Friday, April 29, 2016
The Push & the Pull: Damon by Nick S82
I have written a few times before about the Push, and the Pull. Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows the sensation very well. Cats often pull in a person's hand and skin with their front paws and claws, while at the same time, pushing that same hand away with their back legs.
I have experienced this sensation of being both pulled in, while at the same time, pushed away several times with artists, images and models. I don't think however, that I have ever felt it as strongly as with Nick S82's images of Damon. Nick's images are always raw. Real men, not photoshopped or overly edited, men whose life experiences, good, bad, tender and painful, are not covered, but celebrated and captured.
Raw isn't always easy. most of us have learned to cover our rawness, and it is not always comfortable to view, especially within photography. Sometimes the pain, as with Damon, is exposed literally all over his body. Through Damon's eyes, with his piercings, within his body art, Damon shares and expresses who he is. When I first discovered Nick's work I was drawn to the image at the top of this piece, the first image of Damon I experience, before he grew his hair out and dyed it blonde.
I was pulled in, but pulled away and moved quickly on to another model, and another set of images. I pushed off, I think initially turned off at first by all of the body piercings and tats. Over the next few month however, every time I returned to Nick's port, I was drawn back to Damon's folder. The more time I spent in there, the more time I spent not just looking, but studying every inch of Damon's body.
Damon's body is his canvas for his creative expression and I am not sure there has been a a set of images that had me looking quite so closely, and quite so often. The tat's, distracting at first, became a beautiful mystery I wanted to explore. Some of the most visible tats are dedicated to Damon's 'Mum' and an RIP to his Nan. Along the bottom of his back is the quote 'I will always fight'. There are also many faded quotes and words, tat's either not done professionally, or ones I can only guess were done by a friend.
With the faded tats, and the amounts, speak to someone who has lived a life of experiences well beyond Damon's 20 years of age. I am not sure there is a question that I could ask Damon that couldn't be somehow answered by looking somewhere on his body. Each time I was pulled back to his images, I had more questions, and more area's that I wanted to explore. Dispute the strong push, the pull of Damon's raw and unique beauty, ended up being far more powerful.
'Damon's Body Art is very personal to him, the cruder designs were actually self-tattooed when he was younger. It is interesting to see how it all evolves as he gets older. His more recent tattooed are more elaborate and artistic but still carry a deep personal meaning and significance for him.'
Nick describes Damon as a very complicated young man,. Although his raw exposure took strength, Nick also shares that Damon is very shy and not very confident about his body and his looks. Damon sees modelling as an opportunity to address some these issues and a way of boosting his self-confidence. 'Damon has an instinct for presenting himself quite well on camera though I think and is very playful and; open-minded once he is comfortable with the concepts being worked with.' If like me, you're feeling the pull, check out Nick's flickr page for 100's more of his images of Damon.