Hey guys! I can't believe that it's been six months since I last wrote a blog entry or really updated the website. A lot has happened in that time, I finished up my architecture photography course at ACC and finished my final photography project on St. Edward's University (www.reyjphotography/stedwards). Work has been crazy these last several months and severally impacted all areas of my life, including schooling and photography. I'm hoping that it will settle down over these next couple of months, but we shall see how that ends up. Still, I am going to make a commitment to actually put a greater effort into updating the website and showcasing some of my favorite images from the photo shoots that I have done. And with that, here are my thoughts and favorite images from the photo shoot with Travis Younger.
Moving in chronological order, Travis Younger was the third model that I photographed in October 2013. Coming on the heels of the photo shoot with Adam, I definitely had high hopes that this photo shoot would run more smoothly.
Travis turned out to be an interesting model to work with throughout the shoot. I wasn't really expecting his big personality, but I should have expected it to a certain degree. Travis originally comes from Southern California before moving to Austin, which explains why I got a surfer vibe off of him. On top of that, he's a guitarist in a local band and is somewhat use to be at the center of attention. So yeah, I shouldn't haven't been too surprised by his friendly nature and the "big voice" that came out of nowhere. On top of that, I found out that he had done some modeling for several of the art classes at the local university and wasn't shy about taking off of his clothes and being stared at for extended periods of time. Of course, these experiences definitely helped to make the shoot go a lot smoother since he's used to getting attention.
I'm going to approach this blog entry with describing my favorite images from the first round of editing, which was completed in September 2014, and then in the second round that was completed in October 2015. Yeah, when I was looking back through my catalog of images, I noticed that I had finished editing only half of the images that I liked from the photo shoot. Imagine my embarrassment when I was getting ready to post a blog entry only to notice that I had not completed the work! Well, that was fixed over the course of the last week as I finished editing an additional set of images from the shoot. Of course, those second round of images have now been posted in the gallery dedicated to the photo shoot with Travis Younger (http://www.reyjphotography.com/travisyounger).
As I mentioned before, I was initially drawn to Travis due to his surfer looks: golden tan, blond hair, and lean body. I love how the image below is able to capture that overall look. I will admit that I am one that will usually favor black and white images over color ones, but there are times that I will present full color images (not just black and white images with a pop of color) if I feel there is something interesting that needs to be presented in color. For me, that certainly is the fact that Travis had gorgeous golden hair, if somewhat unkept, that instantly drew my attention during the editing phase. I love how the strands show the varying shades and how individual strands glisten in the light.
In addition to that detail, I loved the overall feel of the image. Every once in a while, I will be able to capture an image that I won't completely know how to describe how it makes me feel. I will just know that I like the image and feel a connection to that single moment. It's not exactly a sense of peace, but it's definitely a sense of calmness and some sensuality. For me, this image represents a moment that I was able to capture and share with anyone willing to share my vision. The image is definitely one of my favorite images from my overall catalog because of the feelings invoked.
In addition to the image above, I also love the portrait below. Of course, I love the details that I was able to highlight in black and white from the freckles dotting across his nose and cheeks to the individual scruffy hairs on his chin to the intensity of his eyes. Actually, it's Travis's eyes that really capture my attention in the image. They just seem to radiate with life. Yeah, when combined with the small smile gracing his lips, it's easy to understand why I wanted to show case the portrait below in this blog entry.
In addition to the images above, I also wanted to highlight one of the nudes stemming from the series. There are several details throughout the image that I liked, including the curl of his lip and the placement of his right hand across his hip. However, what captures my attention in the image below is my experimentation with the editing processing. It's handling is different from the first image in the sense that the coloring is softer and slightly washed out. I'm not entirely sure what led me to experiment with the color handling in this manner, but I liked the overall effect that it created and have included several in the gallery dedicated to Travis. It is interesting to note that I only used that color handling method on the images of Travis during the first phase and haven't used it in other photo shoots. Like I said, it was something that definitely seemed to fit the images that I was creating with Travis and seem appropriate to use at the time.
