Sunday, February 23, 2014
A Risky Buisness: P-JAY by Studio Kouros
One of the things that has always appealed to me about images of the male form is the element of risk. Anytime one puts themselves out there, a reaction follows. The hope of course is that people react to what you have expressed. Positive is great of course, but even a negative reaction means people were paying attention. The worst response really has to be no reaction at all. An apathy or indifference to the thing you poured your heart into.
There are particular risks associated with photographing men, especially half naked men. For the model, the risks are clear, their image is literally bare. Open for everyone to react to and judge. Posing sans clothes, may have repercussions in both their personal and professional lives. These may occur immediately, or many years down the road. For the artist, although not as seen or visible, the risks can often be as naked as the model posing in front of their lens. In most really strong images, what is you see, is what the photographers wants you to. The final image may say less about the front man, than it does about the invisible partner who captures him.
The risk is one of the reasons I take my site so seriously. The sense of risk is not only one of the reason so many images appeal to me, but also a major reason I respect the artists behind them. When I first profiled Mark Bower from Studios Kouros back in 2011, I titled the piece Dangerous Diversions. I used the word danger for a number of reasons, for the literal danger of the completely naked Kairon on the motorcycle, to the more emotional based danger expressed through the eyes of Mark's subjects. Many photographers masterfully capture moments, many others movement. What stands out to me about Mark's work is his ability, through a still image to capture risk, that on the edge feeling I associate with both the risk and vulnerability associated with creating strong and erotic artist images.
A look through the portfolio of Studio Kouros will display it clearly. The men Mark captures are masculine and strong, yet unprotected, trusting in the artist as they expose a piece of themselves. Mark has been on both sides of the camera and understands this risk, as well as the rewards for both the model and photographer. 24 year old fitness model P-JAY took the risk and I love the outcome and resulting images. I especially P-JAY's intensely beautiful eyes and how different his face and body appear based on what angle they are captured at. It is clear from his physique, he works hard too maintain it. Mark describes P-JAY as very chill guy, comfortable in his own skin and indeed very serious about his body. Mark has free weights available for models to use and midway through the shoot P-JAY did an intense session to bring out the definition in his arms and abs.
Mark is currently at work on a book series that will be a collection of hardcover editions emphasising his work capturing the male physique. I will keep you updated on their progress but in the meantime, spend some time checking out more of Studio Kouros on ModelMayhem HERE: