'I try not to let my inhibitions and boundaries get in the way of me shooting someone. If they have a fantasy and want to explore it with me, then I would be open to it. Pushing boundaries and limits help us grow, right?'
Last month, I featured the first of two parts of my feature, and interview with photographer Charles Archer. (The Documentarian Part 1) In part 2, the Florida photographer shares stories of regret, boundaries and negotiating the subject of erections. I also got to choose images of some of my favorite models Charles has shot. You'll recognize a couple, including FH Favorite Samuel, featured beautifully wet the first 5 images.
Have you ever had a model take off their clothes and regretted asking them to pose? If so why?
'Yes. I've had this happen a couple of times. One instance that comes to mind is when I was working in Falls Church, VA. I was shooting in the hotel I was staying at (imagine that me photographing someone in a hotel) and the model arrived. He seemed ok at first. However, after we got into the shoot, I could tell he was on something. He was acting pretty strange. So after about an hour, I stopped the shoot and said "Thanks, I have what I need."
'It was a shame because he had such an interesting look and a great build. I go through a process of selecting models that usually helps me weed out individuals that I think could be bad news. This was a case that my instincts didn't work as they should have. And maybe the first time I interviewed him, he was sober. I don't know. But either way, I regretted doing the shoot - initially. When I visited the images a month or two after the shoot, I discovered that I had captured some great body shots which I can use on my blog and Instagram.'
Speaking of regret, curious if you have had to deal with model regrets? A model who after posing, or the next day don't want you to publish/show their images?
'Yes this happens more often than most realize. I could be a dick about it and say, "You signed a release" or "I paid you for your time". But I'm not like that. I had one model who I lost contact with several years after I did the shoot of him. We reconnected and he asked about his photos. I told him that I had put them on my Flickr page. I gave him the link and eventually, he asked me to take them down. So I did. I want people to feel good about the photos we create together. If they are not then I won't feel good about showing them. I respect their decision and honor their wishes. If they ask me not to show their face in the photos, I won't do that. This is also how I get the same models to shoot with me more than once.'
What is the strangest story a model has shared during a shoot?
'I hear all sorts of stories from the models I photograph. Some are rather interesting. Some make me think, "why would you get yourself into that situation?" I don't know if this is strange or not but after I finished a shoot one time, the model confessed to me that he had just been released from prison. I was a bit nervous at first, but who am I to judge. He was honest enough to share that with me. And he obviously trusted me with that information so I felt a connection with him. I wouldn't mind shooting him again but he disappeared on me.'
Have you ever had a odd/strange/funny experience with a hotel employee or house guest?
'I sometimes shoot at some of the clothing optional guest houses in the Fort Lauderdale area. They are use to having nude men running around and the properties are beautiful which make for a wonderful backdrop to any photo session. Interesting things can happen in these settings such as the guests asking if they could fluff the model, etc. I had a model fly in one July to work with me. We had shot at the nude beach and in my home studio. We decided to shoot at outdoors at the guest house and it was going well.'
'I photographed him in the pool and in some of the gardens. One guest insisted that I do a photo of the model with him and I did. We moved to another pool on the property to shoot at when I noticed we were drawing a larger audience. Some of the guests were leaning out over the balcony to snap pics of the model with their cell phone! One guest was leaning out so far that I thought he was going to fall over the railing of the balcony. The model didn't seem to mind but when you are shooting a hot naked man outside in a public setting you are bound to get an audience. You have to go with the flow and adjust the session accordingly.'
How much discussion about do's and don't go on during shoots? Do you plan and ask for erection shots, or do most just occur naturally during the shoots?
'I spend a great deal of time discussing what is going to happen during the shoot. It's a part of my process. Not only do I do it over the phone and via text messages, I follow up with an email. It's a shoot confirmation that outlines what we are going to shoot when and where and how long the shoot will probably last. In that email, I include "modeling" tips that I have captured over the years as a way to help the model prepare for the shoot. if we are doing an erotic shoot, I explain to the model that he will be asked to get hard during the photo session.'
'This gives the model time to think about the shoot himself. If the model doesn't want do so something specifically, I want to know about it before we begin the shoot. This process is about setting exceptions for us both so that no one is disappointed. I ask everyone I photograph to provide proof of age and sign a release form. In the release form we can include any other stipulations like "no face", "no but hole", etc. It documents the process and makes it legitimate.'
'Furthermore, I encourage collaboration during a shoot. When a model and I work off each other and try different things I know we are going to make some great images. I hope that everyone I work with brings something to the shoot. It gets boring if I am the one who is always directing and thinking of things to shoot.'
You're images seem limitless, do you have a limit or boundary on something you're not interested in shooting?
'I won't shoot anyone under the age of 18. I've had a few 17 year olds approach me on Grindr to shoot them but I just will not do it. I tell them to come back when they are 18 and have proof of their age! Boundaries are interesting because we all need them. However, I try not to let my inhibitions (limits/boundaries) get in the way of me shooting someone. If they have a fantasy and want to explore it with me, then I would be open to it. Pushing boundaries and limits help us grow, right? '