'When I first met Julian, last December, in Raleigh, NC, it was at the door of the temp studio we set up in my room at the local Best Western. I opened the door and thought... 'He is a walking Botticelli'. If you ever saw the Zeffirelli movie of "La Traviata", the opening scene had a similar effect and Zeff looked for some time to find the young angelic "Botticelli" man in the opening scene. God gave me Julian. His personality is as beautiful as his physical appearance AND he has a brain he's not afraid to use it'
With his curly brown hair, hazel eyes and olive skin, photographer Bill Donlen's reaction to first meeting Julian Jiamachello is certainly understandable. Julian's incredible body and face do have similar qualities to those of the men depicted in Renaissance paintings, and the strong classic poses only add to the beautiful illusion.
23 year old Julian hails from North Carolina and says powerlifting is in part, responsible for the look and shape of his body. Julian says that although he is still an amateur at the discipline, it does help him stay fit, and attributes the sport to kick-starting his modeling career.
Powerlifting is one of two passions Julian discovered over the past two years. Those last 24 months have been ones of discovery for Julian, traveling and trying out different schools and areas of study. Julian struggled however to find a program or field of focus which fit with his goals. Through this journey, Julian uncovered his love for writing, and says writing is what he feels he is best at. Julian's writing runs more toward the lyrical and the musical. Music is where Julian's future lies and hopes modeling will help him get closer to his goal.
In the case of Bill Donlen, his journey and studies have gone on a bit longer than two years. Renaissance not only acts an inspiration for his work, it also accurately describes the education and experiences which have led to the unique vision which inhabit his images. Bill has studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew and French. In addition to the languages, Bill also immersed himself in the study of the geographical locations of the languages origin; the cultures, literature, art, architecture, religion and government. Bill also spent four and half years studying in a Catholic Monastery (he did not finish, so no, not a Priest).
'My photographic art has its roots in Classic and Renaissance art , painting, fresco, mosaic, sculpture, and literature. I had the opportunity to study the Religio-mythological art of the High Middle Ages thru the Neo-classical era and got to understand and appreciate love of nature, natural settings and the beauty of the human form-in my case-the beauty of the Male human form.'
Bill, who showcases his work under the professional name, 'GymImage Photography' says that upon their first meeting, and first shoot, he and Julian worked well beyond the time they initially set up. Confidence and trust were developed quickly during their first work experience together.
Their second shoot took place in February at Bill's favorite cabin in the woods and they took up just where they left off. New Delhi Designer Jattinn Kochha had contacted Bill about photographing his first male swimsuit line.
'I had 5 models that weekend and shot solos inside and out (it was cold) in the suits and artistic nudes-only Julian did those outside. What a brave (foolhardy) soul! It is difficult NOT to take MANY photographs of Julian and then even more difficult to choose the very best. Unless I mess up, he simply doesn't take a bad photograph!!!'
Bill is still working on the edits for their most recent collaboration, a shoot along the dunes and outer banks in NC.
Julian says working with Bill is always fun. The first time they shot was only Julian's second professional shoot. Julian tells me after his first experience (which included a flaky photographer, a prosthetic limb and something about an underground stripping engine...) working with Bill was a pleasure! Julian provide me with one of the most perplexing, yet, in rereading, one of the most interesting quotes a model has ever given me about his work.
'Bill takes ideas from his knowledge of the classics, and just does them naked-style. Sensitive to portraits, and particular of location. Modeling for me, is another extension of attempting control and power. The necessary flooding of chemicals particular to enacting the male model industry aesthetic are somewhat foreign for me. One can't go overly-testosterone, or far towards the effeminate- almost dehumanizing by portraying emotions on their own...something like that.'
Although his portfolio has it's share of amazing studio shots, I could not help but feel a detectable preference and affinity for his outside images, especially those near water.
'There is in this a need to shoot or write in a wonderful natural setting or, when shot inside, in a naturally lit setting, I have recently begun, with the help of my GREAT friend, Rocky Ryan, the use of artificial lighting to enhance the natural beauty of my subjects, BUT that will not replace, only expand, my love of natural settings and light.'
'My favorite spot to shoot is the Creek I've known since I was a kid in Boy Scouts. It runs along the base of the hill where we camped every summer from the time I was 10. I have been to this place hundreds of times, for solace, to relax, to shoot both just the natural beauty and the beauty of men in the beautiful natural setting and to write my soul out.'
'My second favorite spot is the dunes at the edge of the continent out on Cape Cod. This vestige of the last ice age has stunning and apparently simple beauty, with sand, forest growth and both the Great North Atlantic and Cape Cod Bay, It, too, is a place I want to be when I lose the last of my mind.'