Sunday, August 16, 2015

Unplanned Nakedness: Mark Elbus by Bodyworks Studio

'Being nude in front of a strange person is always a bit nerve-wracking, but also new and always different. Even after 20 years I feel vulnerable every time I take off my clothes again for a shoot.'

It is always interesting when I begin a profile to learn the image preferences of the model. Although many models trust me to choose my favorite images, some have specific wishes. Many request I not use full frontal images, which of course I respect. Although many male models pose for full nudes, they try to limit them to their on-line portfolios to reduces the likelihood of them being spread and shared from tumblr to tumblr.

Other times, there are models that not only want their frontals included, but hope that I'll use the most explicit and graphic shots in their port. Mark Elbus is one of those models. It's not that Mark is overly cocky about his body or his images, it is more personal for him. Taking it all off didn't initially come easy, and given how difficult it was to make the choice, and how nervous he still gets taking it all off, he bloody well wants them to be shown, shared and enjoyed.

Mark's journey into modeling began close to 20 years ago when he moved to Berlin. In the 90's, the city provided countless opportunities to take it all off for German artists who were always shooting nudes within abandoned old places, strange lost buildings, train stations and other forgotten and run down area's of the city. Getting naked wasn't originally in the plan however, but Mark got to know a well known photographer, who then was just beginning his career. During their first shoot together he suddenly turned to Mark, and without any warning, asked the young model if he would take off his clothes.

'I started to strip down and it just felt great! I noticed that I really like to pose in front of the camera. Some of these pictures were later published in the photographer's first photo-art-book and caused me to garner some attention in German publications.'

With all of that initial attention, Mark quickly connected with other photographers and began expanding his portfolio to include art/fashion and portrait shots. When the Internet really took off in the 90's, Mark started working with agencies and focusing on fashion, but shows and editorial work. This however, never satisfied him the way shooting nudes did, it could not compete with the enticement and element of risk he had previously experienced. 'I wanted to have fun while shooting in my free-time! Never again this boring fashion- or catalogue-stuff!'

10 years ago, Mark began a new job which took him all over the world. During his time in the US, he had some great times working with among others; Rick Day, David Vance, Michael Stokes and Louis LaSalle. Mark became keenly aware of the differences in attitude and culture with his US shoots which Mark experiences as being on a much larger scale and more serious than his work in Germany. Three years ago, Mark connected with Bodyworks Studio in Long Beach. He found that concerning photography, art and style, they were on the same page. Given his experience with nudes, Mark was looking to push his comfort level, moving to the next step in creating erotic visuals. Mark was proud of the results, the energy and the how far he has come, especially with his comfort level in front of the camera. So comfortable in fact, I saved a few of the shots for The FH Over-Flow.

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