As part of FH's 2017 first theme, I am asking, (bugging) many of my favorite photographers about their first time shooting a nude model. It is always interesting to ask models about taking it off for the first time, but I am equally fascinated about the experience of the photographer. Were they nervous, excited or completely calm? Were there questions or concerns about the location, or how to approach a model about an idea or concept. What poses, lighting issues or technical concerns might come up during the shoot. How did they choose the model in question and how would they ensure they were on the same page creatively and with expectations. The first artist who took the FHfirst challenge was Gordon Nebeker who sent back his story, and his images, from his shoot with Calisto. Thank you Gordon!
'I really don’t remember being very nervous about it (I had been a student in several nude figure drawing classes before) but I am sure I must have been a little nervous . Whatever nerves I had must have quickly gone away because I remember being concerned that Calisto might be uncomfortable but he really wasn’t. It was all very professional and I remember feeling good about that.'
'My shoot with Calisto back in March, 2009. It was implied (at his request, but I have never held that against him!). Some of these images are still among my most favorite and I learned so much about lighting and post processing from this experience. I had some bad shadows in one or two of the photographs which an on-line photographer buddy taught me how to fix in post. I have never been a PhotoShop user, preferring to use Apple's Aperture which I use to this day, although Apple has stopped supporting it and one day I will be forced to change post processing programs. It was also at this time that I started using the Nic Software plug-ins and I still think their black and white conversion options are among the best out there. I took all of these in color but I think the black and white versions look the best. Calisto was wonderful to work with. Very professional (he had done some fashion modeling) and he had a great sense of humor. We remain FaceBook friends to this day. We did the shoot in Florida where he was working at the time but he soon moved to Atlanta where he has become a very successful hair stylist and fashion entrepreneur. The first book I ever made of my photographs was created from the photos we took during his shoot.'
So, given that I have made 'firsts' a theme for 2017, it seemed appropriate that I start the year off with a true first, photographer Brett Kiellerop's images of Gerry. There are many 'first's associated with Brett's of Gerry, the main one being it is was Gerry's very first time as a model and shooting with a professional photographer. There are also a couple of other firsts, with both emotional and familial connections.
As some of you may remember from my previous posts featuring Brett's work, the Wellington photographer had struggled the past few year in continuing his passion for photographing the male form after suffering a vision loss that dramatically reduced his ability to see. But... after a successful surgery last year, Brett's eyesight is pretty much back to normal. This had the visual artist excited to purchase new camera equipment and get quickly back into the studio.
One of the first models to Brett captured when he resumed shooting was Gerry. Brett and Gerry didn't connect on Model Mayhem, Gerry didn't have a MM page yet. He had no images anywhere on the net except selfies and family photos. But... the Queensland mechanic had always wanted to give modeling a try, dip his toe into the water and maybe supplement his his income a little. Gerry didn't have to look far to find a photographer to assist him with his goal.
Gerry was familiar with both Brett and his work. In fact, they are going to to soon be 'officially' connected as Gerry is engaged to Brett's Goddaughter. Given the relationship, there weren't going to be any nudes or overly sexualized images. The goal for both Gerry and Brett, as well as Brett's husband David, who also assisted, and worked on a video diary of the shoot, was much more straightforward.
'The goal of the shoot was simply to end up with enough decent photos for Gerry to create a Model Mayhem profile... a goal I think we knocked out of the park. The photo shoot was quite impromptu, with a rough set up and very amateurish flow, but we had a blast. Gerry suffered the usual first-time model insecurities... am I good looking enough, will my friends laugh at me, etc... hopefully these photos allayed his fears. He has personality by the truckload, but his biggest asset are his eyes.'
Gerry's blue eyes are stunning, but he also has great facial structure and love how his nose and jawline photograph. Gerry also has a great body and looks incredibly comfortable showing it off in front of the lens, in part I'm sure, due to the trust he has in both Brett and David. But, if you check out the behind the scenes post below, Gerry's enjoyment of the process is contagious to the viewer. I also have to say I find Gerry's rosy cheeks (his face!) both completely adorable and hot! Rosy cheeks occur with many of us, especially in situations that are new and maybe a bit risky. This is especially true if taking off most of your clothes is a part of that new experience!
If you want to see more of Gerry's work Brett, his new Model Mayhem page is up and ready HERE:
So....now that you've read the story of how Gerry came to step in front of Brett's lens for shoot, and seen the visual results, it's time to get another perspective...Gerry's. Given his connection to Brett and David, and that it was his first ever time modeling, I threw Gerry a few questions about what that first time was like. Questions about how he felt before and during the shoot, and after seeing the final images. How or if it, impacted how he see's himself physically and what, if any, were his boundaries for the shoot.
'With the subject of modelling, I had thought about doing something for a while but I just wasn't sure how to get my foot in the door or even knew of a place to start. I had met Brett through my fiance, and had known him for a while before I approached him, as I had seen some of his previous work and liked the style of photos that he took. I was lacking confidence in my body image, so originally I had the idea that the photo shoot could possibly help my self esteem, that and I was/still am looking for a career change. It was originally an optimistic outlook but the first shoot gave me a goal to reach for, so I restarted my training at the gym and went all out to put on as much muscle as I could beforehand.'
'We originally didn't set a date for the shoot, we usually would catch up once a week for coffee and brunch, mainly just to chat and talk over the working week and potential ideas for the shoot. It didn't take long before the idea of a photo shoot seemed quite normal, so one day, we just set up the set and snapped some photos. Originally there were the usual issues, like trying to find the right pose, getting the lighting right etc. But after a few photos were taken, I started to get into a rhythm. Then everything seemed easier.'
'Even when we did the shirtless photos, it all seemed to fall into place. The behind the scenes photos from the first shoot you saw, I was doing an interview with David, about what it was like starting into modelling, and that was a bit of fun. The original boundaries I set was no full frontal photos, mainly due to the fact that Brett and David are my fiance's godparents, however, Brett did say that he doesn't look at the photos he takes in a sexual manner, just as art, but we ended up setting that underwear would be the boundary to start with.'
'The second shoot we did went well. I just found it easier to see the kind of look Brett was going for, so it was much easier to get into the flow of things. Plus, all the photos were being taken in front of stacks of people, but I didn't feel self conscious at all, I just felt..... great. Then there was the highly anticipated underwear shoot... Wow, I had NEVER felt so self conscious to start. Right up to when I dropped my pants I didn't have any nerves, as soon as I was in front of the camera, I got them in a big hurry. But as usual, after the first few photos were taken, I started to feel normal again, and thought it was the best time to have fun with it, and I think that can be seen in some of the BTS photos. I actually had a lot of fun with that shoot, and it made me realize that it doesn't all have to be serious.'
'I hope to be modelling some more in the future, I'm just not sure what yet. But I definitely want to work with Brett again, because we know eachother, and its just so much easier to have a good time and a good shoot when the model and photographer can take the piss out of each other. Hopefully, with a little more exposure, I can start to build up a diverse portfolio and appeal to more photographers, but I guess we'll just wait and see. In the new year I plan on approaching more people, just to see what it's like. As far as dream scenarios for a shoot? I'm not too sure yet. I've got a few ideas swirling around at the moment, all a little bit cheeky and outrageous, but just that little bit sexy. I think I know the photographer that can make that happen too...'