I have written before how much I love how straightforward, and honest photographer Tom Willard's philosophy on shooing the male form. 'My approach to male nude photography is to be blunt and basic. Here's the guy, here's what he looks like without his clothes on.' The reality is, it is that same motivation that drives those who enjoy images of the male form. I have often been perplexed at photographers who talk about shooting nudes as if they are shooting baby goats or rose bushes. Yes, of course the images and concepts can be creative, and yes, many are artistic, but it is our voyeuristic desire to see what's under their t-shirt and jeans that fuels the popularity of this genre of photography.
Some photographers however, fool themselves into thinking audiences only want to see what underneath the clothing of the stereotypically beautiful people. The tall and handsome, the thin the fit and of course the young. Although there is without a doubt an audience of people who only enjoy only seeing those they consider 'beautiful' without their clothes, I have learned that there are even more people wanting to see a bit more.
I get the most feedback from blog readers when I feature a guy who may not be typically considered a 'model type'. Guys with unique faces and features and guys not as thin or fit as most other men featured on sites and blog. I think I get the most e-mails when I feature men over a certain age, men who are not represented on most sites that celebrate the male form. Now, I of course love a great looking man, but I have also learned that my definition of who and what is great looking is fluid and constantly changing.
Scot might not be seen wearing a suit jacket or pea coat on the cover of GQ, but then again, covering his body with clothing would be missing the point. When I was recently going through Tom's portfolio, in search of another subject to feature, Tom's work with Scot were at the top of my list. I loved the roof top location and Scot's unique look. Artsy and creative, natural, a little scruffy and incredibly sexy. Scot looks like the kind of guy who might hang around his apartment, playing video games or watching tv completely naked, not giving a shit that you couldn't stop staring. This was confirmed by Tom's comment about the attitude Scot expressed during their shoot.
'I loved the roof-top set up and the shot below is one my favorites. Very brash and bold, as if Scot is thinking, 'Sure, go ahead and look at my privates if you want, I don't care, I know I have nice stuff.'
It was about 10 years ago when Tom headed to his roof-top in Rochester, NY to shoot Scot. At the time, Tom was living in a loft apartment with a view of Kodak headquarters out of his office window. The roof top was private with many interesting spots and corners to shoot. Tom was still shooting with film at the time, and shares that his budget made him stingy with the shutter-clicking.
It's hard to believe, for example, that I took only one picture where's he's standing on a cinder block facing a wall. It's like we both felt, "Okay, we got that, now let's do something else." I love the way his shoes look in this shot, it pre-dates the Ellen logo but looks a lot like it.
'Scot came up with poses I would never think to request. At one point, he was sitting down on the backdrop and leaned all the way forward. I saw what he was doing and I got right down there with him at eye level and close to his face. That ended up being one of my favorite shots, and not the kind of thing you go into a shoot planning to get.'
'I was also lucky that the building had a private roof with several interesting spots. It looked like an outdoor urban environment when actually there was no one around. The shot where he's walking toward the camera wearing only sneakers is one of the ideas that came from me. At the time there was a guy making news for going around his college campus naked and that's the kind of feel I was aiming for in this picture.'
Tom shares that at some point during his two-year tenancy his landloard stopped letting people go up on the roof. Tom thinks it may have had something to do with people heading up there to party, leaving trash and spreading graffiti along the walls. He hopes... that it had nothing to do with a certain photographer who used to head up there with a camera, and the many naked men he brought along to shoot.