'I knew we had something, but didn't really know for sure what it was.'
Many of you remember my June post introducing the work of Iowa photographer Dave Larson from takeapic4u. In that piece, I featured Dave's work with the sexy and buff Kent Clark. (Deconstructing the Cowboy) Within the images, I included several of Kent outdoors, covered in mud. They were some of my favorites, both of naked Kent covered in mud, and equally as sexy, the images of Kent washing the mud off.
The theme, dirty nature, was organically created during a shoot Dave was doing a few years ago. A college student whom Dave had taken grad photos of contacted him about shooting some model portfolio shots. The model was 22, 6-2, blond and clean cut, the perfect guy for fashion and catalog work. After finishing up his head shots and clothed shots, they walked down to the river and the preppy college student stripped off his clothes and jumped into the water.
'He started posing and I have to say looked quite impressive. He had a full 6-pack and well developed arms, pecs and legs. You could also say that God gifted him in other ways as well. Although I am a straight photographer, I could see why there is an audience to see him au natural. He was very good looking.'
Although a hot, naked, wet college stud would have been appealing enough, when the buffed blonde headed into the water he stepped into some slimy mud, almost to his knee. Dave figured he would just step into the water and wash it off, but instead, as the camera started to click, he began spreading the mud all over his abs and chest. He continued to spread the mud upward on to his face and downward over his every other part of his body.
'Before long, and without even a word of discussion about where this was going, he was covered in a thin layer of mud which had started to dry on his tight skin. As it dried, it changed colors to an ashy grey, blacks, charcoals and everything in between... it somehow transformed this model into a sculpture of sorts and it was oddly beautiful. I kept clicking away.'
Dave had the mud covered Adonis move into the deeper clean water and start rinsing it off, slowly. This rinsing off, to me, is part of the erotic appeal of the images. I love to feature 'behind the scenes' shots, of models prepping before a shoot, during the breaks and afterwards. Part of the appeal of a body painting or costume shoot is seeing the model before, and seeing the paint go on, and come off. Dave saw both the appeal of the mud, and the erotic beauty and metaphor in the visual metamorphosis from dirty to clean.
'As he bathed, standing in knee deep water, the streams of water that he splashed on himself became mud logged and colors and movement were incredible as hey ran down over his muscles and face...I knew we had something, but didn't really know for sure what it was. I did think it was pretty cool though and he loved it. As he bathed it off, the sun glistening on his wet skin provided another look at his physique that would draw the eye of anyone...he was great to work with and started this focus in a completely organic way...I know call this theme, "Dirty Nature". I love the play on words and the interesting and unique way it displays the male form.'
We spend so much time cleaning things up, often hiding their natural beauty. We cover rock filled beaches with white sand, we make uneven and unkempt areas woods into symmetrical and boring parks and recreation spaces. We do the same with ourselves. I have seen so many incredible male models who look stunning in their early modeling shots. Unique features and naturally sexy.
Then... months later after they have 'been discovered' by some known photographer or agency, there hair is dyed, there body hair manscaped and their bodies, already perfect, 20 lbs lighter and looking like they're in need of a great steak. There is a model I featured in the first few years of the site whom I thought one of the hottest guys I featured. Today, he is working much more, but has lost almost all of the natural and appeal and personality I first feel in love with. I don't fault him, the changes were obviously expected from those doing the hiring and believing they know what we all want to see..
I love how Dave photographers his men as they are, in their natural state, with the only think covering their bodies the mud. Knowing the mud will be soon washed away revealing what's underneath only adds to the enjoyment. Each of the men presented in this piece are sexy whether they are covered or exposed, tame or wild or squeaky clean or beautifully filthy dirty.