I first discovered the work of model and artist Steve Raider close to six years. (Fight or Flight) I have featured Steve's work as a model (Principles) as an artist, and as one of social media's most popular men to follow. Be one of the thousands to follow Steve on Instagram HERE:
'The year, 1993, the theme, Together 4Ever, yes, with a 4...'
The quote above comes from a 2013 FH piece entitled Tis The Season. The visuals were of actor William Katt from Carrie and the focus of the story was Prom Night. I couldn't help but think of Prom when going through the images photographer Andrew Bowman sent on of utterly adorable Phil Bruce. Many of you may remember Phil from my feature of his first shoot with Andrew back in 2014. Unprompted Smile.
I was tempted to title this series of images, Unprompted wink, but I couldn't shake how the trajectory of Andrew's shots of Phil so perfectly chronicled the day, evening and night, ofa prom. June is prom month, and high school graduates, in addition to the many 'let me pass' prayers, are focused on their graduation and prom. They obsess over their date of course, but also how they'll get there, what they'll wear, and if their night will end with a bang...
Phil's virtual prom day started out in a t-shirt and gym pants, and I'm confident, some time at the gym. Later, he changed into, then out of his tux, with a small bouquet of flowers for the woman on his arm. Phil's visual prom night ended, as most of us hope, in a hotel room, on the bed naked with hopefully.... his date. I don't think Andrew or Phil had prom in mind when they shot, but the theme was strong to me. Phil in fact shared he didn't actually make it to his prom. The sports performance specialist and personal trainer spent his prom night at a football training session instead.
'In hindsight, this is something that I do regret as I know that I missed out on the experience. So the pictures captured in the shoot with Andrew are as close as I came to going to a Prom.'
I can only guess that Phil would have made anyone's night if their prom date. In addition to his beautiful face, incredible body and that sexy twinkle in his eyes, Phil exudes a caring and humanity in his images that is both visually pleasing and incredibly welcoming. There second shoot produced some cheeky results and Andrew was especially impressed by Phil's emotional range, thought and pensive one moment, then grinning and happy the next.
'Phil still has the best natural smile I've captured on camera, completely unprompted and creased me up laughing every time he did it. There was one more thing in his repertoire this time....a cheeky wink.'
'It is rare that I do second shoots with models, but I loved working with Phil! In particular this time is that his look has changed,With the first shoot, his hair was long - by my standards anyway - and his chest hair was closely clippered. This time, his hair was short but his chest hair was thick and sexy...just like Sean Connery. So all round it was a great contrast.'
'The only thing that stayed was the choice of background music. Phil sang along to Robbie Williams 'World's Most Handsome Man' with great conviction (and I took it as a compliment of course!).....and was apparently singing it on his way down to me in the car to his girlfriend Molly who joined in the shoot on a few lovey dovey pix which were great to shoot. They looked really smashing together.'
'The shoot with Andrew went really well, as I know that he produces magnificent pieces of work and comes up with a lot of great ideas, so I find it easy to work with him and I have full trust in him. It's always a pleasure to work with Andrew, and I'm sure that we will work together again and produce some more great images.'
'Since first working with Andrew a couple of years ago, my modelling career has gone from strength-to-strength. I have managed to get plenty of publications, via websites, magazines etc, both nationally and internationally. I also got to the finals of Mr Staffordshire in 2015, plus got mentioned on TV at the 2015 BAFTA Awards as a friend of mine won an award, and I have been able to work with some more of the very best Photographers. One, with Graham Martin was particularly interesting, as part of it included shooting topless on a cold February afternoon in the middle of London, with quite a few people looking on and watching, which was a great experience.'