Sunday, July 19, 2015
Awakening the Giant Within: Bryan J Kanak by Zohar Lokhandwala
'Zohar just knows how to make someone feel comfortable and you know he is working on giving you that perfect shot.'
Sometimes timing is everything. I first contacted photographer Zohar Lokhandwala back in 2013 after seeing some of his portfolio on ModelMayhem. I was especially impressed with Zohar's black & white images which blended the naked male form with what I can only describe as a quiet calm, almost a spiritual feel to some of his work. I immaculately shot Zohar an e-mail, and he quickly got back to me that he was on board, but the timing was just a bit off. That however proved fortuitous as today I get to feature Zohar's erotically charged images of model Bryan J Kanak.
What first struck me about Zohar's work with Bryan, aside from Bryan's incredible body, was Zohar's use of space and scale. At first I thought the shoot must have taken place in a studio with tons of space and very high ceilings. In some of the shots, especially the shots of Bryan next to the closet and mirror, it is as if Bryan is in a huge castle, or the home of a giant given the visual differences in scale between Bryan and his surroundings. In truth, the images were taken in Zohar's loft in Marina Del Rey. Although the high ceilings helped with the sense of volume, Zohar says it was the right composition that made the space look much larger than it really is.
Zohar connected with Bryan after seeing his work on Model Mayhem. 'He was relatively new and had probably done 2-3 shoots. He had pretty impressive physique, yet there was a softness to his look. I think its his eyes. He came across a gentle giant.' Normally, when Zohar begins a collaboration with a model, his goal is to do something different than what the model already has in their portfolio. After a couple of initial e-mails, Bryan mentioned he had cut his hair really short and Zohar then knew it was his opportunity to capture something unique with a new set of photos.
'I also like to research who it is I am going to be shooting with. So much works on rapport, so knowing more about your subject definitely helps. In my research I came across some of his music. Bryan raps, and his songs had an edge that totally brought another side. So I told him I wanted some of that anger to translate in his look.'
At 6' 5", Bryan Kanak is definitely visually striking and commanding in front of the lens. I think Zohar made the right choice bringing out the beast within the 27 year old gentle giant. Bryan wears his anger well giving the images a sexy and edgy tone which blends well with his surroundings. Born in Pasadena but raised in Phoenix Arizona, Bryan eventually returned to the west coast and currently resides in Riverside California. His passions are varied, from 10 years on the ice playing hockey to countless hours in the kitchen cooking. His love of art is part of the reason he was drawn to modeling. Bryan's goal is to create a portfolio of diversity which demonstrates his limitless capabilities and all that he can bring to a shoot.
'Bryan has a great sense of style. While briefs aren’t his thing, in conversation we decided we’d go with something chic and classic, so the natural choice was Charlie Bymz. The blue was to compliment his eye color. I wanted to give him a scruffier look but his slender tall form and the look naturally bring elegance to the frame. We had discussed doing nudes and since the 4th of July was round the corner we had some fun with it. While there wasn't a planned concept as such, it was a lengthy shoot and so I got him to go through a range of expressions and emotions. I think he was fairly exhausted by the end of it but I think he’d agree it was all worth it.'
Zohar reports they did the nudes towards the end and by then there was an equation of trust and respect between them both. Zohar shares Bryan was professional and relaxed which made him extremely easy to work with. Bryan loves his body and had no issue with being naked. Although a little shy at first, Zohar says Bryan came in ready to work!
'I think the work we did really captures him in a very different way than how he’s been shot before. That’s my measure for a successful collaboration. While I was setting up, he was working out and I've never seen someone get that kind of a pump in their form that quick. He takes direction really well and keeps building on a certain path you set him on which helps a photographer capture tremendous range.'
'My experience with Zohar was great! In a short amount of time, he put me at ease and we got along really well. We were able to go through quite a few different feels and emotions. Even though it was a lengthy shoot, we were very productive and able to get quite a few good shots. I learned so much in this shoot, especially about myself. I was able to learn how to move my body in different ways that I wasn't previously aware. Zohar was definitely able to bring out the best in me, as you can see in the shoot.'