'My own skin fits better than the latest fashions.'
Traditionally, heading to the woodshed was not something that ended positively. Usually, it meant you did something perceived as bad or wrong. The woodshed, a place further away, darker, where your punishment could be doled out without the aid of witnesses to see and hear your cries of pain.
There were no punishments when Warren Russell (DirtRoad) headed to the old barn, instead, a visual reward. Some of my favorite images are ones that skillfully weaving model with environment and I love how DirtRoad was able to visualize his subject within the location, and proceed to captured it.
Location shoots often stimulate my imagination differently that studio work as I love the increased depth within images that also include the connection between model and the environment that surrounds them. In this series, DirtRoad fools us a bit as there is more to the images that simply the beauty of the male form shot outside. I love the incredible umbrella shots, sensual with a distinct feel that rain in fact, had just ended. The erotic beginning however starts to turn more than a little sinister when you look at others in the series. Looking at the models face, into his eyes and around the abandoned structure. It becomes a distinct possibility the axe he is so firmly gripping, might have been used for more than just chopping wood.
What makes the images even more interesting and special to me is that the beautiful naked man with the axe, was completely alone in that barn. Warren Russell(DirtRoad) not only held the axe and umbrella, he also controlled the camera. .
'I’ve always been the artistic type. I model because I enjoy it. I’d rather go for a walk barefoot in the forest than see the sights in the city. When it comes to modeling, I would rather make people feel something than want to buy something. Keep it natural, keep it real. Steer away from the consumerism and appreciate what’s really there.'
Warren first got into modeling when he returned home from his honeymoon and found out he no longer had a job. Although he quickly found a job, it had far fewer hours, so to make the difference, he scoured Craigslist for odd jobs to do on the side. Warren says he saw a number of modeling opportunities, but that he needed pictures in order to apply.
'I didn't want to waste time doing trade so headed to the woods with my gorilla pod and digital camera. I was able to get some good gigs out of the photos. I found that I enjoy shooting myself because I'm more concentrated on the composition of the picture than the modeling. It's tedious working with a self timer, but through trial and error I took some shots I really love.'
One of the things Warren did during the time was salvage antique windows from abandoned houses. One winter, he came upon a collection of abandoned houses. Although it was cold and sleeting, while in the barn, he stripped down and began shooting. One might think the scope of vision is more narrow when shooting oneself, my experience is that it widens. When some photographers shoot the male form, many focus strictly on the body, or simply body parts. With Warren's images, the body is of course important, but instead of being the sole focus, it becomes a nexus, creatively connecting to and with, all that surrounds it.
See more of Warren's work as a model, and photographer, on ModelMayhem HERE: