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1) How do you plan your photo shoots? Do you work mainly from commission or sometime do you follow and idea and plan it?
Most of my shoots are arranged via Modelmayhem (http://www.modelmayhem.com/1762312) or Facebook - either a model contacts me or I see someone that stands out from the crowd and I think suits my style. I tend to Google on their name to find out more and agree their limits with them - obviously most of my work involves full frontal nudity so I need to be sure they are comfortable with that and where the pix might be published etc. My ideas depend on the model and generally I mix the nudity with fashion, underwear or sporty props - that’s the main advantage of shooting at home - everything is to hand if I need it, whether its cricket pads, flowers (I buy a new bunch for every shoot), jock straps, beds, chairs, and a bucket of water to get a wet look! And I have accumulated 100s of items of underwear for model use only - it’s the first thing they notice when they walk into my house. A lot depends on time - some models can only do 2-3 hours, others much longer - my longest shoot was 7 hours, totally knackering for both of us. The longer shoots allow me to do some outdoor pix - I have a secluded area where I can stay in my kitchen whilst the model stands outside. Despite the seclusion the models always look a bit more vulnerable and the natural lighting produces completely different results. Studio lights almost always exaggerate imperfections - moles, temporary zits etc. These largely disappear outside so it’s good to get the variety.
2) Some of your guys are clean cut model material, but some others, while beautiful, are more the next door guy (less groomed, more real); what is your ideal guy? Both in life than in a shoot.
Almost all of my guys have faces that interest or attract me and that’s the first thing I look for, short hair (normally), great eyes, plump lips, smiles - I love guys that can smile in front of the camera, it changes their look and warms the heart so much. As for physiques, fit looking guys with great chests, not necessarily with 6 packs -as long as they are trim that’s fine for me and I love shorter guys. And I’m a huge nipple fan! So even if a model doesn’t want to do full nude a glimpse of nipple does it for me. For the nude stuff big choppers do make a difference - preferably with some hair to go with it - always makes it more erotic but more and more guys are shaving their pubes off including the straight guys, armpits too, very strange. As for real life, well I’ve been with my fella now for 15 years and he only possesses some the above - the difference is I love him to bits!
3) Want to share something more about you and your partner?
I am 11 years older than my partner, Paul. We met in October 1998 in a club in Soho, London, and fell for each other straight away. We were both at the end of unhappy relationships and have been together ever since with lots of good times.
4) You started in the male nude doing profile pictures for Gaydar, isn’t it right? I suppose most of your clients were non professional models, is it different working with them?
Yeah on Gaydar anything goes! Most of these are totally private shoots - some of them just want to get off on the experience - they bring their own props!! That said a lot of them have model potential at least for fashion work. The main difference is they need more direction - same with Facebook shoots. If their intention is to attract other guys then generally they need at least a few smiley pix, not too much pouting or self-conscious frowning. Some have whacky ideas - like the guy that brought a bunch of carrots with him complete with greenery. On the other hand that probably inspired me to use flowers in some of my nude pix - not quite as whacky but still unusual to some....
5) There is a feeling of being at ease in most of your pictures, like the model has just woke up (from your bed), or like he is a friend who spent the night, how do you manage that?
I love doing these innocent bed shots. I first tried it with the lovely Adam Coussins - just lying snuggled up on a pillow with his eyes gently closed and then suddenly open - the difference in the 2 images is amazing but both very romantic looking. Butch physique guys with biceps and tatts - just so cute when they look asleep and leaves everything to the viewer's imagination. The bed shots are always at the end of a shoot and the sleepy looks are quite easy to achieve after a few hours shooting.
6) Similar to the previous one, but with different output: when you need for a model to be erected, how do you put him at ease?
A lot of my models have done 'adult' modeling work so for them it’s quite easy and comes naturally whether gay or straight. Sometimes they ask if I have any, ahem, appropriate videos, so I have a collection to suit all tastes! It isn’t normally necessary though - the underwear etc. makes most men feel quite turned on - plus if they cover themselves with body oil it has normally has the desired effect. At this point I normally play with the dials on my camera and generally faff around or talk rubbish and then just get on with taking the pix with minimal direction - 'stop, hold back, keep still, tweak your right nipple, now both nipples'. Sounds, hysterical but I think it puts them at ease and anyway seems to have worked so far. Actually the more awkward question for me is 'do you mind pulling your foreskin back'? Just seems such a specific direct question. LOL. Can sometimes help with getting an erection too if they haven’t already got one.
