Monday, September 18, 2017

Comfortable in his Skin: Jon by MW Photo MD

'I'm not really able to just walk up to people on the street and say "Hey, I like your look, would you pose for me?" I've tried that a couple of times and so far it hasn't worked to my favor, though most people seem to like being complemented.'

I tend to be little shy myself, rather quiet and reserved when interacting with others, especially those I don't know that well. Once bitten, twice shy is a saying I relate to, but I try hard to push myself, and my boundaries, in both my personal and professional life. I have often wondered though if my shyness might be a reason I didn't pursue photography more seriously. I shot a few friends and family members when I was in my 20's, as well as a few weddings, and more than a few furry four legged models. Shooting a naked model however, seemed at the time, way beyond my comfort.

Therefore, I often assumed that most photographers must be outgoing and confident individuals, people who take charge of their work and their shoots. I learned early on working on FH that not all models, even many who take off all their clothes, struggle with self confidence. I am learning more and more that most everyone struggles with confidence from time to time, and with varying degree's. The difference seems to be how people handle it. Some let it define them, stopping them from achieving their goals. Others find it challenging, but shy towards, not away from obstacles that get in their way, especially when pursuing a passion they love.

So what happens when a shy photographer and a quiet and reserved model get together? They push past the apprehensions, and create a hot series of images! The first time I featured the work of MW Photo MD's Mark, it was with the up and coming, then 18 year old model Andrew. (Put into Practice) Mark had just began shooting professionally, and had taken time to work and learn along side another photographer from the area, Images Male. I featured their work together in a great series of images the following month. (Air Pressure) Aware of his shyness, and the challenges of meeting new people, Mark, tries to build the level of comfortably, for both he and the model he is shooting, long before the day of the shoot.

'When I come across a models pics that I like and I see that they have indicated that they shoot nudes, I will ask for their definition as to what that means for them. I define that in advance with them to their comfort level as I do not want to imply or pressure anyone as that would not be a great shoot for either of us and I want the model to trust me as well as I want to trust them. For example some models I've talked to will shoot nude as far as showing their butt and nothing else or maybe implied nudity while others will do full frontal nudity and others might take that farther and show more but maybe covered to some extent.'

Mark first connected with 21 year old Jon via Model Mayhem. Mark had seen images of the Pennsylvania model with photographer JSmith Photo, and really liked a particular Christmas themed image of Jon wearing next to nothing but a red furry Santa hat. Mark says he and Jon connected well and talked several times on the phone, working through most of the questions that each of them had well in advance. Mark is aware that that often the best images are the ones that let the viewer use their imagination a little bit. Therefore, although he shoots full nudes, he also tries to spend time with each shoot also shooting a wide variety of clothed, underwear, implied shots as well.

As the shoot began, their previous communications helped both Mark and on to get quickly into a groove. Mark knew that Jon was an active skateboarder, so he asked him to bring it along. He also asked him to bring on a few outfits, from dressy to casual. Jon came prepared with an entire suitcase full of underwear, shirts and pants and they had fun deciding what looks to begin with. One of my favorite looks is Jon in the striped shirt and glasses, which were some of the first images that they captured.

'I have a lot of favorites, the one with Jon standing behind the chair, the teasers on the couch with the ball cap, the ones with the white cloth around his neck and his waist, the skateboard shots.'

Mark usually schedules about two hours per shoot, due to the studio time, but when possible, will extend the time if the shoot is flowing and he the model he is shooting have clicked creatively. One of the worst things, is to have to end a shoot when both model and photographer have creatively connected. Mark likes to 'go with the flow' and values the ideas and input from the model he is working with. A stated, this happened pretty quickly with Mark and Jon, and about 30 minutes in, they had moved to full nudes, including some of the more sultry and erotic images of Jon on the couch. Mark is hoping to schedule another shoot with Jon as early as month, so stay tuned!

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