The vastness of the area, is one of the reasons the trio of photographers are able to always find new locations, rock formations, and visually stunning nooks and crannies to shoot. Mike shared previously, that for each location, even down to each shot, he, Mark and Gordon try to position themselves to catch three unique perspectives.
If Gordon is directing and shooting the models at eye level, Mark will crouch or lay on the ground, or climb on a rock, to shoot up or down at them. Mike will then position himself to the far right or left, catching the models almost 90 degrees off the directed pose. That, in addition to their different post processing styles, ensure that rarely do they capture the same shot. These different shooting positions, also support capturing some great behind the scenes action shots of the photographers at work.
In addition to their different shooting styles and positions, each of the three artists capture images with a nexus to their own perspective and vision. Lake Powell is all about connection, and Mike's images personify this so beautifully. In each of Mike's images you can feel a depth of connections between the models, the model and artist, and the model and artist with their surroundings. I think the shot below is one of my favorites from this year's trip, and beautifully illustrates the theme and feel of connection.
'Everyone was quick to volunteer for any ideas we tossed out. Occasionally it seemed like a race to see who could jump out of the speedboat and get ashore first if we only wanted one or two guys in the shot!'
One of the reasons Mark, Mike and Gordon make such excellent shooting partner's is what similarities and differences they bring to their work. Obviously each share a passion for shooting the male form, but it goes beyond just that. Working with each photographer over the years, they have both a shared vision and a combined respect for both the artists they shoot, and the process and artistry involved.
Although their styles are different, they also beautifully complimentary. It's difficult to choose just one word to describe a style, but there is something about each that stands out whenever I see their Utah imagery. Although each adjective can apply to all three of the photographers, there is one aspect I feel radiates from their work.
I'm always blown away by Gordon's ability to capture the beauty of his subjects, both their physical form, and piece of their core beauty as well. With Mike's imagery, I always sense the joy. I always get the feeling that Mike truly enjoys being behind the camera, and it radiates through his images. With Mark, it's most definitely the drama. Mark seems to have a flair for capturing breathtaking moments, full of powerful emotion. Through touch, movement and pose Mark's images have an erotically charged energy that is both visible and felt by the viewer.
'The weather was perfect - high 80’s, low 90’s and we had no rain to speak of. I guess you could say that after our fourth trip there, we have it down pat! The lake is so large that we have yet to repeat a photo shoot site on the lake. The water level affects shoot locations and the water was up 20 feet higher than last year.'
FH may remember that I wrote about my (failed) attempt at photography when I was in high school and at University. Although I shot a few weddings, and a few golden retrievers, I ended up giving it up. Gordon Nebekeris one of those artists who consistently inspires me to pick it back up again. So many artists impress me with their work, but Gordon's always inspires. From the first images of his that I saw over a decade ago, and every shoot since. Gordon's work captures what I feel is the essence of what I love so much about images of the male form.
So many photographers can capture a hot naked men, but Gordon's work is so much more systemic. No matter the model, whether it be a thirty-something year old professional, or a nineteen year old newbie, I can always feel history. Gordon encapsulates so beautifully so many classic elements of photographing the male form, but with his own unique vision and style. Although beauty is at it's core, Gordon's focus feels bigger than any one body, or any particular body part... Gordon 's images project the majesty of the male form, and an absolute respect for his subjects and the art form that he loves.
This absoluteness is most intensely seen and experienced through Gordon's time in Lake Powell. Gordon's passion comes through, not only in his incredible images, but in his passion, and the work he puts into the yearly shoot. Gordon is the heart of the Lake Powell adventures, and he always plays a lead role in helping me organize, and put together the pieces for FH each year.
For the last several years, Gordon has chronicled his passion project into a book, and this years edition is now available. The incredible visual scrapbook is available in a large print edition, as well as an affordable e-book edition ready to download. Check Muscles and Mountains: Lake Powell IV on Blurb HERE:
'The 4 guys were always joking around. I ended up with lots of "blooper" shots where they are talking or laughing and not exactly projecting that stoic model vibe. Occasionally the outtakes were too good to not toss!'
Notwithstanding the breathtaking location, some of the hottest views from each Lake Powell shoot come from the behind the scenes moments. I've always loved 'process' shots, but the process of executing the Lake Powell trip is beyond a regular run of the mill photo shoot. Taking three talented artists, along with four hot, and usually naked models, on a cramped houseboat always produces a stimulating inside look at how the many pieces all manage to fit together.
There are so many opportunities for great behind the scenes moments, and these visuals often tell the stories better than words. Mark shooting Mike shooting James. Gordon shooting Mark shooting Mo. Models prepping and undressing for a shot or climbing rocks to get in the just the right position along the side of the cliff.
Each year, some of my favorite Behind the scenes shots come the deck of the houseboat. Not only is it the perfect place to work on that all over tan, it also has the famous outdoor shower, the setting of many great BTS moments from over the years.
'James was first awake every day, showering under the outdoor shower before sunrise. All the guys were early risers making it easy for us to start shooting during the wonderful early morning light.'
'I miss waking up early to shower outside on the house boat. Those sunrises on the lake were so peaceful. Lake Powell was more than I had expected. I'm grateful to have been a part of this photoshoot with such a beautiful landscape. I'm glad for working with the photographers and fellow models, such good energy here.'