Saturday, November 1, 2014
My Halloween was a bit of bust, a work crisis had me home too late to hand out candy and too tired to head out. Hoping to make up for it with plans tonight! At least I did didn't end up like the guy in the image above. Hooking up with someone at a party is great, but the walk, or in this case subway ride, is a bit more.... well, obvious and a tad embarrassing, if that party is a Halloween party.
Although they didn't attend the official FH Halloween bash, The Property Brothers, although fully covered, showed off why so many love them! Voted on by their fans, they take on The classic Dr. Seuss inspired characters of Thing Jon and Thing Drew. Check out my previous post on the popular pair HERE:
Matt & the rest the guys from the Warwick Rowing team are back for another full year of nakedness for a cause, incredible images, videos and a whole lot of fun!
'I still don’t think Bond has any awareness of the power of his looks. There still isn’t a pretentious bone in his body. He’s still the cute kid next door... who can smoulder and swagger with the best of them!'
It is always a honour when an artist or model entrusts me to feature their work. For most of the artists I profile, photography is not just a job, but a passionate pursuit. Unveiling the results for the exposure of the Internet's critical eye can be a risk. It is especially gratifying for me, when I am able to go behind the scenes and through images, detail and share the evolution of the creative process. As I stated in Friday's Halloween feature, New Manhattan's Studios owner Wes first began mentioning his work with New York model Bond earlier in the year. I could instantly detect the excitement and enthusiasm Wes had for both Bond, and the work they were creating together.
'When Bond presented himself in the studio on a frigid January night in the first days of the year I had no reason to think that he would become an enduring presence in the studio. We have now worked with him six times in the past ten months. Nor did I see anything that first night to suggest there was potential for him to blossom into one of the most compelling models we would work with in 2014. Today he holds the distinction of being the second-most photographed model in the studio’s portfolio.'
Wes, along with stylist and production assistant Alex Corso, (pictured assisting Bond in some of the images) had spent 9 months and 6 shoots capturing moments. Moments in Studio, moments on a farm, moments out and about in Manhattan. It wasn’t just the locations that changed. Wes and Alex captured different looks, different hairstyles and different degrees of risk within the work.
The changes were not just with Bond, the one in front of the lens, changes were also occurring with Wes and Alex, the ones behind it. Alex, also a model, has been assisting Wes for a while now, but with Bond he found himself taking on more and more creative responsibility. Instead of assisting with conveying just Wes's vision, as second photographer on some of the shoots, Alex found himself looking to convey his own vision at times, putting his own stamps on the images produced. This came in very handy on the last shoot because of camera issues it was mostly Alex's images that were used the Orange & Black presentation.
'Shooting Bond was interesting. I'm obviously working with a sexy nude man in front of me, but at the same time he is a person I sit down at a bar and have drinks with. When I shoot a person I have some background with, I tend to be more conservative, making the pictures more about the facial expression than the body. The face should capture the viewers' attention, making them more interested in the person, not just "a hot nude guy." On that that note, when it comes to posing, Bond's facial expressions are great, he can be shy, aggressive, flirtatious or simply just hot.'
'Wes and Alex are a fantastic team. I have been working with them for almost a year now. Their friendly and professional nature has given me confidence in front the camera that definitely didn't exist before.'
Bond On New Manhattan Studios
That confidence Bond describes can be beautifully seen within the evolution of the images in the piece below. The images span their work over the last nine months and most of the last six shoots. I have purposed saved the images from the farm, in the hopes of a more detailed piece in the future. The words, all from Wes, detail the process from beginning to the October shoot which produced the work seen on Halloween. Thanks to Bond, Alex and Wes for sharing both the images, and the story of how they all came together!
Bond On New Manhattan Studios
Having just-turned 25 last January, Bond came across as the teenager from down the street. He didn't have a pretentious bone in his body. And while he was conventionally cute, it was the unassuming cuteness of the boy next door. With a naturally sunny, non-threatening disposition and a keen interest and enthusiasm for everything, his engaging personality was his most arresting trait. If you can remember Tom Hank’s character in Big, then you know Bond.
A fitness buff and avid jock and sportsman (“all outdoor sports”) from Upstate New York, Bond had arrived in the city after college seeking his future in the Big Apple. You had the sense that his pursuit of modeling was just a lark, something to try while he was young and in the City. Indeed, he had scant experience at modeling when he showed up in January. He didn't come across as the proverbial deer caught in the headlights, but there was nothing about his bearing or demeanor that suggested any measure of experience or confidence. He had the smarts to define his limits and to test his wings slowly, but mostly it was about having fun.
