Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wish Book: Skyler by Studio James

It was back in 2011 that I was first introduced to the work of Robert (Studio) James. In my first piece featuring Robert's work, (Home Alone) I was struck by the connection I felt to the Wisconsin photographer's theme of being home alone. Within Robert's images, being alone isn't a bad thing, it's an opportunity.

I have a fairly stressful job, supporting others as they work their way through a time of fear and pain. I love spending time with my friends and family, but I also crave at least a day or two a month to have all to myself. With work taking the bulk of my week and family obligations often dominating my weekends, it is rare to have a full day, let alone a full weekend to do exactly as I please.

Being surrounded by people all day has me craving moments of solitude. I distinctly remember the first few evenings when I first moved out into my own apartment. It was the mid nineties and although computers had been around for awhile, I didn't own my own at that point. A great evening was a pizza, a good VHS choice from Blockbuster, followed by a good book before bed. Before the Internet, books were often the way many of us moved from reality to fantasy. A good book could provide erotic stimulation from a few well constructed sentences. With visuals not readily at hand, one's imagination was the best and only vehicle for getting (off) on-line.

Robert's images of Skyler are not of a man alone, they are of a man enjoying spending time with himself. Surrounded by others at a wedding all day, there is nothing more fantastic to Skyler than getting home, pouring a drink and removing the tuxedo which had constrained him most of the day. He had been looking forward to this moment most of the afternoon and as he gave his toast at the reception, dreamt about getting home and pealing off that tux.

When down to his grey undies, Skyler pics up the novel he had started a few days ago. He is three quarters through the book and the off/on relationship of the novels main characters are finally on with a descriptive three pages of their erotic coming together. Time to put the book down, it has served it's purpose of getting the juices flowing.

Robert is a master storyteller, visually unveiling the story through his images. Robert gives you just enough to get an idea of what the model is feeling, but leaves room for the viewer to use their own fantasy's to fill in the blanks. This was Robert's second shoot with Skyler. Robert had just moved into a new house in the country when Skyler called asking about another shoot. Given he had a brand new home, there were many new locations he wanted to try out.

Robert says that most of his shoots last about 4 or 5 hours, but with all the new locations he wanted to work in, they decided to spend the entire day and do a variety of sets each in a different location. There were two sets of images that stood out to me, this one and another which I am going to share in a couple of days. Although this set of images comes from shooting inside Robert's new home, they also spent a fair bit of time shooting outside.

'Two of the outdoor locations were within 10-15 feet of a county highway. The road is not heavily travelled but approximately every 5 minutes a car would come along and Skyler, having no clothes on, would have to scamper over to some brush and hide behind it till the car passed. We made the day without getting caught. We spent a good twelve hours shooting, moving to the next location and shooting some more. We were both exhausted by the end of the day but Skyler was a trooper and was 100% into each setting.'

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