'My comfort for nudity has ultimately made me a comfortable person. Clothes maketh the man, they say. So, I opt to be 100% Davo. Without synthetics or labels. There is nothing more attractive than a confident, smiling and genuinely honest person. I figure being completely comfortable being nude is a ways of helping that attractive person reach their potential, in whatever shape or form it happens to take.'
Most often, when actors discuss nude scenes or love scenes on screen, they feel obliged to remain professional. They discuss the process, how technical it all was and most vocalize how non-sexual it was with all of the crew surrounding standing around. Although I believe this is all true, it doesn't take into account the minds and imagination of all of those involved. I think that is why 'story' is so important to me with FH.
Although most photo shoots may be professional, there is still something fascinating, even titillating about how the process came to be. What made an artist decided to focus on the nude male forum, what made the model decided to pose naked? What factors came into play, how comfortable were with the process, how did their family and friends react, did anything unexpected pop-up during the shoot? These are some of the questions I often wonder when viewing images that I love. Nude photography is a beautiful artistic expression of creativity, but there is also something sensual, risky, and hopefully fun, at it's core.
It is one thing to remove all of one's clothes for a photo shoot with a professional photographer. There may be an assistant or two, but basically it is a small group of professionals within a private studio setting. It is another thing to remove all of one's clothing in a room full of 20, 30 or even more completely clothed individuals, all whose soul focus is to stare down, memorize, then reproduce through art, every inch of your body. I am especially curious when I am introduced to models who spend time working in life drawing and art classes. Unlike others, such as strippers, who removes their clothing for a large group, there is little control over how the process goes, and the model must release control and be completely vulnerable the dozens of eyes viewing, assessing and interpreting what they see.
It was those life class drawings that had me reaching out to ask Davo Hardy a few questions. The Sydney Australia model looked so confident in his classroom posing and I was impressed how in control he looked, dispelling some of my preconceived notions about what it must be like. Davo, a professional film maker, undertook nude modeling as a challenge, viewing it with questions, curiosity and most of all with respect for the others involved. With just a few questions, Davo was able to share the experience from the initial idea, the questions and eventual follow-through. He obviously took to well as in 2010, he wasn't just posing naked for a class room full of artist, he was joining over 5000 others, stripping naked for photographer Spencer Tunick on the stairs of the Sydney Opera House!
'Nude modeling, as a life model, came into play when I was about 16. I had taken to art in high school and was simply looking for an extra curricular activity to occupy those years prior to the senior study, so I was directed to a local art store to purchase my own materials. There, I found the notice board with all the community groups. There were many life drawing groups, but I felt awkward enquiring about them. I was an adolescent boy, asking to join a group where nudity was guaranteed. I had the feeling everyone would be expecting me to be inappropriate or immature about the whole set-up when, in fact, I found it fascinating and was genuinely eager to join. So, of course, I slipped it in between enquiries about ceramics and collages making...'
'When I finally did attend the life drawing group, the very laid back kind where there is no tutor and everyone works at their own pace and with their own material, I was still nervous. I was by far the youngest one there and when the time came to draw the model, I was given a rare opportunity to be that mature young man I wanted the others to see. And so a nude figure became a mass of lines and tone. I made good friends with these retirees and I began to regularly attend the group. Of course, it was mid-week and meant I had to also regularly skip a day of school. The day I, ironically, had two periods of art. Eventually, I failed high school art class, but made up for it in learning practical techniques without the theory and distraction.'
Image from Niko Vass
'It was not long before one day the model did not show up and, having always had a quiet interest, I gathered the courage to volunteer. I asked the coordinator quietly and he was shocked, of course, that I was stepping forward. The age of consent is 16 here and though it could not have been any less sexual, it was still a decision to, ultimately expose oneself to dangerous opportunity. As I had become friends with most of the group, they struggled with the prospect too. For lack of a better option, they said it was up to me. So, I took to the centre of the room in my mid-adolescent glory and made my first cash-in-hand wages. This became a regular gig, word of mouth got other groups contacting me and little by little, I built a nice little niche. It was years later that I approached the art schools and private colleges. They hired me quite quickly.'
Next two images from Craig O'Regan
'There is never an audition process. The educational institutions treat it like any other job interview. They ask for a photo of you (encouraging you to be clothed). I have always submitted a silhouette nude, capturing everything that matters for the job. And when I was 18, I did my first nude photography, soon after joining ModelMayhem. I struggled initially with the repercussions of having publicly accessible nude photography of me on the internet. It has been a decision I have never regretted. One must have a certain personality type for that. The type that is not easily guided by peer pressure or unpopular decision making.'
'I suppose now that there is so much of it out there, people know what to expect of me and when I fit what their needs are, I get the job. Life modeling takes a different set of skills to photography modeling. It's not as glamorous, or as exciting. It's quiet, it's intellectual and it's often straining. The pressure to be frozen in statuesque strength is far greater than the freedom a life model is always given to stretch and break the pose when needed. No one really expects you to stay dead-still for 20 minutes. We are all merely human.'
Below: Davo by Wendy Haigh
'These days, I still model at the same group where it all started, nearly a decade later, some exceptional photography exists, chronicling the last few years of my adolescent development and I have come to feel very comfortable and confident in myself. It would have been so much harder to ignore pressure to be overly thin, muscled or chiselled without the steady compliments and cash rewards for being my raw, naked and honest self in those impressionable years, entering manhood.'
Dave believes that there is a market for everything and that unpopular does not mean unimportant or unworthy. Dave says it was unpopular to be a model without a gym body and toned abs, and he has been accused of being a poor quality model because he allows his body hair to grow as it is intended. The trend to trim and shave one's pubic hair has never appealed to me. Same goes for the hair on my legs. His message is to be yourself, a message he tries to share in both his modeling, and work as a film maker. Be sure to check out some of Davo's film work on his StarNow site HERE:
Last two images from Rod Capon