Sunday, August 5, 2018
BedRock: Trent Odom by The Third Eye
'I was at a bar and had a bit to drink. These three guys were going to beat me up because I was talking to one of their girlfriends ( I talk to everyone). As much as I tried to reason with them they were hell bent on fighting me. I am only 5’4 so I knew they would probably kill me as they were big guys. As I said my prayers for the last time when a stranger who was observing this encounter came and stood in front of me and said they would have to fight him first if they wanted to get to me.They backed down. I have always been grateful and he is now my friend.'
Great images always impress me, but it's the stories behind their creation that motivate most of the features that I choose to write. Skilled photographers can easily take great shots of bodies, creative, erotic and powerful shots of the male form. My favorite artists capture not just body, but also mind and spirit, and some.... even a peek into a model's soul. Going below the surface, digging towards the to bedrock, capturing the core and the base of fundamental principles that form to make a person who they are.
In order to do so, the artist must look at their subject as more than just the sum of their body, and their body parts, but also have a third eye, with a desire to also capture who they are inside, and a curiosity to find out what it was that led them to be standing in front of their camera. The Third Eye's Richard doesn't actively search out models looking to create change, most of the men and women he shoots are just looking to create incredible images.
But... in certain cases, with certain models, a photo shoot can be cathartic, a transformative experience that through the shooting process, and when seeing the final images, causes them to see themselves different. Sometimes through the lens of another, one can see and accept pieces of themselves life and life experiences had previously kept hidden or blurred.
There is no better guide through this than Richard, a man who cares about capturing something beyond the surface, an artist who not only looks to connect the person on the other side of his lens, but to facilitate a connection between subject and camera, and model with viewer. Part of Richard's process is building trust, listening to life stories, and finding ways to incorporate those stories within his work.
In the case of 24 year old Ohio model Trent Odom, the stories weren't only shared by Trent. The quote I began this piece with was told to Richard by another model he was shooting, a model who saw an image of Trent in portfolio and wanted to share his experience with the stranger who came to his rescue that night at the bar. Richard had already known from Trent that he'd had a hard life. He was subject to many bad influences from a young age and although got into some trouble when he was younger, made a decision he wanted his life to head in a different direction.
'I had several paths I could’ve taken in life but I am fortunate enough to have a strong passion for sports and the God given ability to participate in practically any type of sport. Wrestling and football Were my main sports in high school. I was well known in this respect and feel in many ways that my love of sports saved my life.'
Richard certainly captured Trent's incredible body and athleticism, and you see many of Trent's life experiences in his face, and in his eyes. I love however, that Richard chose to focus also on Trent's softer side and vulnerability. Through Richard's shots you see Trent in his entirety, the younger man whose experiences led to who he is today. It's in his eyes of course, but even in the shots where Trent's eyes are closed or not show, Richard captured the quiet contentment of a man who struggled to become the person he is today.
Trent continues to play football, playing in a minor league and still has goals and aspirations to play professional football, may oversea's which would combine his love of travel. Trent shares he works and practices very hard, but despite his physical achievements, like so many of us, struggled to accept what may seem obvious to all of us, how incredibly hot he is.
'Although I do not feel this in my heart, I have always been told that I am very attractive and charismatic. I am responding to what I’ve been told by others and by the reaction that I have from some people. In some ways it has helped me to be more confident.'
We all have assumptions about models, about football players, about male dancers... Yes, despite his struggle to accept what others see, Trent has also worked with a male dance review, and admits he does love the attention, and shares he feels blessed that people would want to see him on stage. Although he may struggle to see what those in the audience are reacting to, there is an sexual edge and sensual intensity to Trent's look which Richard beautifully captured in his images.
Trent was first asked about modeling by a photographer named J. Ladner in Dayton. During his first year modeling, he mostly did fitness and underwear shoots. It was on Instagram that Richard first spotted Trent's images and got in contact about shooting. They chatted on for several weeks, which included discussing the inclusion of nudity in their work together. Trent says he felt comfortable with Richard right away and was ready to explore other genres of modeling.
'I have always been comfortable with my body as well as my sexuality, but I didn't realize how much until I began posing nude. I found out that I was very comfortable and especially liked the artistic approach to being photographed nude. I have shot with Richard about six times and feel in many ways we’ve become friends. I could always tell him my girlfriend problems and he was a good listener. I have gotten several other nice offers to Model, but find between football and dancing I may be staying too busy to pursue modeling as I would like to. In a perfect world I would do both. I doubt that would be possible though as they both require full-time commitment.'