'I asked Mr. Herzog if he was happy with the photographs we were getting and in true Mr. Herzog style he answered, “doesn't matter if I am happy with them. If YOU are happy with them then I am happy with them!" Needless to say, I am very happy with them!'
I always look forward to featuring the work of photographer Gordon Nebeker, but it is especially satisfying when the focus is on model Mr. Herzog. I was fortunate to have been able to share Gordon's images with Mr. Herzog a few times last year. In the last feature, (O Christmas Tree) a naked Mr. Herzog was up on a step ladder, naked of course, putting the topper on the Christmas tree.
Gordon's images of Mr. Herzog don't only capture his incredible body, distinct masculinity and strength. Gordon also captures his positive attitude and hopeful and determined spirit. When we first met Mr. Herzog last summer, he had recently returned from three trips oversea's with deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
Having modeled in the past, Mr. Herzog decided to dip his toe temporarily back in front the camera as part of transitioning back into civilian life and into a more permanent and stable job to support his family. Mr. Herzog is still committed to his goals, but it hasn't come without hurdles and complications.
'Civilian life hasn't turned out how I wanted it to be. Been waiting almost a year to hear back about a contracting job and who knows if they even remember me. All about a security clearance. But I've been holding my own remodelling homes. Built log cabins and homes and docks prior to joining the military. So it was a safe fall back plan considering he experience I had with it.'
When Gordon was planning his drive home from Florida early last month, Gordon found that his journey would be taking him close to where Mr. Herzog lives. He contacted him about whether he would be interested in doing an outdoor/location shoot this time around, as they had not done one of those before. 'As I expected, he was all for it and arranged for time off work to spend the day with me in a nearby forest.'
'I first found the forest through research on the Internet but it turned out that Mr. Herzog had done a shoot there before so was somewhat familiar with the area. As always on a location shoot, I had some ideas of certain shots I wanted to get. But i left the rest up to working with what we would find as these things can’t be planned out too precisely when it is the first time to visit a location.'
On the day of the shoot, location became less worry than the weather. Gordon was more concerned with moisture as steady rain was forecast throughout the day. Gordon shares that it rained all the way driving to the location, but once they arrived, the rain just stopped, not starting again until they were getting ready to leave. Since the water coming from the sky was taken care of, the only issue became whether Mr. Herzog would brave sliding his naked body into the river water, still pretty chilly so early in the spring.
'Mr. Herzog is wonderful to work with. Of course it helps that he is handsome and keeps himself fit and photograph ready but it is attitude that constantly impresses me. If you ask him to "jump", he will respond, “how high?” In this case, it was “would you be willing to go into the water?” Keep in mind this creek is probably snow fed and the water is cold, cold, cold. But Mr. Herzog was in the water and splashing around before I could even finish my question.'
'The water...it was darn cold. I think the high that day was 57 or so, so the water was a smudge colder. I've been in that cold of water before...but that was during recruit training and was kind of forced to. But I'm a sport and whatever is going to get the best shots, sometimes you gotta suck it up and just go for it!'
Although Mr. Herzog was the one braving the frigid water, he shares that Gordon didn't have it completely easy either. Gordon had come down with a cold prior to the shoot and the place they were shooting was deep into the woods. Mr. Herzog says he felt bad dragging his photographer on such a long walk, but hearing the rapids far up ahead inspired them on. I was certainly inspired by the visual results, so much so I had to add a few extras on The Over-Flow. Be sure to check them out HERE:
'Gordon was a champ through it all, and I must say we make a great team. The only people we saw were the ones riding their bikes around the park. Lots of parked cars but no people. Which was kind of odd. Especially since some of the cars were parked where we were and when we got back they weren't around....kind of fishy. Overall the weather was crummy, but two great minds hat think a lot alike can accomplish wonderful things!'
'Who WOULDN'T love working with a model like Mr. Herzog?? It certainly won’t be the last of my shoots with him, 'God willing and the creek don’t rise.'
Mr. Herzog by Gordon Nebeker on FH: