Sunday, August 9, 2015
Off The Beaten Track: DirtRoad by Noplacia Photography
When I first discovered model and photographer DirtRoad, I knew I had come across a unique and gifted artist. The first images of DirtRoad (Warren Russell) that I saw were his self portraits, outside, naked and yielding an axe in an old run down woodshed. Warren's images were exactly what I loved about the male form within art and photography. His work was incredibly sexy and erotic, yet not overtly sexual. The difference may be slight, even discrete, but it's also clear when viewing an images, what the artist's intent was.
Warren's work is story based, it's putting the male form in locations and circumstances which connects man with his body and the environment which surrounds him in a visually stimulating way. Since that first piece, I have featured other of Warren's work, both shot by himself, as well as other artists. The authentic quality Warren brings to his images runs through all of his work, no matter who is behind the camera.
'Naked' is a difficult concept for some to get their head around. Many photographers don't seem to see bodies beyond just body parts. You can tell when viewing the images whether an artist's focus is fixed exclusively on a model's penis or ass or whether they see the model in his entirety, his body and the man within it. I try to focus most of my features on photographers who focus on the latter, Gary Larson of Noplacia Photography is one of those artists.
'Some shoots with other models can be rigid, all business, and there can be ego challenges. Warren is the opposite of those models. He is laid back about the process, won't turn down a beer when taking a break, and brings his own creative ideas to the shoot. Our train train tracks/field photos are my favorite work Warren and I have done together.'
I think Gary's images of Warren are some of my favorites, not just of Warren's but of any model. Connection is a big part of art, and I have a close connection with rail road tracks having spent many hours walking my dogs, walking with friends and walking home alone down them after a night out. There is something very nostalgic about train tracks, most towns have old ones, or old paths from trains routes that have long ago ceased to exist.
Although I often ran into others on the tracks, there was something mysterious about tracks for a mechanical travelling machine which ran through sometimes very remote rural pieces of land. I love the freedom Gary captured, Warren seems completely content to be alone, naked,and not at all concerned about being discovered. In fact, there is a feeling that is part of the enjoyment, the risk, or hope of someone coming upon him. Although I never stripped down on my walks, there were times I hopped, skipped and even danced from tie to tie or between each of the main rails.
Gary is a freelance photographer near Seattle, Washington with a background in fine art (mostly watercolor painting) and design. His artistic focus is on the human elements (personality, emotion, and the figure) which makes him a perfect fit to work with Warren who also has a passion for the fine arts: drawing, painting, and sculpture. Gary describes Warren as his favorite model to shoot and after working together a few times, realized Warren looks the best in the overgrown forest areas near his home. I love this entire series but some of the images of Warren doing yoga poses are especially strong with the blend of both sunlight and shadows cascading over Warren's body.
'He doesn't spend time in the gym. His body is shaped from the natural activities he loves: gardening, hiking, and martial arts. The natural landscapes in the Pacific Northwest make the ideal background for Warren.'
'While not always present in his photos, Warren has a beaming smile. He radiates positivity, is patient with the photo shoot process, and is always very interesting in conversation. Recently, he suggested a place for a shoot, but I didn't see how we could get to it due to the thorny thick blackberry shrubs. He pulled out a machete and cut a path through the shrubs in a few minutes.'
All of DirtRoad on FH: