It has not been a great year for Olympian swimmers not named Phelps to get a lot of media attention. Another swimmer however, has managed to carve out his own piece of social media. 'I want to touch your abs' is one of the most common thing people are yelling at Chinese swimmer Ning Zetao.
'The 23-year-old, who was named China's sports personality of the year in 2015, recently featured on the cover of Elle Men and social media users have branded the athlete a 'stud'
'The disadvantage of being a mature model is that there is not much demand for guys my age. The advantage is that when I have the look a photographer needs, there a few other models being considered...
At what age does a model peak? If you asked the average person, or the average model agent... my guess is the age would be under, possibly way under, thirty. What if however, you began your modeling career in your 50's. What if 5 years in, you're working almost constantly with a resume containing over 100 photographers and artists who have captured your image.
I have written often that when I decide to contact a model or artist, it usually starts with my being grabbed by one of their images. The only criteria I really have about who I feature on the site is that their images make an impact on me. With Ivan, the image that grabbed me first was the shot of him lounging by the pool in his black speedo. This is the image that I used for pic of the day. Ivan uses that image as his current Model Mayhem avatar and it had me eagerly clicking to see more of his work. I was not disappointed.
When you first click into Ivan's MM portfolio you are instantly struck with how devastatingly handsome he is. Ivan has beautifully structured and welcoming face, captivating blue eyes and an gorgeous beard and head of silver hair. Although the first few shots are classic headshots and fashion portfolio images, as you scroll down the rows of Ivan's images, they become more diverse, more creative and artistic and incredibly hot!
Ivan reveals more than just his magnificent body. he also expresses a humanity and a professionalism,. These two attributes, so many of the photographers that have worked with Ivan, express when describing their work with him. Ivan also exudes a comfortably and confidence in front of the camera, something I was surprised to learn, didn't exactly come naturally.
'I had always been "camera-shy"....uncomfortable being photographed, and that showed in images of me...so I didn't like seeing the photos.'
Clearly things have changed.... Ivan's curiosity, as well as his risk taking and desire, helped increase his level of confidence once he began to shoot. Ivan generously shares the story of how he ended up modeling and his experiences in front of the camera over the last five years.
So... tell me how it all began?
'About 5 years ago, a young lady who I often saw at the gym, but didn't know by name, asked me if I was a model. I answered that I was not and didn't like being photographed. She explained that a photographer friend of hers was always looking for guys "just like me". "Just like me"? I asked. "Yeah, you know.....old, but not fat or bald" Well, that didn't set the bar very high. But she pointed around the room at the gym and asked if I saw any other guys my age that qualified. She made her case.
So I agreed to talk to her friend. He convinced me that he didn't want a "model", just a guy with my look who he could photograph for his portfolio, some stock images, some online ads and corporate PR. Turns out, he was very easy to work with, told me just what to do and helped me relax in front of the camera. He was happy with what he shot, thanked me, paid me for me time and that was that.'
'Soon after, he sent me some to the photos. I was amazed at how good he made me look. He gave me the photos and encouraged me to create a free "Model Mayhem" profile. He said other photographers would hire me. I was skeptical, but did as he suggested. He was right! That was how I "became" a model, lol. The disadvantage of being a mature model is that there is not much demand for guys my age. The advantage is that when I have the look a photographer needs, there a few other models being considered, so I seldom have to audition or compete for a gig. I'm either right for the part or I'm not.'
When did you make the decision that the clothes would come off?
'When I got started on MM, I had no plans to model nude. That came later, after I had done a few more fully clothed and some shirtless shots. Again, I was amazed to be contacted by a photographer who wanted a mature model for artistic nudes. He wanted to make a statement about "age vs youth" stereotypes. I said no, but he was persistent and finally convinced me to start in casual clothes then, if comfortable, move to shirtless, underwear, then nude, BUT only if I felt comfortable. He was cool if I stopped anytime.
As with my very first shoot, he was very easy to work with. He showed me the good images in his camera as we progressed. That built my confidence and we went on to underwear and some teasing, implied nudes. Again, he shared the images in the camera and suggested that I just try without the briefs and if I don't like the images, he'll immediately delete them from the camera. With that agreement, I lost the briefs and did some really bad nude poses.....obviously uncomfortable and self-conscious. But, with his patient direction and some time, I relaxed and he got some decent shots.'
'Those images on his profile got the attention of other photographers and soon I was agreeing to pose nude, as long as the concept made sense to me. The test I applied was this: If a friend or family member saw a nude shot of me and asked (in shock) if that really was me, I could say, "yes, that is me, but it's a nice image, isn't 'it? Does it qualify as "artistic"?'
'My favorite gigs have been with students from local art colleges such as The Art Center in Pasadena, East LA College, Otis, etc. They often have really amazing, inventive, creative concepts they want to shoot. I sometimes don't even understand what they are going for, but their passion and drive are very compelling and I seldom refuse their requests. Also, students struggle with having to hire models when they have no budget. I feel students should not have to pay models, so I'm always willing to work in trade for images and the opportunity to share in their creativity.'
'Because I'm not the typical young, handsome model, I probably get far more unusual gigs the others. I could write pages about the strange shoots I have done. Outdoor nude work is always likely to produce some uncomfortable moments, but no disasters for me so far. I have done some weird characters and parts of characters as a body model. For one, my face and hair were painted totally white, I was clothed in all white and photographed on a white set. The agency would not tell me what the images were for. Months later I saw one of the images from that shoot in an ad for an upcoming big budget film. But.....my head had been replaced by the head of a very famous actor! My body, his head, lol.'
'I have received many strange offers, some I have taken and other I have declined. If I get the feeling that there is an agenda different from what is being put forth, I'll pass. I sometimes see castings for concepts I'd really like to do, with photographers who's work is very impressive to me. If I fit the casting, I'll apply, but often don't get the gig. I understand that I fit a small niche and the artist has to go with the model that looks right to them. I'm never put off by an artist who simply says "I'm looking for younger" I'm 60 now and can't go back.'
Favorite body part, or part that gets the most attention?
'I consider my blue eyes to by my best feature (thanks Mom!). I am amazed to be recognized by people in far away places who make contact with me on Facebook, asking if I am "that old model guy". Even once at JFK airport a guy asked "Are you Ivan Bohman?" He actually knew my name! I was shocked but also very flattered.'
'By my count, I have worked with over 100 artists or photographers. With some, once was enough, but most were a pleasure to work with. A few I have shot with more than once. Several I consider friends and hope to collaborate with again in the future. My "real" job is technical, mostly science based. I'm not very creative. This "hobby job" as a model has been a wonderful chance to work with many very creative and talented people. I'm lucky to have stumbled into this hobby.' Below: Ivan by Allkindsofmen