'As a model, joining an adventure like this requires a leap of faith to some degree. They don't know their fellow models, or the three photographers, but they are signing on for four days in the middle of nowhere, and they're going to be naked a lot of the time. Thankfully Jacob, Patrick & Nathan all took that leap, trusting in our vision. We couldn't have asked for a better team and I am awed by them!'
Although we're often taught man's strongest bonds are with one another, our primordial connection occurs with our surroundings. From our first breath upon entering the earth, to our last resting place, our connection with land, sky, water and air, sustains us through out our lives. In yesterday's piece, I focused on the nexus between photographer and subject and today, the focus is the link between model/photographer and their environment.
This connection, between man and environment, is one of the reasons I find the work of Studio MG photography so powerful. Whether an old abandoned warehouse, a mattress in a long forgotten bedroom, or the natural wonders of Lake Powell, Mark always taps into the beauty and magic of the location he is capturing. Mark does this in so many ways, starting with finding the perfect crevices, nooks and crannies in rocks and structures which led themselves perfectly for the male form to pose and inhabit. Mark also encourages his models to interact, grab and touch the surfaces they are posing on/with, deepening the connections that come through in his imagery.
By now many of our friends have stopped asking "why Utah?" when I announce that Mike and I are returning again this year. If they've seen the past photos they know the answer. If they are photographers they ask if they can come along. Otherwise if someone does ask I tell them how the landscapes of Utah are oversized and oversaturated and around every corner there are wonderful surprises awaiting discovery. Add to that mix the great looking guys we bring along and it is a recipe for an amazing photographic adventure like no other!
Another surprise about Utah, for me anyway, is the people. Nearly everyone is exaggeratedly friendly. The state is conservative to be sure, but I have never felt any prejudice or discrimination at all. Even checking into a hotel and requesting one bed for Mike and I has failed to raise an eyebrow. But it is hard to buy alcohol! With Lake Powell straddling the line between Arizona and Utah I made sure we could get wine and beer at the grocery store before heading out on the houseboat for 4 days!
'I had heard about Lake Powell for years, and seen amazing landscape images. I wasn't prepared for the immensity of the lake however - it is over 160 miles long! Those 160+ miles follow a circuitous route of twists and turns through steep canyons and past sculpted buttes. Even though there are several marinas and lots of houseboats and speedboats on the lake, the size keeps it from feeling crowded. In other words it was no problem finding out-of-the-way places where we could work with the models and have little fear of prying eyes!'
'The colors of the surrounding sandstone range from tans to browns, umber, orange and reds. The colors are anything but static, shifting with the sun and clouds. It is beautiful beyond words! Usually the rock colors and shapes make a great backdrop, but you have to be careful because occasionally if the tones are just right the model might almost disappear against the rocks - it's like photographing a chameleon suddenly!'
'I’m a firm believer that a picture is worth a thousand words, generally preferring to let my imagery tell the story. That said I can't fail to give credit to Mike and Gordon - my fellow-photographs, and our three outstanding models; Jacob, Patrick & Nathan. Nathan kept us entertained as he danced and sang his way across the lake. He was also the master of show quotes and one liners. Somewhere along the way he nicknamed Jacob, or at least Jacob's dick, the Bismarck (as in "send in the Bismarck" if he thought the "biggest" guy should be in the front of a photo). When they weren't modeling you might find the guys digging holes in the sand to anchor the houseboat, tending an evening bonfire, or lifting weights (or a wine glass) on the top deck.'
'Gordon, Mike and I area already talking about Utah in the fall of 2017... where should be go next? We've explored many areas the last few years, yet there is also so much more to see. Even with Lake Powell we saw just a small slice of what is there. Any models reading this interested in joining us?'