Thursday, August 31, 2017

Before, During & After: Robbie by Studio1x

'We discussed the vision and I supported Robbie to move as he has been trained. This allowed us to capture the shots that we did.'

Even before Jim confirmed it, it was clear to me Robbie was a dancer. His long, lean frame creates such beautiful curves and lines, precise and elegantly natural. With some models, you can see the effort put into creating a quiet moment, but Robbie's poses seem instinctual. It is as if Robbie is standing in front of an invisible barre, doing the the warm up moves a dancer must do habitually to warm up and stretch.

I love the quiet beauty that Jim captured in this series. Although dance is rooted in energy and movement, these captured moments feel like those quiet times in between, when a dancer is alone with his thoughts, and his body. I often write when I am featuring a dancer, how they have the most fine tuned connection between their mind and body. Robbie confirms this theory, especially with the flow between his body body movements, his facial expressions, and the way his eyes create such a beautiful nexus between himself, Jim's camera and viewer.

I was introduced to Jim's work through photographer Daniel Allen. Both are from the Pacific North West, and have done several shoots together. When I recently contacted Daniel about one of his images I liked, he responded by suggesting I check out Jim's portfolio on Instagram. I shot a few names of models whose images I liked, but Jim had just finished his second shoot with Robbie the previous weekend and suggested that I take a look.

Jim shares that he's always had a camera and considered himself a photographer, but that it was only two years ago that he started taking his hobby seriously. Jim's decision to focus on the male form had a rather interesting beginning. Jim was actually going to pose nude himself, for a fundraiser, a charity calendar for breast cancer awareness. As he thought about the shoot, Jim began thinking how beautifully the male body could be photographed in such creative and artistic ways, and was eager to give it a try and bring his ideas to a shoot.

Jim's focus is on the creation of art, and although some assume any images of the nude male body are porn, Jim keeps it professional. Even when the vision may sound weird or funny when said out loud, the outcome is worth it. Jim encourages his models to relax and have fun, and he finds the best way to support this is through trust. If at any time they are feeling uncomfortable with pose or idea, Jim encourages them to let him know so he can change direction to ensure they are as satisfied creatively as he is with the process.

Even with a professional focus, deciding to shoot the naked male form doesn't always mean it's easy to find models when you're just starting out. Jim's first experience with nude shoot required finding a volunteer, and his model ended up being a male senior citizen with a multitude of health issues which made being able to follow through on his vision a challenge. Practice makes perfect however, and that first shoot began a journey and looking back, Jim can see visually how far his photography has come since shooting his first nude model.

'Every time when I shoot a model nude, it is a new experience. I always make sure that we have spoken in length, over a period of time, to build a connection and ensure that we have discussed all topics and any of his concerns. This builds the trust between the photographer and model and if all topics have been discussed prior, if anything does pop up during the shoot, we have already discussed that sometimes happens and we keep shooting. In shooting this type of art, the model is opening up their vulnerability and exposing themselves in a way that most males are not accustom too. I find that if I have not spoken to the model and built a connection with them, the finished product is not as visually pleasing.'

As stated, this studio shoot is the second time Jim has shot Robbie. After Robbie inquired about working together, they connected for the first shoot outdoors. The focus was on Robbie's love of dance and Jim wanted wanted to capture his body movements in a variety of surroundings. For their second shoot, Jim wanted to head into the studio.

'For the studio shoot, I wanted to focus on light, and how it plays off of Robbie's dancer build. We were able to create some wonderful shots using light and shadows. He is a very easy going model, that is very comfortable with his body and knows how to move with very little direction.'

Jim sent on almost 200 shots from his shoot with Robbie and it was difficult (fun) task narrowing down my favorites. Many of the images were black and white, but I ended up choosing the color shots as I found them much more dramatic, especially the dark background, and how the light and shadow cascade over Robbie's skin. Speaking of skin, some of you might have wondered if Jim ever ended up posing naked for that charity calendar...

Sadly the answer is no, (or I would have asked to include a shot) but Jim did shed his clothes for a shoot with another photographer. Jim swears these images have been locked away in a vault, location unknown, but the experience did help him understand what a model goes through. I especially loved that Jim shared that it helped him to get a glimpse into what they must be feeling, before, during and after the shoot. In may ways the 'before, during and after' is what I strive to provide each time I profile an artist or shoot on FH.

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