'One of the aspects I've really enjoyed about creating at the couch has been the range of guys who've been game; from "models" to "first-timers," surfer dudes to students to professionals, a range of ethnicities, various ages, straight/gay/and bi, and from "PG" rated to "NC17"! Whomever they are, they've surely hung out on a couch before. They've read, listened to music, relaxed, and maybe jacked off. Maybe it hasn't been an old tufted orange velvet couch, and maybe no one has been aiming a camera at them, but there can be a first time for everything...'
The more time I spend seeking great images of the male form, the more importance theme and location play a role in the images that draw me in. Over the past few years some of my favorite shoots have been those weaving the male form within the location in which they have been shot. Some of my favorite visual adventures have been joining artists on their journey's; whether it be with Robert J. Guttke at the old ammunition factory or through the swamps, climbing mountains or exploring abandoned trains with YogaBear Studio, venturing into long forgotten or traveling to flying to Utah or jumping into the swimming pool with Gordon Nebeker.
It is always a immense pleasure to join Santa Cruz artist Mark Grantham on his photographic journey's. Mark is rarely in studio, instead choosing to bring life to abandoned warehouses and buildings, even momentarily, with his skill, his eye and his camera. When not at home in California, Mark is often traveling the globe taking in some of the visual wonders of the world. It is one of the reasons I believe, shooting the ordinary would not be enough to satisfy his creative need. Now one might not initially think an old orange coach could be the stimulate for a shoot, but as you can see from these images, in the hands of the right artist, it certainly can.
'Last year I began an unplanned series... I'm not a big planner at my shoots as you might remember. I prefer to explore a setting with the model, and see what we find together. Early last year that process led a model and I to discover a wonderful old retro looking orange velvet couch in an abandoned building (well, the couch really is from the 70's probably, so I guess it's just "old" and not retro...). I thought it was cool looking, and the windows in the room let lots of light in, so we tried it out.'
'Once back at home I realized how the model (Bryon) really popped against the orange. I was hooked. Over the past 12 months I've shot 11 guys on the couch. Still not the big planner, I tend to suggest an outfit or prop, but otherwise the guys are more or less on their own to relax on the couch. Some kick back, while some strike a pose, and others find ways to amuse themselves as though they were at home on their couch... Originally there was a boring brown couch there in the room too, but that disappeared months ago. Now the seat cushions are gone from the orange couch. I figure I've got another shoot or two before the whole orange couch disappears next...'
One can only imagine the living which occurred on the orange couch. Parties, parents, kids, cups of coffee, snuggling to watch a movie, heated conversations, uncomfortable silences, naps after a hard day, slumping onto it crying after a breakup. Curling in the corner dealing with a loss, feeling up a new girl or boyfriend. First dates, last dates and all kinds of sex, both alone on a quiet afternoon, or with one another, or maybe two others, on a random Thursday night. I too love the windows above, providing light, and a witness to all of the above. I also love that so many of the models Mark has featured on the orange have been on the blog before, the connection to the couch is even more intense having gotten to know a bit about TyE and Derrek, Theo and JPhoenix through previous stories on the blog.