'Mike is very quite and kind, but even though he’s quiet does not mean he’s not sassy! He always had something funny to say. He was also a pro at driving that house boat! I also had the privilege to ride from my city in southern Utah to Lake Powell with Mike and Mark. We shared some great life stories and I enjoyed getting to know them and becoming friends. I definitely hope to visit them in California sometime soon!'
If you can't get enough of this years Utah shoot, and want to see even more.... check out Gordon Nebeker's new book chronicling the shoot, Muscles & Mountains: Lake Powell III. The book contains 72 pages of full frontal visual memories and is available on Blurb in both Hardcover, and E-Book versions. Check it out HERE:.
The creative advantage of shooting four models is the dynamic visuals that can be captured. With four beautiful forms, a more expansive architectural palette is available for the photographers creative imagination to piece together and construct. Even when the four are relaxed, or simply walking or interacting between poses, the amount of visual combinations is endless.
When the three photographers shot just two models together, there was a natural increase in erotic intimacy. Without others to interact with, there tended to be more sensuality with touch, pose and especially in eye contact. When shooting models on their own however, an entirely different feel was created.
As Benjamin stated, there is such a powerful feeling of being so small, so insignificant, yet at the same time, so apart of the incredible surroundings when your all alone within them. Without another model to interact with, there is more interaction and touch with the rocks, sands and textures of the location.
I think one of the goals of skilled photographers like Mike, Mark and Gordon when shooting a single model, is to create the feeling the model is completely isolated, a solitary man, alone on the rocks and under the vast Utah sky. You forget there is a photographer, or perhaps another model a few yards away, and feel the power
The intimacy is just as strong, or stronger without another model in the shot. The relationship is not between models, but instead between model and nature, naked skin and the feel of sand, rock and the sun beating down upon them. These sensations between the body and their surroundings are beautifully intensified when only a single solitary man is in focus.
'I loved getting to work with all three photographers especially since each one of them has a different look to their art. Every photographer has a style and all three of them have different styles, and they’re all a different style than my own work, so I was really looking forward to taking some new directions and getting their visual perspective.'
Each time Gordon, Mark and Mike send on their images from the Lake Powell shoot, I am always initially drawn to the images with multiple models. I love checking out the poses and interactions between them. When spending more time with the visuals however, and when piecing the stories together, it is most often however shots of individual models that end up being the most compelling, and leave the most lasting impact.
The process piece is always fascinating to me when it comes to artists and images that I love, no more so than with the Utah shoot. Although the final images are the riveting final chapter, the trip and shooting experience are equally important pieces of the story.
'We've never had a group as comfortable in their own skin as this year... Some of the guys were essentially naked all the time... one of us might wake them up at first light to take a few quick shots as the sun came up, and from there they might as well continue the day in the nude (it helps that the days were in the upper 80's, and even the evenings were still in the mid-60's). I guess you could say they were photo ready any time!'
I guess after being with your fellow models naked all day, their aren’t many barriers or shyness left! In fact, by the end of the trip, most of the models were not bothering with any clothing at all even when we weren’t out on a shoot. Being on such an expansive lake (162 miles long) where one rarely saw other people certainly helps one feel free. Beautiful weather (daytime mid 80’s, sunny and no rain) was also an encouragement. It was a sad day when we motored back to the marina in our house boat and the guys had to put on some clothing!
'This crew was more comfortable being nude all the time then the previous groups. Previously, the models tended to change back into gym shorts or speedos when not being photographed. This time we hired a bunch of nudists. Which worked out great! I'm grateful that - again - there were no prima donnas amongst the guys. All were ready to pitch in doing anything that needed to be done.'
'The best part of the shoot was getting up early and being able to sleep under the stars. Living in New York City, I’m used to a ritualized routine that was completely thrown asunder on this trip. It was so peaceful and calm when we woke up in the morning to shoot, I’ll never forget the complete silence of the canyons with the somewhat melodic “clicks” of Gordon, Mike, and Mark’s cameras. At night, the moon was shining so bright, it was really spectacular. I felt such a sense of serenity that I had never experienced before and the atmosphere of the fabulous Lake Powell was unforgettable.'
'The last night on the lake, we had a bon fire after dinner on the beach in front of our boat. By that point, no one was very concerned about watching what they ate so the s’mores were a big hit. We were also treated to a fire dance by Quinn Quire who has experience in circus performance. Quite spectacular and a memorable end to our trip.'
'Houseboats have some quirks. Even at 59 feet in length the 7 of us were essentially living on a big floating RV for 5 days. The bathrooms are small, and the shower downright tiny. But, there is an outdoor shower that proved very popular with everyone!'
'The most unexpected pet of the trip was how easily and readily we all bonded with each other. I came into the trip having only known Quin well and having only worked with Gordon once before. I loved my time with the photographers and models and count them all as friends now. We took some amazing photographs and created art together, but we also developed friendships and had a blast together on this adventure away from everything else in our lives. It was a pretty incredible experience.'