Friday, August 26, 2011

Peachtree Muscle: Blending Of Tones:

Ryan Sandefur by Peachtree Muscle Photos:

Today, men are regular fixtures on the runways of New York, Paris and Milan. Being tall and thin, having good facial structure were not a always the qualities those seeking to hire a male model were looking for. Watching runway shows today can sometimes be scary. Male models often look like girls and many female models are so gaunt, many look like prepubescent boys.

The work of Mike Saunders is planted firmly in the present, yet he lovingly and skillfully retains a homage to the past. As the creator of Peachtree Muscle Photos, Mike knows that physique (fitness) modeling has a fascinating history, a history which almost saw the death of the art form until a resurgence emerged about ten years ago. In the 50s, physique was everything. From the late 50's through the early 70's, laws surrounding what the standards for obscenity were began to change. With these changes, the life of the posing strap was on the decline. With the penis now able to be photographed, genitalia became the focus and fitness and muscle tone became less important.

Thankfully, physique focus modeling is on the rise and fitness focused modeling agencies are doing well. Many major fashion focused agencies have also started fitness divisions. Mike Saunders specializes in shooting the Male Physique: Bodybuilders, wrestlers, swimmers, athletes of all kinds. Mike shoots sporting events and sport themed images.

The word Physique might conjure up thoughts of the past, something retro or a conservative way of shooting. Looking at this shoot with model Ryan Sandefur, Mike proves his focus on physique is not only current, but an art form in itself. In viewing Mike's portfolio, his work with Ryan literally jumped out at me. I titled this profile 'Blending of Tones' as Mike so beautifully weaves classic elements of 'beefcake' photography within his work. His focus is not just pose, but on color, fashion and location created this series of stunning images. His use of red and yellow contrast and compliment Ryan's toned body and incredible blue eyes.

Mike has spent much of the last few decades as a teacher and describes his photography as mainly a hobby and a passion. Throughout this time Mike has shot pretty much every sport. Given his 'hobby' has followed him through several decades, I would call it more a way of life, something within which creatively must come out.

Ryan is a college student and very motivated toward fitness modeling. Mike describes him as a very personable, ambitious and disciplined young man. This was Ryan's first fitness shoot and despite his years shooting, this was Mike's first time shooting a model he connected with through Model Mayhem.

'He also is very athletic, well-toned and good looking. He follows directions well, but easily comes up with his own ideas. He remarked that he was very white, no tan-therefore, I wanted to shoot on an overcast day- avoiding bright sunlight. Also, late in the day, I thought a restored covered bridge I knew of, would help with subdued light.'

'I appreciate the fact that other Sunday afternoon visitors to the bridge were courteous and offered to stay clear of our "shoot area". One reason I used the net shirt was to show off his physique- yet tone down the "white effect".'

Check our more of Mike's work on ModelMayhem HERE:
You can also join his Facebook Group HERE:
You can also see more of Ryan on MM HERE: