Originally Posted September 2009:
I would imagine that one of the most difficult tasks a photographer must have (besides coming up with an original concept) must be to narrow down what images they will include in a project. I know I struggled today to narrow down what shots supplied to me by the talented and generous Dan Skinner to include with this post.
Many of you may have seen the recent shoot Dan did with model Dave Wilkinson, 'End Of Summer' for Blake Magazine. They have been featured on many sites and blogs. In seeing that post, not only was I stuck by the raw beauty of model Dave Wilkinson, I was also reminded of the passionate eye of artist Dan Skinner whom I have featured on the blog in the past.
In struggling to narrow down which of Dan's shots of Dave to include in this post, the only think I could do was to narrow the shots to a theme I will call 'Alone In A Hotel'. The shots were actually taken in a hotel room during a trip Dan and Dave took for business.
There is something about being alone in a hotel that brings up a multitude of emotions. From my experience there are things you may do when away, when alone in a hotel you might not do otherwise. Things you might watch, things you might try, people you might interact with. Consequences seem off in the distance when away and inhibitions are lowered. There of course is something sexual about hotels but equally something excruciatingly lonely about being in a hotel alone. This is especially true knowing there are so many people, couples and families just a wall away.
Art is about not only about intent but as important, interpretation. It is through the description above that I viewed Dan's inspiration for photographing Dave in the hotel. Alone, uninhibited, sensual and creative. There is a special connection between Dan and his subject which allow both to reach a creative place full of not only beauty but emotion.
The Model: Dave Wilkinson
'I grew up in a little country town. I was always involved in sports through out grade school and high school. After graduating high school I have totally dedicated my life to sculpting my body to be 100% perfect, by weightlifting 6 out of 7 days a week.'
Dave Wilkinson may be from a little country town, and still young, but he is no fool. Dave is a guy who knows what has to be done to make it in the modeling industry. Dave is professional, creative and likes to be stimulated not just by standing in front of a camera, but by taking part in creative, fun shoots the push boundaries and say something beyond 'look at me'.
Dave is still building his portfolio and is looking to add more fashion shots to his already impressive resume. It is only a matter of time before Dave is signed with an agency. He is going to be big. An amazing body, great face, that head of blond hair are just the beginning. His attitude and desire to create great art is what is going to move him past the others to success. If you want to work with Dave, make sure your serious, because he certainly is. Dave doesn't play games, he just puts everything into his work.
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 168 lbs
Shoe size: 12
Hair color: Blonde
Hair length: Medium
Eye color: Green
Skin color: Tanned
The Photographer: Dan Skinner
CERBERUS: 'In Greek mythology, the three-headed watchdog who guards the entrance to the lower world, Hades.'
Missouri's Dan Skinner is not just a photographer. His day job is not just taking pictures, but though his company, CERBERUS INC, taking those pictures and creating cover art for over 400 publishers worldwide ranging from romance to mystery to sci-fi and fashion. Combining his eye for beauty with his digital skills he creates images beyond what you might find in a regular portfolio. Today I am focusing on Dan's work with Dave, but I will be showcasing Dan's other work in the future.
Dan did not start out doing cover art. Dan says that he started out as a fitness photographer and drifted into this venue quite by accident. 'Many of the fitness models I was shooting wanted to do romance covers so I did a few mock ups for them to send off and, lo and behold, the companies hired me' Besides mythology, Dan's inspirations include Stanley Kubrick because of his his technique of scene framing and illumination and cinema from the forties because of their lighting techniques and angles.
'My favorite medium is actually what I call storyboarding. or telling a story in a single frame...or starting a story in your head and letting you finish it. We all have basically the same fantasies so all I have to do is frame the inkling of the idea and your own imagination takes over.'
This certainly fits many of the images showcased here. Unlike a model simply standing in front of a background, each one tells a complete story. That story, started by Dan and Dave actually finishes where the viewer chooses to take it.
'I kinda work like a director in a film in that I will do five million things to frame, light and stage a scene before I bring the "actor" models in.I am known for taking a thousand shots to get "the one".'
Dan loves to photograph beautiful models. That in itself though, is not enough for him. To truly create an image Dan is proud of, he puts his models in a visual fantasy that is enhanced with saturated storybook hues and point of view angles. The end result, as you can see from the images featured here, is pure magic.
Dan and Dave have worked together many times and their creative collaborations are pure gold. When I asked Dan if Dave was his 'muse', his reply was 'Dave is a muse because he is so unrepressed in tackling any of my ideas. Whenever I have an idea he is right there to try it.' More than just a muse, Dan and Dave have a friendship. One of the most important aspects of any friendship is trust, and that is evident in each of the shots featured here.
Be Sure to Check out more of Dan's work:
At his Model Mayhem profile HERE:
His site at Deviant Art HERE:
Great Interview at Covermen HERE: