Friday, January 31, 2014

A Rare Gem: Aaron by Tom Clark

Sometimes there is an image, a sculpture or a painting that becomes a part of your daily life, your routine. It hangs your living room, maybe in your office or on the side of a building you pass each day. It is something you feel, experience and enjoy with such regularity it permeates a small piece of who you are. You have all experienced the work of photographer Tom Clark, even if you haven't quite connected image with artist. His images, fusing bodyscapes and landscapes, form and texture hit senses beyond the visual. I am grateful to Gordon Nebeker for helping to make Tom Clark's work a part of FH.

Tom Clark, Perspective:

A few years back I invited a photographer friend along on a shoot because he'd indicated an interest in learning a little bit about how I work. I was hesitant because my work with models on nude shoots is a very intimate, one on one process and I didn't know if I'd be comfortable working with another photographer at my side. To my amazement it worked really well and since then I've enjoyed shooting tandem with a number of professional photographers. Turning the tables a little bit my friend Gordon Nebeker invited me along on a shoot to work with Aaron who by then had become a close friend and one of my most treasured muses. I jumped at the chance to work with these guys since both were friends and I knew well what they were capable of creating.

Two photographers with their cameras aimed on the same model at the same time could in some sense create a redundancy of imagery. But I was fascinated to see how Gordon and I could come up with such different interpretations of Aaron doing the same thing in front of our cameras. This is where it becomes obvious that each of us as artists and photographers crafts our own unique vision of that model there in front of us. One is never better than the other; just different ways of seeing the same subject.

As for Aaron I'm guessing that having two photographers giving directions at the same time could be a little confusing. But he handled it swimmingly as each of us stepped back when it was obvious the other was wanting to get him into a particular place. In the absence of ego it's easy to give another photographer the space he needs to work with the model and then step back up to re-position and work with the model when it feels appropriate to do so.

Many times I dropped my camera to my side and just watched Gordon work; fascinated by how he directed and positioned this guy who I'd done so much work with over the year and a half since I'd discovered him. Aaron's skill at working with a photographer isn't limited to just me as his modeling for Gordon and other artists has made abundantly clear. He's completely at home in his body and when nude expresses an inherent gracefulness and strength that compliment his beautiful physicality and maleness.

Aaron is a rare gem in the world of nude figure modeling and Gordon is a brilliant interpreter of the nude male. Working with them for a few hours out on the desert of northwest Utah was not only a privilege but a chance to deepen my understanding of who each of them is and how they work. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat if given the chance.

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