraordinarily beautiful compared to what people are used to seeing graphically on the web.

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