Although 'Favorite' is in the title of my site, I find it difficult to actually choose favorites. There are favorite aspects with every artist and model I feature, and in every image I choose to use. There are some shoots and stories however, that are especially memorable. These are posts that I love revisiting again and again.
One of those shoots is Bank Job, a piece featuring the work of photographer Robert Colgan that I first posted back in 2011. (original post HERE:) FH was about 3 years old and thanks to Robert, and several other incredible artists, I had developed a passion for environmental shoots. Bank Job was unique, the overall feel and nod to the past. The setting, the story, the architecture and design and the scope in which Robert so brilliantly captured the location.
Over the past year or so, I've enjoyed seeing new shots from the shoot that Robert has posted on his Instagram . When I asked if I could use some of the new shots and update the original post, Robert sent on about 10 new shots from the shoot for me to include. I've updated the piece, keeping the original text and adding the additional images. Check it out on PAGE 2 HERE:
I have loved and posted about (HERE:) actor Douglas Booth since first seeing his beautiful face in 2012'a Great Expectations. I had no idea they were making a Mötley Crüe, let alone Booth was playing co-founder and bassist Nikki Sixx. Thanks to Casperfan however, I will be checking out The Dirt, especially given Booth has a nude scene (hope it's him) and one of his co-stars is the amazing Iwan Rheon.
Caps below via Casperfan, check out more images and a clip on his site HERE:
FH readers are most familiar with photographer Robert Colgan's enviormental images. Shoots featuring models posing in abandoned buildings, farm houses, and of course the bank featured in the post above. Robert loves to shoot models on old train tracks, run down barns and long closed electrical and water plants. Ruins long forgotten my most. Although I've featured Robert's studio work before, the contracts in look and feel between Robert's studio work and his location disintegration theme are distinct and dynamic.
It's fascinating to me that in Robert's outside work, although his models are completely naked, the body is not the primary focus. The model's role in many ways is to interact with their surroundings, bringing both life and energy to destruction left behind. Their naked bodies almost act as a guide and conduit to the architectural history of their location. With Robert's studio work, the history is not being remembered as much as being created. The architecture in studio is designed by the body, in this case, the powerful and balletic body of 22 year old Antoine.
The Columbus Ohio model started modeling and taking images with his cell phone when he was 12. The desire to capture the perfect image has stuck with him since. Performing comes naturally to Antoine, who's been acting, dancing and on stage since he was a kid. Antoine's goal is always to connect with the audience, whether he's on stage, writing, or behind of or in front of the camera.
Robert and Antoine's connection wasn't so much planned, but one facilitated by a fellow photographer. Robert was contacted by the photographer through Model Mayhem to ask if he'd be interested in working with a new model, Antoine. The idea was to get things started and give Antoine a sort of trail and set the wheels in motion for a future session with the photographer. Due to location and scheduling issues, Antoine would not be working with the other photographer for a couple of months, and he suggested that given Antoine was so eager to begin, that he look locally to get started.
'I have to admit, this was one of the strangest propositions ever tossed my way... The images sent by Antoine were crude iPhone selfies. They were fine for social networking but Antoine wanted to move into modeling as a professional goal. I had no idea what to expect from this kid and I think he approached my with equal trepidation. After viewing my portfolio and seeing the studio, I think his anxiety disappeared and his enthusiasm to model opened up.'
Antoine was indeed eager to get going, his biggest platform for sharing his work was Facebook, but they had recently deleted his page due to some of his images being reported. Thankfully, just before that happened, Jerry Boles had noticed his images and messaged Antoine complimenting him on his work.
'I honestly thought at first that it was catfish and it was just about wanting my nudes or something. That was until I did my research and had video chat with him . A photographer had never reached out to me before. He introduced me to Model Mayhem but because I didn't have any professional or quality photos, I was not able to network or post any of my work . So... from Chicago where Jerry is located, he began to network and send a few of my selfies to photographers in my area. Robert Colgan was the one that caught my eye!'
After checking out Robert's work, and after a few emails, Antoine knew he wanted to work with Robert. Antoine loved Robert's work and was excited and open to whatever creative idea's they might explore. Antoine shares that he was nervous at fist, not so much about the shoot or being nude, but about making a positive impression, leaving a mark and ensuring he got the most his first professional shoot and working with Robert..
'Antoine had no reservations about attempting anything that would produce a unique reflection of his sensuality and spirit. The artistic karma was excellent! Still fairly new to this experience, he is quickly learning how to project himself. I'm looking forward to working with him on location later this year. I think Antoine expresses a beauty beyond my usual benchmark. It was rather fun and exciting to have such rampant enthusiasm. He was definitely a proactive member of this creative force.'
