'I've always worked hard on staying in shape and pushing my body to be in peak condition, so it felt natural to do nudes. I like the idea of my body being viewed as art.'
'I asked Rex if he was comfortable getting up on the stool? Well, as soon as I said it, I thought that was a really stupid question.... but before I could even explain my ideas, he was up on the stool and posing. I had a great time capturing that image. In fact, it is one of my favorites from the shoot.'
It was just about one year ago that I was privileged to be able to first present the work of Chicago photographer Ray from Covet Image. Since that first piece last November, (Temporary Seclusion) I have been fortunate to have been able to feature Ray's several more times throughout the last year.
Although Ray still considers himself an amateur, to me his work is both excellent and unequivocally professional Although professional may be defined by making a living from something. Professionalism is also describes the way one interacts with others as well as utilizing superior skills to produce outstanding results.
I can't exactly say Ray's work has gotten better as I loved the images that initially drew me to his portfolio last year. What I can say is that with each shoot, you can feel the growth in Ray's confidence to push the boundaries of his creative impulses, bringing out more personality, more depth and more heat from the men in front of his camera.
You can both see, and feel the high intensity of heat in Ray's latest work with model Rex Cameron. Rex radiates a powerful sexual energy Ray beautifully captured especially though his use of pose and Ray's intensely seductive eyes. When Rex gives you 'the look', he doesn't make it easy for you to look away. Ray agree's about Rex's eyes and says that although viewers may be drawn initially to those rippling muscles, one cannot ignore his captivating eyes. Ray and Rex got together to shoot while Rex was paying a recent visit to Chicago. Ray set up shoots in both his hotel as well as in studio.
'Hotel rooms are so many things to so many people: a home away from home for a business traveler, a place to sleep for an urban adventurer, a private space for a secret rendezvous. My goal was to capture the later in my work with Rex. It was a real collaborative effort, both of us playing off each others ideas and suggestions.'
Ray says Rex works hard on his physique and enjoys showing off the results. 'He's proud of his looks, but not egotistical. He also knows his body and knows how to position it so the viewer can fully appreciate all of his hard work'. This made shooting nudes a breeze and when he was figuring out how best to shoot him, Ray says it all came down to the black and the white.
Ray loves shooting models in front of a saturated white background, and with Rex, the white allowed his personality take center stage. Shooting him against a black background was also an obvious choice. 'His amazing physique was accentuated by the strong key light created by the 18-inch beauty dish.' Ray's creative choices clearly paid off and both photographer and model were thrilled with the results.
'I saw Ray's work and adored not only its composition, but the way he uses light and shadow to highlight the male form. I also liked the masculinity he showcased in each of his images. He shows a strong male form and his work took my breath away.'
Rex has been modeling for over 10 years and has worked with many established photographers including his work with Mark Henderson and has been featured in magazines including DNA. Rex likes to work with established photographers with a vision. It is important to him that the projects he takes on are not only professional but artistic. Rex knew that after seeing Ray's work, he was an artist he wanted to work with.
'Ray was a blast! Not only did we create beautiful, masculine, artistic, images, but the entire shoot was just a lot of fun! He communicates with his models and leaves the atmosphere light and breezy which made me feel beyond comfortable. I was free to be creative and in turn was free to take risks. Nudes can be intimidating, but I was so comfortable with Ray.....the focus was always about creating strong masculine male nudes and I'm so proud of the art we created!'