First two images: Chance Krul
'The sun was perfect that day and all of his shots turned out great. Chance is a student, 19, and though he was nervous at first he really got into the spirit of the shot and gave me some incredible poses. He is a great model to work with and I think it shows in his photos. He was willing to go the extra mile for a shot, jumping on top of a dumpster to get the right angle and dropping his jeans to showcase his legs. Chance is my most popular model and one of my proudest achievements photographically. It's incredible to think he was an oil field worker in South Dakota the previous summer.'
When you look around most people's homes, unless they happen to be a model, the images of themseleves that you tend see are usually some of their greatest moments. Graduations, weddings and births, that pic from their favorite vacation or the family photo that took months of organization to put together. Before everyone started carrying camera's around 24/7, captured moments were more apt to be reserved for special times, beyond the ordinary day to day moments so many seem motivated to capture today.
Below: Wesley Boniface
'Wesley was great to work with. A video game design student planning to pay for school with modeling jobs, he showed up with a huge bag of clothes which I love a model to do. He was very easy to pose and had great eyes. We're planning an outdoor shoot with his skateboard when the weather warms up a bit.'
There is nothing really special about your average selfie. Most don't mark any specific mildstone in anyone's lives. Despite her best efforts, Kim Kardashian's selfies won't really be remembered years from now, even by Kanye, her bound to be ex-husband by then. What makes a great selfie now, or any image really is visual impact, that capturing of that greatest moment. Without a wedding or birth as a base, photographers today have to push boundaries and be even more creative than ever to have their work stand out from the mass of images we are bombarded with every day.
I often write about how my love of an artist's work starts with just one image. That image may not be their best work, it may not even be their favorite, but the image captures a moment and has a quality that has the viewer wanting to click to see more of an artist's work. In the case of Michigan photographer Philip Rugel, that image is the last image in this piece. That image, of Cutter in the Cutlass had me excitedly exploring more of Philip's work. Philip describes the image as one of the greatest moments of his work with Cutter and the story of how Cutter ended up in that Cutlass only added to my enjoyment of the final capture.
'I shot Yovani this past weekend. He has an infectious spirit that really captivated me and I love his photos. You can see lots more of him on my tumblr.'
Philip began taking photos in his early 20's, mostly nature and architectural shots. 'I completed a collection of over 5000 flower types by the age of 30 and sold many prints of my flower pics.' Philip traveled the art show circuit for 2 years selling his prints around the Midwest. The male form however, like so many of us, was always a fascination. Philip began researching, beginning by going through his older brothers bodybuilding magazines. 'The way the light plays off the shapes formed by a guy flexing his muscle is a beautiful sight.'
Below: Casey Grooten
'Casey is a local artist in town here and has a flair for the not so ordinary. By working with him I feel I have learned just as much about posing as I may have taught him about framing. There is never a dull moment with Casey and every shoot is a surprise. Will he show up in a dress? Will he need makeup? Will a scythe be involved?'
In 2010 the Kalamazoo artist began focusing on physique modeling, capturing photos of beautiful male bodies. Philip says that he has been hooked ever since. Philip's main goal now is supporting models with expanding their portfolios by providing them with the best photos, and moments, he can produce. 'Model Mayhem has hooked me up with some of the best models I have worked with. In a short time I have networked with not only great models but other superior photographers who have taught me so much. I'm always looking to learn more and hopefully apply it to my craft.'
'Cutter and Gage are two local frat boys who showed up when I was looking for guys to shoot nudes. When you run an ad for nudes you get all types of guys...show-offs who aren't really ready to be photographed, professionals who want way too much money and frat boys who need money for beer. Cutter and Gage were of the last category.'
'Gage came first and blew me away. Handsome, young, well-built and easy to work with. I shot him 3 or 4 times and with each shoot he got better and better. He was a joy to work with and has had no attitude at all.'
Last Three Images: Cutter
'Gage introduced me to his friend Cutter. Cutter was a nervous model but turned out consistently great photos. His physique was incredible and he loved to show it off. The shoot in the Cutlass was by far our greatest moment and I think the photo speaks for itself.'