Clearly the camera loved the kid that night, and why not? He seemed to pour his heart into his photo session, radiating eagerness and an honest enthusiasm. He had worked hard to achieve and maintain a great physique and it photographed well. And if I call him a kid, please excuse me; he’s long chaffed at being mistaken for younger than he is. We met when he was 25, but a 25-going-on-18. Clearly he’s smart—very smart—but he has an unpolished bearing about him and he still possesses an enthusiasm and naiveté that many of us loose too quickly in this city. And he operates with none of the attitude and sense of entitlement that so many models in this city bring into the studio. Indeed, that’s part of his charm; he seems to have no sense of the potential power of his looks.
But I get ahead of myself. I was no more aware of the potential of his looks than he appeared to be when we first started working together. At the end of the first night, it was his eagerness and enthusiasm for what he was doing, not his looks, that earned him a callback session in February. I thought “two sessions” would do it for Bond. (How many pictures of the Tom Hanks-kid-next door did the studio need?) But at the end of his second shoot, his passion for what he was seeing on the back of the camera earned him a third session. (Hint to models: enthusiastic appreciation of the photographer’s work will get you more work.)
Late in the summer Bond announced that he was moving to California at the end of the year. Having noticed a new potential in the young man, I put him on notice that I wanted to get in one more session with him before he left. That fifth session finally came in October, just a week prior to his departure from New York.
We plotted for a full day of work, starting in the gracious home and studio of a designer in midtown Manhattan, then to shooting in the streets, then under lights in the studio, and finally under the stars in what was to be a fitting farewell tribute: a night-time shoot with the New York skyline in the background. We got most of what we wanted that day, but ultimately we never made it into the studio and I was disappointed that we failed to get a planned session of art nudes.
For our final session I asked that he give us a different look; I asked him to loose the goatee and show up with some scruff. I knew that his facial hair was partially designed to avoid “looking like a kid,” but he agreed and shaved off the goatee. I hadn’t seen him in close to three months when he arrived for work. I was impressed by his looks and the scruff looked hot. However, again, it wasn’t until that night when I started editing the new images that I was struck by just how different his new look was. And after a while I realized that the biggest difference wasn’t the hair on his chin: it was the hair on the top of his head. In this session he had a glorious mane. And in this session he radiated something that I had not seen before: cool confidence and boldness.
Bond’s new sense of assurance as a model left me both elated and depressed. I was elated at having captured what was clearly our best work yet and depressed that we’d failed to make it into the studio one last time. In his final days in New York I prevailed upon him to try to find the time to schedule one last session in the studio.
As I have said, Bond’s most appealing quality is his eagerness and enthusiasm. He made the time and we literally worked into the late hours of the night on his last day in New York. Wanting to capitalize on his new confidence as a model, I told him my objectives for the shoot were for him to push himself into new territory. Knowing that he could nail Tom Hanks cute, I wanted to see if he could do Marlon Brando’s smoulder, James Dean’s bad-boy swagger and cockiness. I told him his challenge was to go from being the boyfriend of every mother’s dreams to the boyfriend of every father’s nightmares.
To be honest, I didn’t know if he could pull it off. But I was impressed with his determination when he showed up in the studio with a pack of Marlboros rolled into the sleeve of his T-shirt and told me that he’d been on-line studying pictures of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. "OK! Sit down and let’s go for it!” (By the way, the cigarettes were just props for this serious athlete.)
I will let the viewer decide how well Bond measured up to the challenge. For my part, I look at the pictures we captured last January and have a hard time reconciling the kid in those pictures with the confident hunk I see in our work in October. Yes, he’s more mature. He’s better looking, no doubt. But he doesn't have to worry about not looking his age any more, he’s nailed “twenty-five.” Handsomely. But from a photographer’s standpoint, the most impressive (and for me, surprising) change is something he’s projecting that hadn’t been there before: Sexiness.
On a technical note, I regret to report that I had serious camera issues during the second half of the final shoot. Fortunately the studio’s stylist and production assistant, Alex Corso, was shooting with a second camera. Many of the pictures in the Halloween post (including many of the best) were taken by Alex
I am pleased to announce that Bond has been chosen as the cover model for the studio’s 2014 New York Models Portfolio, Gramercy Square. It will go on sale in December and feature previously unpublished pictures of Bond and five more models that passed through our New York studios in 2014. You can see a preview HERE:
You can see more on the studio’s New Manhattan Studios website. Readers of Favorite Hunks are invited to view a special video presentation of Bond’s photo sessions HERE: It quickly takes the viewer through the past year of photo shoots from January to October, with many images not seen on FH.
As disappointing as it was loosing so many great shots from the last session, Bond will return to New York City one more time before moving to California at the end of the year. He’s agreed to try to make time for a reshoot. That would be session number seven. But who’s counting? Stay tuned.