As I mentioned earlier, I had stopped editing the series in the middle. It is interesting to note the differences in the editing styles between Phase 1 and Phase 2. During the second round, I edited the majority of the images with the intention to present them as black and white images. More interesting, I was drawn to the images that had some dramatic flair associated with the lighting. The two images below are examples of my attraction to dramatic lighting.
When I going through the images last week, I knew that I definitely wanted to showcase the image below. I absolutely love the pose with his arms clasped behind his head while his hips are cocked towards the right. I just love the outline that it creates, especially near his waist and up his back through his arms. It's further made interesting with the lighting as it wraps around his body and delves from highlights to shadows. Plus, there are some highlights that pop up along his shoulder blades and arms that creates a sense of intrigue. Finally, I love how the light is captured and highlights the individual strands of hair at the base of his neck. For me, when I saw the image, I instantly saw it in black and white and knew that it would accentuate the details that I had honed in. I'm definitely glad that it came out as well as I envisioned it.
The other image that I definitely wanted to focus on was the one below. Again, I love the overall lighting in the image as it wraps Travis's body in highlights before descending into shadows. And of course, I like how it is highlighted in a black and white image. But more importantly, I like the posing in this one. When I work with models, I tend to be fluid and like for the models to get into poses that seem natural and comfortable for them. Of course, there are times when I will feel the need to direct them into certain poses or stop them and finesse the pose to improve it somehow (in my eyes at least). However, Travis's experience with modeling for art classes at the local university definitely helped him get into poses that showed off his body in a flattering way.
Given that, I definitely love the pose below. I love the turn of his head, the placement of his hand across his hip, and the position of his leg. It definitely feels slightly classical and wouldn't be out of place in Renaissance sculptures, but maybe that's me reading into it. Either way, I'm happy with the overall pose and how the light drapes across his body. Plus, there's definitely a sense of comfort that is radiating from his facial expression. When it's all combined, I think it created a stronger and interesting image overall. It's definitely one of my favorites from the second phase of editing.
During the photo shoot with Travis, I also wanted to try capturing some bodyscapes. One of the photographers from the photography meet-up group that I belonged to seemed to focus on creating gorgeous bodyscape images. The image below is one of my first attempts to intention capture a bodyscape image. I definitely wanted to have a dynamic image without it necessarily being completely erotic. I think the image below definitely has the erotic feel to it without really stepping over the line. Then again, art is always subjective. Either way, I like the attention on his hand, the casual placement of his leg, and how the light highlights the individual strands of hair across his body. To me, it definitely makes for an interesting black and white image. Interestingly enough, this has become of my favorite images from the series.
The other aspect that I wanted to highlight from the photo shoot was the playfulness that erupted every once in a while. I tend to have music, usually something that the model likes, playing in the background. It definitely helps to make the shoot a little more fun and helps to be a conversation started as we talk about musical tastes. During the photo shoot with Travis, I selected a playlist on Pandora that focused on classic rock with a lot of guitar riffs. Of course, there would be moments that Travis would break out into air guitar solos when a great song came on. While some photographers would get annoyed with that, I loved it because it brought a playful aspect to my photography. I loved being able to capture that playful moment and combine with it my black and white vision to create a cool image, like the one below.
And of course, the image below is my favorite from the series. Like the one above, it capture Travis as he was doing an awesome air guitar solo, if only in his head. It was just a flitting moment, but it was one shared between us. I liked the capture pose with his hips cocked towards the right, his hands held in classic air guitar position, and his head turned slightly. I love the interesting curl of his lips as well as the squinting of his eyes. More importantly, I loved how the light highlighted his body and hair. Like I said, I love it when all of the elements come together to create an interesting image, especially when the image speaks to me and becomes one of my favorites.
I loved working with Travis during the photo shoot. Like I said, I was a little underprepared for his big personality, but it definitely helped to make the photo shoot go smoothly and allowed us to bond over classic rock! I definitely love how the images came out, especially when you can see the progression of my vision from the first round of editing to the second round. If the opportunity ever arose again, I would definitely love to work with Travis again on another photo shoot.