Saturday, December 7, 2019

In His Primer: Bond by New Manhattan Studios

'If we were ever going to photograph him as the dashing secret agent, a goal we’d nurtured since he chose his modeling name at his first session, we knew it would have to be special.'

Last month, FH was pleased, (and a little sad) to present Bond's climatic swan song with New Manhattan Studios. Bond has been an important part of the studio, and an important part of FH for awhile now, so Wes knew he wanted Bond's final bow to be special. As viewers saw in last months piece, the idea theme was both inevitable, and being a skilled secret agent, part of the master plan from the very beginning.

After that first shoot, the studio' challenge was to continue the theme,  stripping Bond from his clothing, but somehow keeping the iconic look of 007's iconic tuxedo.  So.. how exactly does one shoot Bond in a tux, but without the wool?  Bond naked, but in a tux, in his Bondday suit if you would will...

Prior to Bond flying to New York for his top secret assignment, Wes send him on a copy of Creating Venom, a photo essay illustrating a body painting session featuring NMS's Norm, realizing his teenage fantasy of becoming a super villain.  Wes asked Bond if he might be interested in doing a similar painting session as Bond, James Bond of courses.  Bond was excited, but the next challenge became coordinating Bond's small window of opportunity with the super busy schedule of makeup artist and body painter Charles Zambrano.

'To our happy surprise we succeeded in scheduling a body painting session on the afternoon of Bond’s departure. In order to maximize our 6 hours in the studio, we added a second modeling session to the schedule. For a second happy surprise we were finally able to coax into the studio Brendt, a new model that Bond had referred to us years earlier, a co-worker and gym buddy from his days in New York who had “the most ripped physique” of anyone he knew. When the first-time model learned that his friend Bond would be at his session, he too, was all in.'

'Charles began applying paint in the studio’s make-up area in the late morning; Brendt arrived in the early afternoon. Alex, the studio’s second cameraman, and I started Brendt’s session at the other end of the studio as a tuxedo of paint was being applied to Bond. We were working in a drafty space in a 150-year-old building just off The Bowery. The place was long on charm and history and short on heat. It was February and it was cold for those of us fully dressed. Despite appearances, Bond was anything but dressed.'

'We joked about the cold and kept telling ourselves that five bodies were helping warm the room. I did not appreciate how challenging it had been for the models, however, until I started editing. It was not my intention to publish more than a couple of iconic James Bond-with-gun poses from the body-painting session, but when I saw how pronounced the goosebumps were in so many shots, I realized I owed it to the models to do more with the images they had literally frozen their asses to help create that winter day.'

'As Brendt’s session drew to a close, the pressure built on the artist. Bond had to meet his girlfriend on the way to the airport and he obviously had to shower before leaving. “It’s now or never! If we don’t get him onto the paper now, the entire day’s effort will be in vain.”

Brendt was ushered to a chair in the shadows as Bond moved into the lights, painter and paintbrushes in tow. It hadn’t been part of the plan, but it seemed only fair. Having just braved his first fitness/physique photo session in such a chilly space, he wound up with a front row seat at his old bud’s photo session.'

'With the cameras clicking, Bond eased his way into his character and Charles continued working. Racing the clock, the artist deputized Alex to assist with the paint. Ultimately he continued sneaking onto the paper to tweak his handiwork until the end of the session.

That end came quickly. After about 10 to 15 minutes of non-stop shooting, it was time to start the ritualized process that concludes each of the studio’s body painting sessions: removing the paint. It’s a multi-step and somewhat laborious task that ends in the shower but starts on camera.

Baby oil is used to break the bond between paint and skin. The model is drizzled with oil and encouraged to blend it into the paint in artistic swirls and designs of his own creation. All was documented and galleries for the day’s work can be found at HERE:'

'With a predominantly black tuxedo, Bond’s attempt at artistic smears quickly degenerated into a 50-shades-of-gray blur. It’s an apt reference. With oil, paint and partially-revealed skin, the photos from the very end of Bond’s last session are uniquely erotic among the thousands of images captured during the weekend. They can be found in the studio’s photo essay Painting a Secret Agent.

Upon the last pop of the strobes at his final modeling session, Bond was unceremoniously rushed off the paper and into the shower. After a few minutes in the steam he sent out a panicked call for help. There was no way he could get the paint off his back. His buddy, Brendt, beat all other contenders to the shower stall to assist.'

'Minutes later Bond was out the door, rushing to the airport. Maybe he could make it back East once more after graduation but that was months away and not likely. It all came to an end so quickly there was no time for goodbyes.

After working together for more than four years, we had just finished our 13th session. It was an exuberant ending. There was much to remember but no time for remembrance. Fortunately, we took a lot of photos along the way.'

Go behind the scenes as a Film & Television makeup artist uses body paint to fuse Bond Brown with 007 in an behind the scenes video on NMS HERE: Also Check out Blurb for Bond Manhattan and Painting a Secret Agent with exclusive Behind the Scene images from the shoot featuring images of the secret agent, and his secret weapon!

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