Friday, February 21, 2014

Bend It Like Bobby by Gentlemen Only

'I exclusively shoot men from all walks of life, documenting the beauty of the 'ordinary guys' that surround us every day in our gyms, bars, libraries, offices and shops. These are the men that we often admire from afar but never really get to know.'

It is always wonderful to be able to find images and artists whose work I love to feature on the site. It is especially exciting to me as a lover of photography, and of writing, when I find an artist who looks upon the genre with a unique and interesting perspective. I was fortunate last fall to be able to introduce the readers of FH to the work of UK based photographer Octo from Gentlemen Only.

In that piece featuring Octo's images of Steven, (A Window Has Been Opened) I focused on the weaving of the term gentlemen within Octo's work. I was extremely interested in Octo choice of a professional title and the way it works it's way into his work and final images. I love that it is so core to his work as the word gentleman, and it's connotations, seem far away from from the goals many other photographers strive for with their depictions of the male form. It is the reason Octo's images stood out for me.

Octo and I had been communicating about featuring another model, but there was still editing and post production work required on those images. Given that during our communications Octo was relocating from the UK to his new home in Houston, the US, we decided to focus on a Bobby, another of my favorites whose images were completed and already up for viewing on Octo's site.

You might wonder how Bobby, or with Steven in my last piece, could be considered regular guys. Both are extremely fit, good looking and shine in front of Octo's camera. That is one of the reason's I included Bobby's sports card a the top of the piece. Octo requests that perspective models send in images in order to be considered for a shoot. One of my favorite parts of Gentlemen Only is that Octo includes some of these with his finished images and it is incredible to see his subjects as they appeared in non professional shots vs how they are seen and documented through Octo's eyes.

'Bobby was a joy to photograph and he said that he enjoyed the modelling experience also. It harder than he thought it was going to be as coming up with new poses and trying to force expressions was difficult. But I think these pictures really capture an essence of who Bobby is – a relaxed, level headed young man with an air of quiet confidence.'

From Gentlemen Only:
Bobby is a professional football player who has played for a number of well known football clubs, including a premiership team. At the age of 26 Bobby’s football career is coming to an end and he is now wondering what to do with the rest of his life. Bobby is thinking of becoming a football coach or maybe even giving up sports all together and working on the oil rigs. For Bobby this is a strange time in his life where he’s not sure which direction his life is going in, as such he is interested in opening himself up to new things and that’s why he has ended up in front of my lens. Bobby has been photographed many times as part of his football career and never really thought much about the experience, but now he’s looking at new options he’s wondering if he can make a bit of money modelling. This is Bobby’s first professional photo shoot outside of his footballing work and the first time he’s ever been nude on camera, but he says it doesn't phase him. He’s naked at least three times a week in front of groups of people in the football showers so he’s quite confident being nude around those who aren’t.

'Bobby hasn't told his football team he’s doing a naked shoot as they will tease him mercilessly. e say’s it’s likely his team will find out about the shoot but he'll try get away without being teased as long as he can. I found that as Bobby clothes came off so too did layers of inhibition. At the start of the shoot Bobby was very talkative about his football career, his achievements and footballing heroes (David Beckham, who Bobby styles himself after), but when he was nude his thoughts and feelings of uncertainty about his career came to fore. Although these thoughts seemed to sadden him, he was very positive about throwing himself into new things (such as modelling for me) in order to find out what he is going to do next with his life.'

You can see more of Bobby, much more in fact, as well as more of the Gentlemen shot by Octo at his site:

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