'As much as I enjoy being in front of the camera, I didn't choose it.'
I profile many models who didn't initially plan on a life in front of the camera. Many are spotted by photographers or agents and begin shooting and working towards a career and life they could never have predicted. They however, made a choice. The heard an offer, or comments about how well they would photograph, and decided to give it a try. For Nick, The Renaissance Man, that choice was made for him at the age of 3.
My first time profiling the work of Phoenix artist Bobby Shahideh was this past January featuring his work with model Joel Swanner. That post, Getting Off Easy, turned out to be one of January's most popular posts! I love Bobby's blend of fashion and physique as well as his use of props, lighting and location. This, in addition to his impeccable use of color weave together to create modern images with a fun and sexy editorial look, and sometimes a retro vibe, to his images. I also love what Bobby refers to as using 'negative space' something he developed from his years of drawing and painting. 'I have always been a fan of negative space, maybe because with commercial photography it is often important to have someplace for graphic designers to put the copy....it is just the way I see the image in my head before I frame it. I tend to like things that are off-balance.'
After connecting on Model Mayhem, Bobby and Nick got together to for an initial meeting over coffee to ensure their personalities meshed before beginning to shoot. As part of that initial coffee meeting was talk about the industry and what it can be like for male models to maneuver their way through it. Who to shoot with, what to shoot and of course that every present question of whether to shoot nude.
'He had an incredible physique, one that keeps getting better and better. At that time, we talked about doing some nudes, and he was up for it. We never go into a shoot only focusing on nudes, we set our sites on a broad and diverse range of work. The nudes just come so naturally to him, and he is incredibly comfortable with his body. Nick is particular in who he shoots them with, so I feel particular flattered; we have a great rapport...one built on trust.'
Nick has an incredible presence in front the camera, a presence that powerfully draws in the viewer. Although his incredible body may initially draws you in, Nick also has the skill and experience to keep you there. With is strength and confidence, not to mention hypnotizing blue eyes, Nick is force to be reckoned with, using his experiences and intelligence to create memorable captures. Nick believes what really sets his apart is his way of thinking, his ability to be outside himself, and see himself how others do, both physically and mentally. 'It allows oneself to really mold one’s character in a positive and attractive way. The sooner you start molding, the better your final sculpture. Proudly, I'm only 25.'
Playing on his strengths, Nick is not satisfied doing plain or simple photo shoots. Nick likes to capture moments of pure beauty, creativity, and dignity within the images. Nick to the time to answer a few questions for myself and FH, expanding more on his work as a model, his shoot with Bobby, shooting sans any clothing, and how he began his modeling career at 3.
Who, or what, got you started with modeling?
'I know where it started but how it stuck is beyond me. I was one of those lucky children put through pageants...I was not that kid though, which actually played in my favor. I stormed out with no routine, just a wild child with big blue eyes and a long strawberry blonde mullet on a chubby rosy face. It makes me laugh that even with all my sport accomplishments in high school including a range of all state awards in several sports, none of my awards stand taller or look more glamorous than my childhood pageant ones. Sadly I barely remember any of it. Most of what I know is from videos and stories Im told. I was like a 3 year old Ozzie Osbourn, I can't remember those years!'
'The pageants died down as I moved away from the city and into the ranch life full of stables and corrals. Then one day, at 19 years old, Im walking through a mall with a group of friends and in the big open center of the mall lays a stage for the infamous model talent searches we're all too familiar with. Knowing my past, my friends joke and push me into signing up. Do the whole walkup on the runway, answer a couple questions, including "name your worst fashion moment ever", priceless. A week later I got a letter with a good size mall gift card and a one year contract with a hair salon as a model if I so chose. Haven't dropped it since.'
What has been your favorite experience modeling thus far?
'Well... I haven't done any exotic shoots or huge name brands yet so I can't say any one stands out but my favorite moments are always seeing the images. It makes it worthwhile and no matter what I've done in the past, there are still moments in every shoot where I'm questioning if this is worth it or not and I am almost ready to walk out and say to hell with it all. The hard workouts can be that way sometimes too and until I get that awesome shoot that's once every few weeks, I am grinding it out and cursing myself the entire way.'
Any odd or strange stories from any shoots or offers from photographers?
'Quite a few uncomfortable stories but odd or strange, probably not in this era. Lets just say I've had a number of photographers try to capture me with more than just the camera. I might have done a few odd themes during a shoot but its modeling, that's what we do. The funny offers are the photographers that beat around the bush with it. One guy lead me on for months about signing up for all these big projects, all sounded good and legit until the end when he had to overly stress, "I need a model that will do ANYTHING for the job". I said yes once but when he came back and said "No, I need to know you're down for whatever it takes", it got pretty clear. Guess I missed my shot at being a millionaire there.'
What factors did you weigh before deciding to take it all off?
'Well I'm pretty comfortable with myself and not afraid to stand behind what I believe so family was never really a problem with me. I hope my little sister never sees any of it but when she's older, I am prepared to handle it. Same goes for my children, so the only thing that would bother me is to see my sister or children getting picked on for something I did. Obviously I weighed it out this way and will try to prepare myself for that day should it come. Insecurity won't work with me regardless of the nude modeling.'
What part of your body are you most happy with?
'What part gets the most attention from others? From an accomplished standpoint, I'd say my biceps, I like where they're at whereas I work a lot harder on all the other areas. From a productive point and overall Im happiest with my brain/mind, I like my unique mix of quirks that gives me my edge. I am happy to say that I'm not going to directly say which body part gets the most attention from others but I'd have to say my eyes probably get noticed most and is one of the stronger attractions for photographers.'
Why do you think you like modeling and any specific photographer you hope to shoot with in the future?
'Expression and exhibitionism! Communication and expression is a nightmare for my generation. Im one of the old soul types stuck in fast current. Right now Im looking to get in with Pat Lee, Micheal Stokes, and someone I shot with a long time ago but we were both kind of starting out, Allan Spiers. Love to work with Bobby again, especially because of how and we push each other beyond. It would impossible to choose a favorite image from all our work together!'
After FH readers enjoy your images and read your words, what is it you would most like them to know about you?
'Good question, this is my defining moment right here. Life is a rugged journey, more rugged for some than others but thats what shapes us. The more path you travel, the more shape you take and the more rugged, the quicker and sharper the shaping comes. I believe in strong mind, strong body, and a life worth living. I've spent the last five years thinking about who I am, the person I want to be, and the life I want to life. I urge more people to do so because too many people walk through it all blindfolded and find themselves trapped halfway through, at the end if you're lucky. As for photographers, I look for different, for eye catchers, for what some might call odd or strange but still taken by it. If someone were scrolling rapidly down a list of photos, where does one stop. My photo. There's a lot of hot guys out there, in the face, in the body, and some in the mind but total grace and an understanding balance of ego whittle the list down and that's where I compose myself.'