Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Elements of Freedom: Skyclad Modeling


gazing across a misty sea
naked flesh upon naked rock...
sun warmed... wind cooled...
stripped of society's constraints
nudity is my freedom
awakening my senses to this natural world

Below: Steve by Mike Herring

With the beginning of Model Search 2012 I could not think of a better day to feature the extraordinary work of Steve Loxley from skyclad modeling. My goal on FH has always been to feature both established and successful artists alongside new talent and artists who do not get the attention they so deserve on more mainstream sites and blog. I love when models and photographers send me their work to feature, but whenever I see undisclosed recipients, I am sometimes a bit disappointed for a creative blogger, the comes from finding, writing and sharing material that is not seen elsewhere.

Whenever I post shots by an artist or of a model who does not fit the general look of the current guys gracing the covers of major gay and fitness magazines, I get comments and emails critical of their looks and about how they won't make it in the industry. I am curious what people think that 'industry' actually is. Yeah, there are tons of HOT guys (many I love to feature) shooting in New York or other major fashion cities with the top fitness and fashion photographers. Doing campaigns and spreads for magazines and online sites. Often these models are students, and most have to work several jobs to supplement their incomes in order to survive. Success can be measured in many ways but I don't think one can argue that someone who does what he loves, and, since the early 80's, has made his living primarily from modeling is pretty darned successful.

Steve Loxley's began modeling in 1984 when naturalist photographer Mike Herring (second shot above) developed some of Steve's holiday photos and contacted him about hiring the model in the shots. Since most of the shots were self portraits Steve had taken, or shots of him taken by his wife, he was flattered to find out the model Mike was referring to was in fact him.

'After several successful photographic sessions with Mike, both on location and in his studio, I decided that an alternative career might be beckoning me.'

Except for the shot by Mike Herring, all the beautiful shots above are self portraits done by Steve.

Mike was the first photographer I ever modelled for, in fact we have been friends ever since, and have some great memories of travelling and working together throughout France for three summers. When people ask me if it's really glamorous being a photo model I usually tell them the story of when I was working for Mike at a French Nudist club we were making a promotional video for. We had to show all the facilities so Mike thought it appropriate that I was always in the shot, especially for the shower shots (as they were very proud of their new shower/toilet block!) Unfortunately they only had cold showers and we had to retake about three or four times until Mike was satisfied.... I have to say that I was glad it was a very hot, sunny day as the showers were freezing!

Below: Image from Christa Graham.

The shot from Mike Herring shown above was from a naturist hotel in South West England, and we had earlier that day been shooting in the outdoor swimming pool which was probably more freezing than the showers had been! I remember that I even had to rescue a few frogs out of the pool and chased Mike around the pool with them in a net! I still have all the photos I have ever done with Mike, some particularly poignant ones of me and my ex wife, which were beautiful black and white art studies.

Below: Steve shot by Susan Bonor at a class at Langara College.

The Pagan Path:

There were so many things I wanted to focus on with Steve (you know that working as a nude model for art classes must be filled with many funny and great stories...)'

'Being nude in front of one person isn't too daunting, the reality of being nude in front of a dozen or more was a different proposition!'

The Pagan Path section of his website really peaked my interest. Like many of you I'm sure, when I first read the word Pagan on Steve's page I almost clicked off as for some reason I had always connected pagan with Devil worship. I or course, could not have been more wrong. Pagans do not believe in the Devil. In a nutshell Pagans believe that everything has a soul or spirit, not just humans which has been a long held traditional Christian belief. (which seems though in some sections to be changing)

Two shots below by Alma Luz

Skyclad in fact, is in Pagan term used for ritual nudity. On his site, Steve says that for most Pagans, nudity, or going skyclad, is a preferable state in which to invoke the deities of nature. Ritual nudity is not a new concept and has been practiced in many ancient religions and in fact is still practiced today by many in remote areas of the world.

Next three shot from Gilles Champagne

Last fall, when Vancouver was blessed with an Indian summer, Steve, along with fellow Pagan Gilles Champagne, ventured off to an untamed part of Vancouver to photograph the male nude within nature. Steve says their aim was to show both the strength and vulnerability of the naked male body in harmony with the four Sacred Elements of the Pagan belief, Air, Earth (represented by sand, stone and trees), Water and Fire (represented by the Sun).

'We shot the photos at the almost named Acadia Beach, a well known but little used nudist beach, adjacent to the more famous and heavily populated Wreck Beach. There were plenty of opportunities for me to drape my naked body over large, smooth rocks and fallen trees, as well as entwine myself around living trees which at hide tide grow right by the edge of the waves.'

Check out more of this beautiful, fascinating and successful model on Model Mayhem HERE: & on his portfolio site HERE:

Last three shots by Steve Loxley

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That first shot by Gilles Champagne is really incredible! Thank you