MY MOTIVATIONS & IMPRESSIONS OF WORKING WITH NAKED/HOT GUYS
Many people probably wonder why the focus on male nudes and the overall interest in photographing hot guys -- ok, maybe this is sort of obvious, but here’s some of my thoughts on the topic.
One question that gets asked -- “Is it shallow to select models that are attractive?” The saying that beauty is skin deep comes to mind. I think we all can appreciate beauty in its many forms. If a photographer chooses to shoot animals, landscapes, cars, or food, it is likely that they will find something attractive in their subject matter and want to capture that and might go out of their way to visit particularly beautiful venues (eg. Grand Canyon). You can imagine someone spending a lot of time making food look great before capturing the right image for a cook book.
Hopefully we all realize that beauty on the outside is not what really counts in life in terms of friendships and overall recognition/status, etc., but we can also almost all agree that someone or something that has outer beauty is pleasurable to observe and admire. All of the models that have a built body have invested a lot of their time to achieve results and my photographing them is helping them celebrate their success and often gives them motivation to push harder going forward (their words to me).
Some of the most physically attractive guys I've photographed are the nicest people I’ve had a chance to meet. It is helpful to realize that almost everyone has some insecurity about their body and they see one or more flaws when they look at themselves in the mirror. My job as a photographer is to help put everyone I meet at ease and capture them in the most attractive way I can. This could involve lighting, angles, posing, etc. With very attractive models, this takes less effort and I more quickly produce images that are very appealing to the eye.
Why naked? While many of the models and poses are clothed or suggestive nudes and not full frontal nude, I do enjoy the opportunity to work with models in a completely natural state without clothing. There are several reasons and they include - it is interesting visually including how light falls on a body, it provides a niche service where I can set myself apart from others by developing an expertise in working professionally with naked men and most of us enjoy seeing some skin in images. The inclusion of nude men makes my portfolio stronger and more compelling overall and provides a more natural and complete set of male portraiture. There is nothing shameful about being naked and seeing images of men in this natural state seems right to me. Oh ya, I forgot to mention it is exciting to see naked men.
Another thing I think about when looking at my ever growing portfolio and the work of fellow fashion photographers is “Are we collecting trophies?” I think there is an element of excitement and feeling like having a specific model included in your portfolio reflects positively on you as a photographer. When I see an image of a super hot guy and I “like the photo”, I often think to myself, “am I reacting to the photographer’s skill or the model’s beauty?” The reality is often both come into play and if you combine an incredible model (posing ability AND natural beauty) along with the skills of an experienced photographer, you will often produce the most exciting images.
One of the motivations for shooting models is the chance to meet interesting people. When I was in high school and college, I was a photographer for the newspaper and yearbook. One of the things I liked about this role was being included in worlds where I otherwise would not be (eg. sports teams, student government or the band) and meeting and interacting with people who were happy to have me around capturing interesting images of them. I felt a part of many worlds and felt good giving people images they enjoyed having. I met all types of people in the early days of my photography and this continues today. In producing images of others, I then developed my own expertise and following which gave me confidence. This same dynamic continues today where I feel good about sharing my work with others and in turn this further defines me as an expert in a field. While I have enjoyed success in the business world, I am happy to now embrace the world of art and my role as a professional photographer.
When someone arrives at the studio, I enjoy chatting for a few minutes prior to shooting and then getting to know them over the course of the shoot. While I’m not looking for or likely to make best friends, I am very happy to widen my circle of people that I know to some degree and I feel more connected to the world around me as a result.
Another question I get is about the photos being retouched or natural. I don’t tend to do a lot of post shoot retouching, however, I often will soften skin a bit, brighten eyes and at times remove select blemishes. I am not seeking to make the model look perfect, rather, it is a slightly stylized version of how they appear since part of the goal of a studio shoot for me is to produce an image that looks a cut above what would normally be captured and give the model a top quality image of themselves. At the same time, it shouldn’t look too fake or altered beyond reality.
Overall, I enjoy meeting new models, finding interesting ways to capture images of them and I will also continue to celebrate the diversity of men - this includes guys of every look, personality and body type. While more and more of my subjects display traditional beauty and youthfulness, I remain open to working with any man who desires to have their personality and image captured.