Friday, September 26, 2014

Gray Ions: Rocks Of Ages

'Been taking photos since I can remember....'
Gray Ions

When I think of some of my favorite images, location has always been central. But when I think of the artists and places I have featured; the armoury's, old bank vaults, abandoned homes and building, the mine shafts and long forgotten farms and bars there is one through line they all have, change. Almost everything on earth has a similar life cycle, creation, life and then death. The life of a person, or a location also has it's own cycle from new and vibrant to old and withered, the artists I most admire, see the beauty in the latter.

There is little on this planet that does not change at lightening speed. Rocks however probably have one of the slower change cycles and the changes that do occur are usually connected to external factors like human's and the elements that eventually wear down their tough exterior. It is interesting that when I put together a story on the blog about most locations, I am usually caught up in what those places once looked like. When working with these images from photographer Gray Ions, I was struck by how small the changes would have been over the years, decades and even centuries.

There would have of course been changes in the vegetation, but for the most part, the rocks, ocean and sky have remained a stable location and backdrop for countless men and women whose life spans have passed through them. Gray's theme of 'figures on rocks' beautifully contrasts skin with stone and I love the textures and colors Gray Gray creates. Each of these images have been taken around a very small area in Gray's home in Cape Town. Making use of the amazing granite rock formations and using Table Mountain as a backdrop, Gray says the location brings on complete calmness and complete peace when shooting on the rocks.

Gray estimates he has done about 100 shoots on and around the rocks and the location makes it a draw for the models he works with. Gray has recruited models from his beautiful city of Cape Town but has shot incredible men on the rocks from Canada, Australia and Europe. About 90% of the models Gray has shot there have never posed before but once they see the location and Gray's imagery, most want to share in the experience, and many have done multiple shoots atop the rocks.

Gray titled his site Alpha-boy, which Gray describes as a shy creature, seldom found out at night and never in crowds. Although normally shy, Gray says when shooting, especially on the beach or upon the rocks, he finds himself at ease.  This relaxation usually causes the artist to become more talkative than he normally would be. .

Gray says his talking helps relax many of the models as he doesn't want to direct them but instead prefers them to move as the please. Gray moves with and around them, sometimes working from 360 degree angles taking in as much of the model, and all that surrounds him, as he can. Gray conducts most of his shoots about an hour before sunset, shooting as the sun beautifully sinks into the Atlantic.

I work a lot with the shapes and textures of the rocks…. and the late afternoon light. The time of day, light is always different…. and visually exciting. With Table Mountain as a backdrop, the clouds sometimes fall down the mountain, and change colours as they planet down the mountain.'

Gray has taking photos since he was a child and has always been his passion. His background his academic, studied photography and lectured on the subject for 11 years. Currently Gray works as a freelance photographer shooting a spectrum from portraits to porn and everything in between. Male nudes and travel photography are what he truly loves and as you can see from these images, Gray loves working outside utilizing natural life. 'I feel so alive when the' gods of light' play along with me and for a second the light is perfect. The clouds dance in the sky for me and I feel the energy of the moment.'

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