In the decade that I have been working on FH, Between Two Oceans remains one of the most memorable photo essay's I have had the pleasure to feature. The 2012 piece featured photographer Eckhard from male2male, and his breathtaking images of Ric. The shoot took place on a nude beach in the northern part of Germany, right between two 'oceans', the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
I love the shoot for so many reasons, including Eckhard's brilliance at blending a visually impressive location with the nude male form. Eckhard didn't just shoot a naked Ric on a beach, the beach, as well as the sun, water and sand were all beautifully weaved into the essence of the images, and not just as convenient background. My favorite photographers capture their subjects not in, or in front of a location, but capture the interacting with it, enabling the viewer to feel the same heat of the sun, and coarseness of the sand as the model.
I recently found myself back to that piece, and back to Eckhard's port. This time, it was his images of Aaron Mark that grabbed my attention. Location certainly plays a role in many of Eckhard's images of Aaron, but Aaron is a performer and his talent shines through in every shot. Many models, not as skilled with inhabiting a role, sometimes take awhile to seamlessly interact with costumes, props and character. Aaron nails it every time with an intense sexual energy and attitude regardless of whether he's channeling a cop, a sailor or a guy on the hunt in his short shorts.
Eckhard has worked with Aaron many times over the last 15 years. When their collaboration began, Aaron was a student in Hamburg, Germany. At that time Eckhard recalls that digital wasn't on the market yet. So, some of the shown studio-images had been shot on film, with the developing, editing and printing done by Eckhard in his own lab. When digital came out, Eckhard switched to newer equipment, including APS-C and full frame cameras.
Most of the images of Aaron featured here, were taken after Eckhard switched to digital equipment. One of the big advantages with digital, is that Eckhard could show Aaron the images right away. Eckhard shares that Aaron is always anxious to see the results, and tends to be a little bit impatient when it comes to waiting for the results. No wonder, because he knows that when working with Eckhard, something great is going to emerge from every one of their shoots together.
One of the locations used in this set, was the basement of an old factory. Eckhard recalls that he decided spontaneously to give the location a try, despite it being a very dirty environment. In addition to all that the dirt, the lighting also wasn't great that day. Aaron was on board though, and posed in and on the garbage and dirt, completely naked, without complaint. 'Because it was so exciting he wanted to see the results after he had climbed out of that filthy basement. Thanks to digital I could show him - and he went right back down there, doing some more poses, many even more erotic than the ones we initially had planned.'
'The big advantage of a longtime collaboration is, that model and photographer know that they can trust each other, know what each of us has to offer and that the results are to the benefit of both. This is the basis on which Aaron and I worked together. Trustful and open-minded.'
After many years of working together in Germany, there was a pause in their collaborations. Eckhard had moved to Vancouver, and Aaron moved to Las Vegas. After about six years, both returned to Germany and the positive experiences of their past shoots was again revived. As you can see from these images, the connection was still as strong. Aaron's poses are exceptional, strong and directly erotic all superbly captured by Eckhard.
'It was always fun to work with Aaron as a model- and it still is. Aaron is handsome, gentle, open-minded, open for experiments and very disciplined. One of the many plus-sides of Aaron is, that he is always eager to keep his body in shape.'