Friday, November 25, 2016
Nexus: Lake Powell by Mike Tossy
As I mentioned yesterday in my intro to the Lake Powell, one of my struggles with featuring the Utah adventure each year, is how best to present the artists, models and images from the shoot. This year, I am separating the shots by artist, highlighting the brilliance, similarities and contrasts of each of the three photographers, (Gordon Nebeker, Mike Tossy & Studio MG photography) and their individual artistic views of their time at, and on, Lake Powell.
I chose to begin with Mike Tossy's work for a very specific reason. I thought the first piece should also introduce each of the three models and Mike's view fit perfectly for that task. If you're a regular FH reader, you know Mike Tossy is one of my favorite photographers to feature, but some of you might not remember Mike was also at one time a model himself. (check out the last image HERE:)
Mike's images have a specific beauty and tone that speak to me. I also detect a respectful nexus between Mike and the subject he he covering. This is present not just in his work with models, but also seen, and felt in his images of wildlife, landscapes, whatever environment and natural beauty he is shooting. The connection is subtle, yet strong, allowing Mike to capture smaller moments of intimacy and adding a depth of beauty to each of his images.
Mike shooting Mark shooting Jacob
Connections were not reserved only for artist and subject, the models and photographers also bonded over their three days at Lake Powell. Finding the right models is always a challenge, models that fit, and can work together aesthetically, but hopefully... compatible personalities as well. Gordon, Mark and Mike relied heavily on photographer Jeff of ShutterClickPhx. Jeff helped select all three models for the 2015, and helped pull together the three models, Jacob, Patrick and Nathan, for this years shoot as well.
Two of the models, Patrick and Nathan, FH readers might remember from their previous posts on the site. Patrick appeared on FH back in 2012 in a piece featuring his work with Fotorebelxt Photography. (Snakes & Ladders) Nathan, appeared more recently, just last month with his work with J Gagnon. (Without Boundaries) Although I haven't featured Jacob before, it wasn't for lack of trying. I first noticed him in an incredible shot by ShutterClickPhx last April.
It always amazes me how many different poses, and how many different locations and looks are captured under the heat of the Utah sun. My favorite shots are generally when the three models are all together. There is something definitely spiritual about location, and timeless about the vast lands, mountains and rock. If you quickly scroll down to Mike's last shot below you'll see what I mean. Although the technology may be modern, there was something almost prehistoric about the look and feel as well. I couldn't help but think, when looking at the three men, water and sand, of the original version of Planet of the Apes that memorized me when I saw it on TV as a kid.
The shoot is all just sun, sand and naked men. In order to get the shots, light, and locations desired, there is also hard work required by both models and photographers. Every time you see a model perched perilously on a tall rock, there is a photographer at equal risk trying to get the perfect shot. Mike reports that all three guys pitched in and were real troopers. In addition, personalities and special skills came out as the shoot when on. 'Patrick turns out to have a real interest and knack for night photography and Nathan knows the songbook for every musical; even ones much much older than he is. ;-)'
'The best part of the shoot for me was seeing how well each of us models uniquely fit in with our environment by our individual body structures. Each of us models are built differently in height, shape, mass, flexibility, etc. and that against the varying terrain and background is what makes each shot so amazingly extraordinary.'
'The group from SLC would be late due to a missed flight. Mark and I ended up picking the houseboat first; we then left for Safeway to do a large shopping trip. While there, Jacob called from the marina. Poor Jacob, when we first met he could hardly keep his eyes open - he'd been up for 24 hours and was dead tired. All he wanted to do, poor guy, was sleep. But, no that wasn't the plan! I wanted him alert and perky and ready to help navigate the houseboat on the lake, while Mark took the speed boat back to pick up the late arrivals (Gordon, Patrick, and Nathan).'