'I remember my very first photo shoot with Wes and Alex very clearly! It was more than 1 year ago and I was very excited about it! I always liked to be in front of a camera and create art with just my body.'
It wasn't Luca's first time modeling, with his ballet skills he'd posed many time for dance commercial shots. Luca says that going into his work with Wes, he wasn't nervous at all, but confident in himself and his ability to create beautiful lines and movement in front of the camera. Luca shares that even with his dance background, staying in the same pose for long periods of time can be hard on the muscles and bones. Although he is in great shape (he had come to the shoot straight from a ballet rehearsal) Luca shares that he was still quite sore the next day.
'I had no idea how the pictures I shot could look like ! But I was pretty positive about it thanks to Wes and Alex's suggestions that helped me to find the perfect pose to shoot! I remember every shape of my body had to be in the perfect angle! And I had to pay a lot of attention to my eyes, the expression of my face and mouth!'
Luca remembers Wes telling him to smile and 'be sexy with his eyes'. Luca was striving to look more natural and rested and not tired after 6 hours of dance rehearsals he had just been through. Most models that I profile have a gym routine, an hour or two at the the gym 5 or 6 days a week to maintain and define their muscles and look. Luca's body is so long, and so lean and his poses so elegant, even delicate at times. It is easy when enjoying his images to overlook the incredible discipline and time spent working and stretching every muscle in his body on the dance floor so many hours every week.
'The whole experience was positive! When I first looked at the final pics I was literally surprised how my body and my face looked! Every pic meant something and it was pure art! The light was perfectly matching with every pose and the expression of my eyes and mouth were bringing the pics alive! Wes and Alex are great people to work with and I felt immediately comfy which helped a lot to relax and shoot great pics naked or not! The photo shoot was very long as I had expected. It was tiring but full of fun! I shot other two times after with Wes and Alex and every time I felt even more professional and confident with the camera! Loving the modeling world even more!'
'Luca is one of several international models that we have worked with. He is more unique in that he is only one of three professional dancers that have come before the cameras at New Manhattan Studios.'
'At twenty years old, Luca is a professional ballet dancer with an Italian dance troop with a permanent base in New York City. However, Luca’s visa was expiring less than a week after our photo session. We scrambled to get him into the studio and just days after our session he was on a plane bound for Milan.'
'Working with Luca was a special delight; professional dancers of this caliber are athletes of the first degree. But beyond their amazing physiques, they also possess an agile mastery of their body that is unmatched by virtually any other model. In motion, Luca was fluid beauty, but even standing still, Luca radiated an elegant grace that shines through in the photographs.'
'Upon arriving back in New York in the fall, we wasted no time in scheduling a second session with him. In mid-October we captured the series of graceful ballet poses and leaps. The astute observer should be able to detect a slight maturation that is evident in some of the pictures. Luca looks a little less like the boy of 20 that he was when he first arrived at New Manhattan Studios. But if anything, the elegance and poise that he radiates is more obvious than ever.'
'It is not often that one model refers another one to the studio. It is rarer still when a model recommends a family member. But it happened three times in 2014: one model referred his wife and two models referred their brothers. Such is the case here. Matteo was referred by his kid brother, Luca.'
Although it was Luca and his long slender body and elegant, graceful poses which first captured my attention, it was of images of Luca with brother Matteo that had me really intrigued about featuring both brothers. There was something both familial and attractive about both Wes's images of the two brothers together, especially the shots wearing the sweaters. There are clearly similarities, in facial structure and their beautiful brown eyes, yet they both have a distinct sexual energy and beauty connected to who they are and the passions they pursue.
As with his younger brother Luca before him, Matteo had never before posed for a professional photo shoot of this nature. This in a odd way, makes the images even more appealing. Sometimes, with inexperienced models, the 'newness' and awkwardness of a first nude shoot is off putting, other times, like these images of Matteo, the vulnerablity of seeing a new model plunked into a new experience, can add to the enjoyment.