7) Two words caught my attention in your profile, Oxford (where you are from) and Cricket (you did a series of male nude cricketers), both true English things: do you think you being from UK give a different flavor to your pictures?
The nude cricket series was really a deliberate attempt to be different - i.e. rather than use footballs, basket balls etc. It also allowed models that don’t want to do full frontal the flexibility to use the props such as the gloves, crotch box etc. Funnily enough I hate cricket but the nudity manages to make it look at least a bit more interesting! The same with the violin pix - I’m not fond of the instrument, but in the right hands it can look quite phallic and I love the contrast with the geeky glasses, the classical look and the fully exposed crotch. I don’t think I’m an English eccentric as such but I’m sure being English helps with some of the ideas. Last year I did a few Olympic themes and that was obviously to do with national pride.
8) What was the strangest thing that happened while doing profile pictures? Have you ever received "odd" requests?
Using the bunch of carrots as a prop was probably the oddest request - probably best not to be too specific! Pouring cream over models is great fun and I get a few requests for mild bondage images using the chains, ropes etc. that I have lying around. The strangest thing that happened last year, during a coffee break, was the shriek of Alfie Stone from my conservatory. It was the hottest day of the year so far and a tribe of ants had found their way into my conservatory and were eating Alfie's lunchbox and just seconds away from his suitcase full of undies. The lunchbox looked really nutritious - slices of melon, fruits etc. all gone to waste. But at least he didn’t get ants in his pants.
9) You said you didn't like to be a wedding photographer because you were used to take still life pictures, but now you are working with VERY alive subjects... what is the difference? Being the model naked (bore to the eyes) makes him more real to the lens?
Yeah in my twenties lots of my best friends were getting married (that probably ages me - I was born the day Marilyn Monroe died so I was bound to be gay!). I was the 'official' photographer at a lot of their weddings plus their friends but I never really had the confidence to arrange groups. I joined my local photography group, learnt how to use a camera properly and developed pictures for competitions etc. Then years later digital came along and rejuvenated my interest in taking pictures of people. During the first and second period I realized I was gay (took ages to fully realize and accept it) so overtime taking pictures of men and doing it confidently came naturally. So back to your question, the difference is the one to one relationship with the model - I enjoy the chatter as well as taking the pix although obviously I have to stay focused. With still life pictures depth of field is really important. The nearest parallel with what I do now would be an erect penis - if I was doing a close up for example. I rarely do these but I have seen some fantastic erotic close-ups done by some other UK togs and it would be good to try. Naked models are by definition natural and real but the range of looks can make such a difference to the picture - very personal if looking straight into the lens, more vulnerable when looking down. Much more satisfying than wedding pix (which I now do for friends that are re-marrying!) or still life because of that one to one relationship. Probably not answering your original question but makes sense to me!!
10) Have you ever being attracted from your subject? Did it make a better shoot?
Whenever I arrange a shoot - at least with regular models - there's always something that attracts me and as said before it’s always the face first - not the physique or size of his chopper! During the shoot itself I normally just get on with it without thinking about the attraction too much and I work as fast as my lights will allow (the camera is fast but the lights sometimes take time to recycle). The most intimate pix I take are actually the face close-ups and I take more of these the more I’m naturally attracted. Which means that even if the model is completely bollock naked I end up with a lot more face portraits than full body sometimes? I think the best shoots I do are when the models feel fully at ease and start doing their own thing without any direction. I think the main danger is being over-attracted to a model and losing concentration, thinking I am getting good pix, and then looking at the pix afterwards and then forgetting that I meant to spray him with water or get the violin out!
11) Your future plans? A website, a photobook, an exhibition, something else?
I had a website a few years ago but the provider didn’t really approve of nude pix so I have largely been relying on Modelmayhem and Facebook for the last couple of years. I am not a prolific photographer because of my day job, but these are enough to get some good shoots with some really great models. I have had a few cover pix published in the US where I get more interest for some reason but ultimately I need to get a website back up and running and then some calendar work or a photobook. The latter takes a lot of dedication and at the moment my day job gets in the way. I used to exhibit my landscape and architecture work, winning competitions etc. so it would be great to get back into that as well. There's also certain models I’d like to work with and haven’t managed to work with so far - so that’s what I’m still concentrating on at the moment. Without the source material I can’t do any of these other things. Oh and I need to learn how to edit! I only use a fraction of what Photoshop and other programs can offer. My theory is that the source photograph is the main thing - so I focus on focusing.
And tomorrow Dylan promised to send some more intro pictures to the new issue of tMf ;-)
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