A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to feature Mark of MW Photo MD, and his images of Andrew. (Put Into Practice) I chose the title for that piece for two reasons, the first being Andrew's love of Hockey, and the inclusion of some of Andrew's goalie gear into the shoot. The second reason for using 'Practice' had to do with Mark's comments about his entry into the art of shooting the male form, and the process he undertook to gain both skill and experience.
'I found a photographer David, Images Male and after checking out his port and his website, and reached out to him as I liked his style of photography. I setup my first studio shoot along with him and decided I might as well jump right in and begin by shooting nudes. David was very patient in teaching me about lighting, the various ways to shoot in the studio and I have done most of my shoots since, with him at his studio.'
Utilizing mentors, and on the job teachers, are something many professions have sadly moved away from. For some professions, especially in the arts, when much of creative and prep and post work is alone, having someone to observe and ask questions of, can be an essential resource. Although there is much to be learned from a good photography class, especially about using a camera, and skillfully utilizing light , they can't really always teach an inexperienced photographer how to envision, create, and then execute a create image. Shooting the male form, especially the naked form, requires so much more than skill and knowledge.
There are brilliant painters who skillfully replicate great works of art, yet struggle to create something that's uniquely their own. There are many photographers who take exceptionally well lit, framed and edited photos, yet there is often, little exceptional about them. Working with models, learning how to create ,and as importantly convey, a concept are far more powerfully learned when watching an experience artist at work. After reading Mark's comments about contacting Images Male, I had to investigate his work, and find out what drew Mark to seek out his guidance and support. Heading to David's site, I was immediately captivated the beauty and variety of David's visuals. Images Male is full of galleries featuring David's many years of capturing the male form.
When shooting his first nude, Mark shares that David help make feel at ease in the studio, introducing him to art form with an experienced model, who was fully comfortable with shooting nude. This allowed Mark to focus on learning, and using his skills, especially lighting, to get the most of the images he was taking. Mark had also been wanting to work with two models together, and when he voiced this, David knew exactly who to call. David had worked with both Alex and Ken multiple times, and knew they would be perfect for the shoot. With just a rubber tire for them to work off, the variety of poses, as well as the depth of emotions and passion between the two models is visually outstanding.
'Alexander and Ken, simply placing them together with a tire, results in strong images as they both have a passion for creating images and posing. Between the three of us, we’re bound to end up with some interesting placement of the two models and the tire. Then it’s up to me to make sure I’m lighting it in a way that is complementary to the models and creates some interesting shadows.'
'I enjoy outdoor shoots with the ability to explore such a beautiful and varied landscape. My goal on a photo shoot is to both create beautiful portraits that capture the subject and to have a good time.'
Although I have featured some of NICKET's studio shots in the past, this series with Kevin, confirmed for me that those beautiful and varied landscapes, are just an important to the California photographers enjoyment of his work. In the past, I have had the pleasure to join, virtually, Nicholas as he explored some of the most beautiful area's surrounding his home city of Santa Cruz.
NICKET's shoots seem almost like day long adventures, taking off for a day full of visual creation and geographical exploration. FH has been fortunate to join NICKET during his shoots of Zach Clemens, Gabriel Mata, Raditty and other models on streets and in fields, on rocks and along rivers and most often on the beach. One of my favorite locations was the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which made an incredible background in the first piece featuring Nicholas' work with Gabriel.
This adventure, and these shoots of the handsome and hard bodied Kevin, come from three different shoots. Kevin clearly puts the time and energy into maintaining his physique and his chest, stomach and arms are especially impressive, not to mention incredibly sexy. Kevin also seems keenly aware of just the right poses to show off all his hard work at the gym.
A teacher of photography, Nicholas understands the importance of putting the models he shoots in as many situations, locations and looks as possible. Although completely naked is often part of favorite look for many, Nicholas also understands, clothes, are often a much more important element in showing off a model's body. Although I am aware many readers want to 'see the goods,' sometimes the goods take away from the hard work and passion fitness models put into other parts of their body.
For his three shoot with Kevin, Nicholas again used location, and a healthy variety of different colors and styles of underwear, to capture a wide range of looks, all spotlighting Kevin great body and look. Two of my favorites are the shots below of Kevin in the red boxer brief's, especially the first shot, capturing Kevin's beautiful smile.
Although healthy living, and working out are passions for Kevin, he is still a little shy about too much exposure. Having worked at Abercrombie & Fitch, Kevin was used to not wearing a shirt, working without pants was still a new experience for him. Although Kevin got more comfortable with showing more skin each time they shot, Nicholas was careful to respect Kevin's comfort level, especially while shooting out on location.
'Working with Kevin was a great experience. He definitely has the right look! His dedication and hard work at the gym are clearly paying off and he is starting to enjoy showing off the results of all that work.'