With shark week over, Sharknado airing this week and all the coverage of Mick Fanning's close encounter, this piece has been months in the making. I first saw Mick on TV about two years ago and intimately did some research and saved a few images for a future post. I slowly began more images of my favorite surfers in to the folder. Like so many posts I begin however, it stalled, and was moved to the ' future story idea's folder.
After seeing all the coverage of Mick last week, I brought this story idea back on to my desktop. I decided to wait a few days and let some of the coverage die down just a bit before putting together a post. That shark might not have aware of the television cameras, nor how much attention it's attempt at a snack brought to Fanning, and all who ride the board, but wherever it is swimming, we can thank that shark for inspiring the timing of today's salute to some of my favorite surfers.
Surfer turned For Model Danny Fuller
John John Florence
And my favorite, (and at one time Taylor Swift's favorite as well) John John Florence
Although those muscles are undeniably impressive, 27 year old Mike Vona is more than just skin and muscle, and as always, photographer Stephen Kahrs knows how to beautifully capture the entire package. Not all photographers who shoot fitness, know how to blend personality and emotion into their imagery. Sometimes the images look more suited to an anatomy text book than they do art, especially when the focus is solely on a pumped up physique.
Stephen is one of my favorite capturers of the male physique because of his systemic visuals of the models he shoots. As spectacular as Mike's body is, especially his arms and chest, it was his face that had me contacting Stephen about featuring their work together. Mike's nose, mouth and brown eyes create a unique look when photographed, especially in some of the profile shots that Stephen Captured.
'Mike's a fun, yet intelligent young man, who was quick with a joke, or a laugh, yet he gives it everything he's got to create a great image. When I shot with him the first time, he was a newbie for sure. We started out shooting with the typical ho-hum slacks and dress shirt. I think he may have only brought one pair of pants and a shirt honestly. After about 15 minutes he literally felt that he needed to focus on fitness while he was in my studio.'
'After stripping down to his underwear, we shot for about 20 minutes then the shoot really came around and we were getting some really nice images. With every move his body evokes a masculine essence. It took a little bit to convince him to don the black pvc shorts, but they really gave some of the images an erotic feel and after much joking about it, There was good reason to because those shorts were extra tight on him! I know that he was glad he decided to be bold and wear them.'
Since this shoot, Mike has been busy living and travelling between Boston and New York working with some of the industries best photographers. When corresponding about the piece for FH, Mike and Stephen decided it was time for a second shoot. I look forward to the results!