When I first featured the work of Sergei K last year (Undoubtedly Sexual) the Michigan based photographer shared that he had only began to focus on the form for about a year. Although Sergei took his work very seriously, he was determined to also keep having a fun, a part of the process. These images of 25 year old Urtreen seem the embodiment of Sergei's philosophy.
Visually breathtaking, Sergei beautifully captures Urtreen's desert dance. Although 6' 0", and 170 lbs of muscle, Urtreen flies through the air with both strength, as well as lightness and grace. Sergei's career as a musician is clearly also at play, directing, and conducting the music that not only flows through each of the images, but as well, supports Urtreen with soaring so high above the sand and clay below him.
'It was a lot of fun finding the location, shooting in the dust storm worrying about my camera and lenses, just hanging out with Urtreen in the desert in 115 degrees waiting for the sunset and those magical shots... Good times!'
Last fall, I was pleased to introduce FH readers to model Michael MM and his work with photographer Robert Colgan. (Location, Location, Location) In that story, we saw a naked Michael climbing, posing and exploring some of Colgan's favorite locations to visit and photograph. Michael's work with Robert wasn't the first time however, that I had seen his work.
I had previously been sent these stunning studio shots from Chuck from ClearEye, a photographer I am always excited to feature. The images however, were slated for a pictorial in tMf #17, so we decided to wait until the issue was out. Patience is a virtue, and my love of Chuck's work, and my love of the use of windows within the photography of the male form blended beautifully in ClearEye's work with Michael.
Michael too is a lover of windows and natural life and praises Chuck's use of sunlight in bringing out color tones that simply can't be captured with strobes and flash. For Michael, whether it was by the windows, sitting in the room, or laying on the sofa, the ambient light worked beautifully for the shoot. Michael also says the odd passing cloud added a bit of dimension to the lighting, making a dramatic difference in some of the shots.
One of the things I love about the use of windows is the element of mystery that tugs at my curiosity. I always wonder what the model is looking at staring through the glass, and who is looking back or up at the model as they pose. Michael appeared to be looking down in a couple of the images, and it felt like he must be elevated a bit from those who might be passing by below. I couldn't help but wonder what it may have been like to be walking by, glancing up, and seeing Michael's naked body standing so gracefully on the other side of the glass. Final images are meant to be shared, the process of shooting can be a very private and intimate process and the voyeur in many of us, has us wishing for just a view of that second floor window. If you want to take a more in depth, and more intimate, look up at that window, check out more of Chuck's images of Michael on The OVER-FLOW HERE:
'Michael is so much fun to work with! He is full of enthusiasm and ideas and needs very little direction — he’s a natural. Also, he knows a great deal about photography. We shot together several times and for two of the shoots he brought his own camera and lenses. Several of our best images were done using the photography equipment he brought. He also helped edit some of the shots and taught me some techniques I didn’t know. Even though he’s fun-loving, he’s also quite a perfectionist and always willing to put in the extra time and effort to get the perfect shot.”
Geodesy:The scientific discipline that deals with the measurement and representation of the Earth (or any planet), including its gravitational field, in a three-dimensional time-varying space.
When I started working on today's piece, there was one image that I thought represented what is so special about the Utah shoot. If you scroll up and take another look at the image I used as pic of the day, I think you'll know what I mean. I spent about 10 minutes staring at the beauty and brilliance of Gordon Nebeker's image of Patrick laying on sand and stone.
The contrast of the lines of body and earth were memorizing, almost like one of those visual mind bender images that has you looking closely and deeply to see what mysteries might be hidden within. The lines and patterns, both on, and surrounding Patrick, were both wondrous and unique. I have always found Gordon's work to have a lyrical quality, and his work in Utah always is a visual concerto weaving together man, location and artistry.
It may be in part, Nathan's dance background, but in almost every image, you almost feel an orchestra booming in he background. In the image above, the hand and arm movements, especially Jacob's, seem to be posed as if hitting a final pose at the end of a dramatic, and beautifully naked ballet.
'Nathan is a happy soul! A classical ballet dancer by training (though equally good with modern dance), he always had an amusing story to tell and could beat any of us at movie or theater trivia questions. And boy could he pose!! He would fall naturally into some difficult position and we would be left with our mouths open (while taking photos) thinking, “how does he DO that!” While none of the models had met previous to our shoot, they got along pretty well and the Las Vegas slogan easily applies: “What happens on Lake Powell, STAYS on Lake Powell”
'Jacob was very quiet at first. I think he prefers to watch from the sidelines until he feels comfortable with what is happening. Perhaps that is because he was the youngest of the three models although he is experienced beyond his years. We teased him the first couple of days as he was always wrapped up in a towel or blanket when we were between shoot locations but he finally admitted that his next modeling job a day after we got back home required that he have no tan lines so it all made sense. Jacob is classically proportioned and was a handsome addition to our model group.'
Mike shooting Nathan
Mark capturing Jacob
Thanks to Gordon, Mark and Mike for supporting and trusting FH in presenting their Utah adventure. A special thanks to Gordon who pulled everything together to send it all on for the Thanksgiving weekend, especially given and his hectic schedule last week!
'Patrick is a “can do” guy. Whatever needs doing, he gets it done. From setting boat anchors to figuring out how to connect an iPod to the stereo system aboard the boat, Patrick figured out how to do it. He also has no issues with getting naked and loved our shoots out of doors. None of us were really ready to leave the lake when the time finally came to do so but I think Patrick was the most reluctant one to leave. '
I am not sure if it was my 'bugging' but in addition to the 'official images', Gordon, Mike and Mark also generously take, and send on 'behind the scenes' images each year. The official shots tell many stories, and the behind the scenes shots, beautifully show viewers how each story came together. They also give a glimpse into the relationships that form over 4 days of working and living together in close quarters.
The process shots, take viewers along for the journey and for this years adventure, much of the action happened not on sand or rock, but on the water. With three photographers and three models on board, there was more than one vessel required. In addition to the house boat, a speed boat was also used to for the shoot. Many of the images included in this years shoot, were taken with a model on land, and a photographer shooting from the water. Here are some of my favorite behind the scene shots from decks of the boats as they travel Lake Powell.
'I anticipated enjoying the photography and the boating, but was slightly concerned about being "trapped" in the tight confines of a houseboat with 3 guys I didn't know. I shouldn't have been worried - the three models were great!'
'While water levels on Lake Powell had been dropping for close to 20 years, the level started inching back up in 2015. Now there are a couple of well known places we couldn't see because they are underwater again! The level is still well below the high water line, and will be for years to come.'
'Lake Powell is an amazing place. Located on the boarder of Arizona and Utah and created by the Glen Canyon Dam in the Colorado River, Lake Powell is a museum of erosion. It winds its way between tall mountains and rock formations for over 160 miles. The best way to see the lake is on a houseboat where one stays each night and by smaller speedboats that allow you to get around much faster and into inlets where a larger boat would not fit. And that is what we did for four wonderful days.'
'I can honestly say I have never been anywhere more breathtaking. Words can not do justice to the shear beauty of the natural scenery. The colors in the sky were so vibrant and the earth-tones were so deep and vivid with the suns reflection off the water. We could also have not asked for better weather. We had even made jokes several times about the "Photography Gods" being on our side for all the right moments to capture those perfect shots we had been looking for. A great example was on the last day when we were trying to catch our last solo-photos. We had just returned to the house boat and were on our way to take the house and speed boats back to unload and say our goodbyes (until next time) and it started to cloud up and rain. That was the first time during the entire trip we had seen rain. It was almost as if they (the Photography Gods) were indicating the conclusion.'