I remember as a kid I had this great uncle who spent every Christmas complaining about how commercialism has ruined the holiday. I didn't really get it and thought he was just an annoying old man. I am only in my thirties but have officially joined that club!
I don't want to be judgemental, if I could have gotten a 52 inch flat screen for a couple hundred bucks I would have been in line this morning too. But....shirtless Abercrombie guys aside, this years Black Friday push seems beyond what I remember from past years. Making a day that is about being thankful for what we have, into the biggest greed fest of the year is something only America can master. The commercials were relentless, retailers desperate to end everyone's holiday early and drag them into crowds and noise and yank their hard earned cash for products most don't actually need has a almost cruel element to it masked only slightly by theme songs, glitter and decorations.
Voyeurism seems to have become a bit of theme on FH over the last several months. Although not intentional, my posts featuring the work of Von Melzer, this week's profile of the work James R. Cunningham and today's truly incredible shots of Kyler Adair from Studio James cannot just be coincidence.
Within voyeuristic themed images there are elements of danger and risk not present in traditionally shot work with the male form. It becomes about the secret of seeing more than what your actually observing. The moment becomes more intense, more erotic, because the moment was not meant to be captured.
Robert James photographic resume began in with what could be one of the most voyeuristic locations there is, underwater. Below the oceans surface is a dark world not really ever meant to be shared, let alone viewed and photographed by man. Every sight is a secret and to capture it you have to be both slow and incredibly fast as once your presence is detected your subjects usually flee.
'I started photography while in college. I had just earned my rating as a SCUBA instructor and wanted to photograph the incredible underwater world I was enjoying. This started me on my photographic journey. I became fascinated with the way the camera could capture a moment in time and preserve it. Everything happens so fast. To be able to capture just a small moment and sit and study it you see so much more. The underwater world is so different from our own and so filled with color.' Robert James
Growing up in the Midwest did not allow Robert many opportunities to practice his passion for underwater photography on a regular basis. In 1987, after a career related move to Madison, Wisconsin, Robert's camera pretty much sat idle in between his scuba trips. That was until 2000 when during one of his trips Robert's passions collided.
'Late in the summer of 2000, while on a boating trip, a close friend started to ‘model’ while I was taking a few casual photos of him. Even though it was unplanned, this became my first 'photo shoot'.
After this, Robert never looked back, soon after he purchased all new camera equipment and made shooting the male form his avocation. Robert was also inspired by Bryan Ockert's website Chaos In Austin. At the time, Bryan was just starting to photograph the male form and he kept an incredible journal of his experiences. He shared how nervous he was approaching guys and asking them to model. He literally learned his techniques from the School of Hard Knocks. Bryan's courage, to start from scratch and share his journey along the way, inspired Robert to follow his own passion for the art form and start over as well.
'It is Friday night, you have the whole house to yourself for the entire night, time to wind down, be you and do whatever you feel like doing'.
'The images of Kyler Adair are from my Home Alone Series. The Home Alone series was born from a desire to not pose the models, I prefer to capture them in natural positions. With this series we select a natural setting around the house, play music the model has selected and have a drink or glass of wine if they choose.
The model and I normally have several weeks before a shoot to talk over what we want to do during the shoot so we both have a good idea of what we want to accomplish. This shoot happened just as I was moving to a new house, I had to ask Kyler to wait till after the move and by the time I finished moving and was settled in enough to think about the shoot we only had a few short days which wasn’t time to plan anything out. I was going in blind, without a game plan. On top of that I had learned that Kyler had worked as a editor for male modeling magazine in Germany so I anticipated his level of expectations would be fairly high and I wasn’t sure I could live up to his standards. Between moving, no planning for the shoot and my perception of Kyler’s possible expectations I was a nervous wreck.'
I met Kyler when he drove up the driveway. From the moment he stepped out of his car I could see the easy, relaxed grace in his movements. He was a gentle, friendly soul with a warm smile that immediately put me at ease. Within ten minutes of his arrival the magic of this shoot started as we both clicked, it was as if he could read my mind and we were both on the same page without the need for a lot of planning. Late in the shoot I learned that Kyler did not have a good feeling about his looks. He felt he didn’t have the face to be a good model. As a young boy he had an accident involving a barb wire fence and his face. Even though I hadn’t even noticed it throughout the shoot he showed me the imperceptible scar on his cheek. I couldn’t wait to process the first few images and send them to him showing him how the camera saw an incredibly beautiful man. To this day, Kyler’s images still receive more comments than any other models in my portfolio.