Hey guys! It's been a busy week for me since I traveled down to San Antonio to attend a work-related conference. It's always nice to get out of the city and just have a change of environments. It also helps that I was staying on the Riverwalk and had excellent views of the towering hotels, the Tower of the Americas, and excellent night views of the city. It was definitely a fun trip and an awesome conference. Plus, I had enough time to do a hotel-based photo shoot with a great guy! So yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to working on those images and eventually sharing them with you guys. Nonetheless, I was ready to come back home. Sure, I love traveling and seeing new things, but I was itching to get back to my apartment and Austin by the end of the trip. So yeah, that's definitely a good sign that the apartment is starting to feel more like home with each day that passes.
Being part of the photography meet-up definitely helped to build my confidence in myself and the images that I was creating. It definitely helped that I was able to work with several photographers and learn from them as well as supplementing what I was learning through the courses that I was taking. It definitely helped me out with the practical skills since I was setting up lighting and backdrop equipment as well as working with models. The group also helped with constructive criticism in letting me know what worked and what didn't necessarily work. Plus, they listened when I wanted to try out some ideas that fit within the theme, such as the neoclassical art poses during the previous photo shoot with Dave.
Of course, I definitely enjoyed the simpler shoots. Don't get me wrong; I loved the theme shoots since it gave me some boundaries to work within. But there's something awesome about going into a photo shoot without a plan and just seeing what develops throughout the shoot. That's exactly what happened during the photo shoot with Mark Monroe. The theme, or title, of the photo shoot was simple: "The Male Model". That's it. Yeah, it's a little scary going in without a plan, but it was also exhilarating because I was free to create whatever images I wanted with Mark. Plus, there's a part of me that enjoys the simpler shoots - me, the model, some clothing, and a backdrop. There's definitely a sense of freedom that comes with it as well as a sense of control. For me, these are some of the best shoots since it allows for a deeper connection with the model.
Mark was definitely easy to work with throughout the shoot. He had an easy-going attitude and a desire to create some awesome images with the photographer, namely me. Of course, throughout the shoot, I just kept thinking that he was so young - not that I'm old, but life definitely has a way of making 32 years far older than an early twenty-year-old. Still, we definitely were able to form a connection and have fun throughout the shoot. Plus, it helped that he reminded me of my college roommate in terms of personality and somewhat in the looks department. So yeah, right from the beginning, I felt completely at ease around Mark and just looked forward to the shoot.
As I said, it was definitely easy to work with Mark throughout the shoot. Like I've said previously, if I can find something appealing about the model, whether it's his personality or looks, then I find myself falling a little in love/lust with him and work harder to show that appeal to the rest of the world. With Mark, it was definitely easy to find his appeal and share what I saw with the world. Of course, it helps that Mark had an amazing physique that he's been working on since he was 13 years old. That hard work is definitely evident in the images chosen for the blog entry and uploaded in the album focusing on the shoot.
I chose the image below to start off the photo portion of the blog entry. As I previously mentioned, Mark has an amazing body and it is highlighted extremely well in the image. I love the attention on and the definition of his chest and abs. Attention is further drawn to that aspect of his body through the subtle curve of his sides and the fact that his weight is rested predominately on one leg. For some reason, I also love the fact that he's staring directly at the camera, but there's not a hint of a smile. It all serious business. Of course, I also love the fact that Mark's modeling his own black Calvin Klein briefs in the image. They're not form fitting as I usually have models wear, but the fact that they are his own briefs has a certain appeal to them. What can I say, there's something alluring about the fact that the waistband of his briefs are an angle that runs counter to the line at his hip. Like I've said before, it's the little details that I tend to focus on and find them making the image interesting.
I definitely love photographing hot guys in various underwear that highlight their bodies. As I mentioned, Mark definitely worked hard to create his amazing physique. Since he was pretty athletic, I decided that I wanted to photograph him posing in a white jockstrap. I do have some additional images of Mark posing in the jockstrap, but the image below is definitely my favorite from that portion of the shoot. Yeah, Mark definitely has a nice bubble butt that is framed nicely by the straps of the white jockstrap. However, it's the overall pose that I love in the image. Again, I love the curves of his his side and how it leaves the viewer's eye either up into his left arm and back down to his right side and eventually back towards his bubble butt. For me, it's really the position of his arms that proves interesting in the image and how it directs the viewer's eye to either of his sides. Like I said, it's definitely one of my favorite images from the shoot.
Of course, what photo shoot wouldn't be complete without some temptation. I'm actually somewhat impressed that I was able to capture the entirety of Mark's body in the image. I mean, seriously, all of his limbs are shown in the image without being cropped. Like I said, that definitely impressed me considering that Mark is significantly taller. Nonetheless, I love the overall feel of the image. I love the use of negative space in the image and the overall pose. However, it's the simple props in the image that makes it interesting. Sure, it's a somewhat religious theme harking back to Adam and temptation, but it's definitely an interesting image. Who know that an apple and a strategically place leaf will create some drama. Like I said, it's a simple image, but it's giving me further ideas. Now that I'm looking at the image again, I'm tempted to do a composite image with this as the centerpiece. Like I said, the image is nothing but temptation.