'The shoot was everything I dreamed of but a little more because , I was nervous before arriving but Robert was such a warm person and made me so comfortable right away. Our chemistry and mindset was so in sync that we just fed off each others ideas. Robert would bring a prop and I would provide the pose or he would provide a pose I tried to make sure to do a little extra to make it more dramatic. Behind or in-front of the camera, I don't think too much, I feel at peace, at home. I feel beautiful and empowered and all my insecurities fade away'
-Antoine's Favorite Shots-
'Symbolically that angel in the cage is me . I feel trapped in today’s society as if I can’t be who I am without being judged or watched by many in a world so toxic and full of negativity . I feel broken and hurt that’s why the angel is positioned on his knees as if he’s praying to God to be freed of the trap and into the light.'
'When I saw the bot wheel I knew I had to use it for a shoot . It represents that I have control over my life and the decisions I make , and I am the captain of my whereabouts . It was inspired by one of my favorite poets Jhene Aiko who named two albums Sail Out and Souled Out, about a spiritual journey and personal growth after leaving and letting go of toxic relationship , soul ties, depression or hurt from the past or people that no longer served a purpose in our life.'
'The shot below shows my flexibility and ability to dance, act and be artistic and vulnerable as I am nude all in one image!. I love the alignment of my legs with the warrior stick it shows a movement of battle or tug of war almost like I’m dodging a hit by falling into my splits.'
'My favorite shot is the one below. I call it 365 because it describes my personality all days of the year . Very futuristic, half clothed and half nude , but also not much emotion just hair , body , and face . This picture captured my body physic , and bone structure more than I could imagine . I love to make it hard for people to read me because where’s the fun in an open book? I like to leave them guessing and wondering that way they keep coming back for more . . I push you out and you come right back . Showing my more masculine side which is the right side of my body as the King is set on my right arm and my Queen on my left which is my feminine side . Showing how to balance my Devine masculine and feminine traits.( my nipple piercings which symbolizes breasts ) '
The first time I profiled Robert Colgan's work was in the summer of 2009. The focus of that post was his work with model AJ Kessler (AJ Kessler by Robert Colgan). I was struck at that time how Robert so brilliantly blended AJ into his surroundings. In places and locations one might not expect to see a naked man, Robert made them looked like they belonged there. Some of the most powerful images were of AJ in what appeared to be an old bank vault.
Last week I spent more time exploring Roberts work and in my profile of his work with Anthony Muncy, the vault appeared again. The shots of AJ and Anthony were actually from the same shoot and Robert was kind of enough to share more from the shoot with FH.
'It's actually a pretty amazing building - been empty since the '70's and remains as such. I'm hoping to persuade the owners to let me explore one more time before it's too late. It seems as though I have the bad habit of finding cool locations just before they're slated for demolition or restoration, and this particular site has been sitting much to long for nothing to happen!'
The three of us spent about 5 hours exploring and shooting in the building. It was eerily silent and dark. Most of the lighting was from some strobes that I was able to find power to operate by running extension cords.
At one point, we were coming up the stairs from the vaults and I noticed the outlines of wet shoe prints on the marble on the stairs in front of us and fading out across the main bank lobby. None of us had come up those stairs before and when we checked our shoes, none of them were even remotely damp. There was a sudden nervous tension among all three of us. We quickly combed the bank and found no one. That's when I terminated the shoot.'
'We never did find the origin of those footprints, but it definitely left an interesting impression on us all!'
These shots also left an impression on me. You can literally feel the past, the history of the building and the hundreds of thousands of souls which must have passed through. Banks are odd institutions, they bring both joy (you got the loan) and equally sorrow (the loan is denied, dream squashed). They are places you went as a child to open up your first bank account with five bucks and places requiring great security due to the constant threat of crime. Many home owners are married to banks through mortgages and many found themselves violently divorced during the recent financial crisis.
The very first photo at the top of this post is an exterior shot of the bank that was on the floor in one of the offices when Robert, Anthony and AJ were shooting. Robert believes it is from the 50's. The shot is from a time when architecture and detail were mainstays in building. Colgan is a master at blending man and location and in my last profile of his work discussed what Robert calls urban exploration.
'The need to place a figure, alone, in these lonely abandonment's. To me it seems necessary. To me it seems like a metaphor of my own self.'
To bring back life into something forgotten, to bring something so erotic into something generally seen as sterile is truly extraordinary.