Both brothers are passionate and committed athletes. Luca, a professional ballet dancer, Matteo, a student and soccer player in Milan. When Matteo was visiting New York last Christmas, a small window of opportunity arose for Wes and Alex to work with with both he and Luca together, and with separate shoots. It was touch and go to find the time but finally, on Matteo's last full day in the States, a feasible shooting day was found! Luca had originally planned to accompany his older brother to his first shoot, but he was detained by dance rehearsals so Matteo made his way to the studio for his first nude shoot on his own.
'Luca described his other brother as “the hunk” in the family. Matteo, at 26, is finishing his studies in pharmacy in Italy. Despite being an avid soccer fan and player, Matteo was quick to describe his kid brother as having the better physique.'
'Well, we had barely begun to work when Luca showed up at the studio. Rather than wait patiently in the dressing room, he took a seat toward the back of the studio and busied himself on his phone while his older brother was busy at work under the bright lights on the other side of the room. The two guys seemed so relaxed around each other that we asked if they’d pose for a few shots together. And they did. A handful of the photos might make their way to the family mantle place. The guys were good sports. Half of the pictures clearly will not wind up on the mantle!'
There is something intrinsically hot about two sexy brothers. Many in the industry have capitalized on shooting brothers, often twins, withinin their work with the male form. I am always surprised how many 'artists' take the easy way out by sexualizing brothers through pose and with incestuous undertones which are just not needed. There is already a sexual energy organic when shooting two men together, especially if one of the things the brothers don't share is the same sexual orientation. Creative photographers know they don't have to push beyond the natural brotherly relationship to achieve beautiful, sensuous and stimulating images.
Wes clearly knows this, as do the brothers. Even in their wool sweaters, you can see the closeness between Luca and Matteo. Seeing them together, shot completely naked is sexy enough without photographer or model pushing it somewhere uncomfortable, and unnecessary. Visually, they are fascinating to view together. The similarities and differences are highlighted by the Wes's portraits and seeing them together beautifully highlights the physical differences in how their bodies have responded to each of their chosen athletic pursuits.
When Luca wrote Wes last December about bringing his brother along to his next shoot, he described Mateo as the straight, jock-hunk in the family. Wes was a bit sceptical at first, but Luca assured him that Mateo was up for "bareing it all" and given how beautifully his work with Luca turned out, Wes agreed. Wes shares that Matteo ended up having engaging personality that he hope comes through in some of the images they captured.
Below: Alex applying the Made in Italia temporary tattoo both brothers wore during a part of their shoots.
'Matteo was a bit self-conscious when he first started doing the nude work but he had never done anything like this before so that was to be expected. Accordingly, I had suggested that Luca might want to sit in the waiting room or the dressing room but he busied himself on his cell phone at the back of the studio. I feared he might be inhibiting his older brother but the two were ignoring each other and in time Matteo got with the program and became totally relaxed and was having fun with the shoot.'
'Neither Luca nor Matteo had any qualms about shooting together and we got some “family shots” early in the session when both guys were clothed. The brothers are very close, and totally cool about working together. At the end of Matteo’s session and before we started working with Luca, we asked if they’d be OK with doing a few shots together unclothed. Both guys agreed with little or no discussion and we spent about 10 minutes getting a short series of pictures that I was uncertain as to how I’d ever use. Clearly they won’t wind up on the family mantle.'
You'll notice in some of these images, both brothers are sporting the Made in Italia logo in some of Wes's shots. Luca and Matteo were the forth and fifth Italians to work within New Manhattan's Studio the last few months and the pattern was not lost on Wes and Alex. Wes plans on capitalizing on the trend with a new book currently in the works. Over the next few months, Wes is actively searching for more models to fill the book devoted to Italian and Italian-American models. If you're a model and fit that description, you might want to shoot Wes a note, and if you're a fan of all things Italian, I will let you know when the book is available for purchase!