This image is definitely one of my overall favorite images from the shoot. I love the image below for several reasons. First off, I love Mark's pose. Again, the curves of his body definitely is alluring since it's not your typical static pose. On top of that, I love the position of his arms and how the muscles are tense, especially in his left arm as demonstrated by his bicep. It does help that the pose is doing amazing work to highlight his abs, chest, and the veins leading do into his black Calvin Klein briefs. I also love the fact that he's not looking at the camera and is creating a sense of drama in the image, which is further accentuated by the lighting. Finally, I love that he's framed against the door frame with the glass helping to create an interesting contrast to his body. To me, this is definitely one of my better images because its different enough to make me pause as I'm looking through my catalog.
Normally, I'm not one to favor images that don't show the model's face in the image. Sure, there have been a couple of images here and there that don't show the entirety of the model's head or face, but there is usually some aspect represented in my images. However, this image always makes me pause and has quickly become one of my favorite images, even if it doesn't show Mark's face. For me, it's the composition and pose that makes the image stand out. It's a simple image of Mark taking off a beige sweater; however', it's a amazing image that highlights Mark's body. I love how his broad shoulders lead down to a trim waist before tapering down into his thighs. Yes, he still has an amazing bubble butt and it's highlighted in the image, but I always focus on his shoulders and following the lines down. Like I said, it's a simple image, but it still proves to be captivating. Even now, I still find myself enthralled with the image.
And this is the second image that I love from the beige sweater series. As I noted above, Mark is not looking at the camera and creating a connection with the viewer, but it still captures my attention whenever I look through the images from this shoot. The pose is definitely eye catching with the curves and muscle definition catching my attention first. However, it's the contrast of the sweater that really makes the image interesting to me. I absolutely love the way that it cuts across his lower body and informs the viewer that he's completely nude beyond the sweater. However, it though it gives a hint of modesty, but it's still erotic with the hint of "v" made by his hips and thighs. That simple placement of the sweater definitely creates an erotic feel to the image.
On top of the strategic placement of the sweater, I love the lighting used in the image. As you guys know, I love dramatic lighting. In this image, I absolutely love the split lighting used and how the light drapes across his body. All photographers love playing with lighting and using it create some amazing images. While I still consider myself an amateur in the grand scheme of things, there are times when I feel awesome in how I use lighting. In this image, I love how the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows highlight his muscles, especially in his chest and abs. Of course, I love the overall effect of the split lighting as it creates highlights on the right side of his body before tapering off into shadows on his left side. I do love dramatic lighting and the use of the split lighting pattern.
And on top of dramatic lighting, particularly the split lighting pattern, I am an absolute fan of black and white images. But you guys know that already given the number of black and white images that I tend to highlight - at least, I think I tend to highlight more black and white images than color images. I should probably go back and check that out.... Either way, I absolutely love black and white images and tend to convert many images to black and white if I think it will be awesome. That's the case with the image below.
Again, I love the use of lighting to highlight the muscle definition in Mark's abs and chest. On top of the muscle definition, I think it's interesting to see how the light highlights the veins in his arms, upper chest, and lower abs. Of course, I love how his left side is in shadow. Actually, I love the overall shadows in the image, including the ones draping across his left shoulder and across his face. Furthermore, I love how the shadows lead down towards his waist. Of course, that's where I decided to crop the image, but I absolutely love the overall feel of the image, including the chosen crop and black and white handling. As you can probably tell, this image is absolutely one of my favorite images from the shoot as well as my overall catalog of images.
As you can see throughout the images highlighted in this blog entry, Mark was extremely seriously throughout the shoot and wanted to ensure that we were getting some amazing images throughout the shoot. However, the one thing that I noticed throughout the shoot was that I was getting a very limited number of images of Mark smiling. That's part of the reason why I'm drawn to the image below. You can see a hint of a smile playing across his lips and his amusement at the fact that the scarf is acting as a head wrap. However, I love the fact that scarf frames his face and actually draws the viewer's attention to his eyes. Yes, his chin, lips, tip of his nose, and his brow are highlighted with the light, but the catch lights in his eyes commands the viewer's attention. It is for those reasons that I chose to highlight the image and count it as one of my favorites from the photo shoot.
Overall, I think the photo shoot with Mark Monroe was a success. Like I've said before, I absolutely love going into a photo shoot without a concrete plan and being amazed at the images that I'm able to create on a spur of the moment. I know that I say this about every photo shoot that I do, but I am proud of the images that I created with Mark. Several of these rank among my favorite images from my entire catalog. Of course, I love several of them because of the simplicity of the images, in terms of props and what not, but also how captivating they are due to dramatic lighting, the strategic placement of props, or the stunning poses that highlighted Mark's amazing body. It definitely helped that I was comfortable with Mark from the very beginning, since he reminded me of my college roommate, and that I was able to find an aspect of his personality and physique to fall in love with for the duration of the shoot. That definitely helped me to create some amazing images.
I would definitely recommend working with Mark. Unfortunately for me, he's since moved from Texas to another state. However, if the opportunity ever presented itself, I would gladly work with Mark again and would recommend him to other photographers. He was definitely easy going with an amazing personality, but also serious about the photo shoot and willing to work with photographers to create some amazing images.