Last year, when profiling model Stefan Scheenstra, (FaVorite FiVE) I featured a couple of shots of Stefan captured by photographer Philip Riches for the reality show The Face. I have not seen The Face, but after seeing The Bodies, thought you might enjoy a taste of the show in the video below.
After the swim meet has ended, the adrenaline flows....
When I was in Jr High, swimming was a twice weekly part of my life. During the school year, we bused into the city to go to the inside public pool, in the summer I spent many days at the outdoor pool at the boat club. As a young teen coming to terms with his sexuality, the swimming pool locker room brought on conflicting emotions. Waves of both excitement and fear gushed through my body at the prospect of entering the locker room after a swim.
It was exciting of course to be in a room where classmates, friends and strangers were stripping naked all around me. It was also terrifying at times, thinking about where to look, how much to look and most of all, not look....like I was looking. My only real view of the naked male form at the time, other than my own, was the odd issue of Playgirl magazine that I get my hands on. But those bodies were adults, and perfect. It was in those pool's locker room and showers where I first saw bodies and body parts of different shapes, sizes and colors. The locker room wasn't just a place to change or shower, but for many of us, it was a place to learn.
I am not sure what I would have done if I encountered someone as breathtaking as model Drew Bacchae in that locker room, but thanks to Photos by BIRON, I get to imagine. Biron's work first appeared on FH back in 2011, (Content Warning) and some of you might remember Drew from a piece from 2014. (Fluidity & Grace) Drew has a beautifully direct and open way of presenting his body and sensuality which parallels beautifully with the Biron's honest and unapologetic stye of capturing the male form.
Biron has captured over 150 images of Drew in the restricted area, but welcomes everyone to come in and enjoy them. Drew invites viewers to enjoy both his body, and his time in locker room and his eyes and facial expressions indicate he enjoys, being enjoyed. Biron has compiled those 150+ images in a digital flip book on his site, that is free to all who enjoy his work, and all who would enjoy encountering Drew in the restricted area. Check out all of the book HERE:
Over the last couple of years I have found more and more artists who as part of their art, do self portraits. One of the first was DirtRoad, a FH favorite who models for other photographers as well as for his own visual creations. My post earlier this month on model and self portrait artist Jacob Dillon had me heading back to the work of photographer and model Saki and his sensually infused self portraits.
I first featured Saki in 2015 with a focus on his work both in front of, and behind the camera shooting both other models as well as himself. I went on to feature Saki again last year with some of my favorite of his more recent self portraits. Selfies are now common, and the term, and the practice, is more often an act of vanity rather than art. Not that selfies can't be artistic, but to me art is in part about intent. There is a different feel and intent with self portraits.
There is a surprisingly lack of vanity in the images of most of the artists who do self portraits. Saki shared the first time I profiled him, that he didn't turn the camera on himself to promote his modeling or his look, but more as a way to work on his art at times he wasn't able to find a model to shoot. The creating process with self portraits however, can become a bit of a compulsion, shooting more and more to see how far you can push yourself creatively as an artist.
This can be especially rewarding when exploring a passion which often depends so much on how your perceived and accepted by others. There are many photographers looking to shoot, and pay hot 19 year old models who are willing to take off all of their clothes. But if you're not 19 or not physically perfect, you may find it harder to find others to collaborate with. Even if you are 19, interest can wain the more you shoot and share.
There is a beautiful intimacy with self portraits that isn't always possible with the addition of a second person. It mirrors the same intimacy we often have when alone, without any concern with how another may feel or react to seeing, and being with us. The feelings are not so much selfish, but freeing, being able to express our desires in a both a safe, and creative way. The risk then becomes not the image taking, but the image sharing, and the reactions from others. When I recently returned to Saki's portfolio, I found he had a brand new site to share his beautiful self portraits and my reaction, was the desire to share more of my favorites.