'Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?'
In Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland the mock turtle sings and dances the Lobster Quadrille. The song is all about his former life under the sea living alongside lobsters, seals and porpoises. For some reason, as I was going through the images photographer Gordon Nebeker sent on of Will, that story came to mind. Hokey I know, but the underwater shots of Will are more than just a man in water, like whales and dolphins and other the creatures of the sea, In Gordon's images, Will looks like he belongs there.
Gordon Nebeker is one of my favorite people to profile. Yes, I love his work and the erotic elegance laced throughout so many of his images, but as importantly, Gordon always tells me the story. I try to make FH as much about story as it is about images and Gordon takes the time, often in great detail, to give me the story behind his images.
The story Gordon tells is not just his own but that of his models and their experience with the process. Usually I take what an artist sends me and use the information to create a presentation to do justice to their images. In this case, what Gordon sent on about his work with Will required no help or editing. With Will's support, here is Gordon's story behind the images Will.
By Gordon Nebeker
I first found him on MM in the Fall of 2010. He had just put up a new profile. There were only a few photos in his portfolio but I liked his fresh look and contacted him to see if he would be interested in doing a shoot with me. He messaged me back saying, "Yes, I would be interested in working with you. I know more about your work than you realize as a friend of mine has modeled for you before and had good things to say about you and I've seen your work with him." The "friend" he referred to turned out to be a guy he was dating who I had done several shoots with previously (Danny) and he came along to Will's first shoot for moral support.
Will is very photogenic and his first shoot went well and part of the shoot involved implied nudity which he was a bit nervous about in the beginning but he warmed to it quickly. In fact, I usually do some clothed shots first just to allow a first time subject to relax and get used to the photographic process. But when they walked into the house (it was mid afternoon) the sun was casting some interesting shadows in my living room and I explained that I wanted to start with some implied nudes as the light was perfect for natural light shots. So we started with the nudes and ended up with the clothing shots! Effectively, I threw Will in the deep end first and he learned how to swim quickly! But implied nudity was as far as he felt comfortable going at that point and I ALWAYS respect my model's wishes in that regard.
After seeing the photos from that shoot, they both wanted to do a duo shoot and get some sun as well, so our next shoot was at my place in Florida in January of 2011 when they came for a long weekend visit. That was an eventful weekend! Not only did we get some wonderful photographs but one night Will and Danny went for a walk on the beach near my place and they came back engaged! Will had given me a heads up on his plans and I had the Champagne bottle chilled for their return. They loved the photographs we got that weekend (almost all of them were shots of them together), and they asked to come back for another round two months later in April which they did. By June, however, their relationship had hit some bumps in the road and soon after they became un-engaged and geographically separated, though they remained in touch.
Flash forward to January, 2012. Will's birthday was coming up in early February and he wanted to do something special to celebrate so he came for a visit to Florida. I suggested we do a shoot with him while he was here because the previous two shoots had been with Danny and, aside from his first shoot with me, I didn't have many photographs of just Will. He was enthusiastic about doing that so a plan was struck. It was an eventful week!
In addition to four days of pretty much non stop photography, Will jumped out of a perfectly good airplane to skydive 13,000 feet (I have the photos to prove he did it) and acquired a Bengal kitten from a breeder I know here in Florida to take back with him to Pennsylvania. To top things off, Danny joined us on the last couple of days from a nearby state where he was living which broke some ice and, while they are not presently in a committed relationship, their friendship has strengthened and deepened.
Most of the photographs of Will shown here are from the shoots earlier this year. Will has grown and developed as a model and has become completely comfortable with his own body and look. There is now some full nudity but it is discreet and not "in your face" which suits Will's style. Modeling is definitely a part-time interest for Will. He is a department supervisor with a major, high-end, fashion retail store and that keeps him plenty busy. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with and we all remain good friends which makes it even nicer.