Boundaries play a huge role in all art forms, especially when the focus of that art is the nude male form. Models and photographers are always testing, evaluating and pushing boundaries as they imagine and create distinctively erotic and memorable images. Boundaries took on new meaning this year with onset of the pandemic. It's not as if there weren't already enough risks involved with meeting up with a stranger for a nude photo shoot... Now, there are entirely new set of hazards and concerns to deal with.
Thankfully, photographer Gordon Nebekerwas up to the challenge. Gordon's experience working with hundreds of different models over the years has led him to always carefully plan for anything, in this case, it was Covid. After model Ben Gilmore approached him about collaborating this past April, Gordon thought it was time start shooting again. Gordon was in Florida at the time, but was due to head home in a few weeks. He immediately began planning and scheduled a shoot with Ben for the end of May at his home in Boston.
'Ben was my first “Covid influenced” shoot. I had about five photo shoots lined up in Florida for April but ended up canceling all of them because of the Covid scare. I think most of the photographer’s I know were wondering if we would be able to shoot again during the pandemic and, if so, how could we do it safely. Over the next month and a half, I came up with a plan to shoot safely while minimizing the risk to me and to the model. Ben was my first shoot where I could test it out. By the end of the first shoot, we both felt my ‘system’ had worked very well and I began planning shoots again on a limited basis.'
Gordon describes Ben as very easy to work with, a quick learner. It was quickly evident to Gordon that Ben was experienced with being in front of the camera. With a background in theatre and performance, combined with some yoga training, Gordon shares that Ben was very 'body aware', much in the same way that dancers are and was very pleased with the work they created. So much so, a second shoot was planned for later in the summer.
Since their first collaboration in May, Gordon has posted over 25 images from his work with Ben on his his Instagram, After enjoying so many of the shots, I was interested in knowing a bit more about Ben, and his experience in front of the camera. Gordon quickly connected me with Ben and I sent off a few, well ok, more than a few questions to quench my curiosity. Ben generously answered them all.
What prompted you to start modeling? I started modeling in an attempt to gather more experience in front of the camera to further my acting career, as well as earn extra income.
Any odd or strange stories from any shoots? Hah, I suppose. Creatives are usually a little wacky, I've gathered. So it was no surprise to find the freelance nude photographers to be a tad rambunctious. Although, I've come to a place where very little is strange to me.
Have you had any what you might qualify as odd or strange offers or requests? Sure, it's all within the sexuality ballpark. Again, very little is "strange" to me these days, if I don't vibe with something personally, sexually, creatively, etc... I try not to judge, but instead just know where I sit on the subject. If I'm comfortable with the request I'll go for it. If not, I'll try to express that as amicably as I can, and usually that bodes well. In my personal opinion, the weirdest request I got was from a guy who wanted to smell my feet while he masturbated.
What factors did you weigh before deciding to shoot nudes? I had to decide if I was okay with people I didn't know seeing me nude, if I was okay with people I did know seeing me nude, if I was okay with photos of me nude being on the web permanently. I initially pondered quite deeply if doing nude/erotic work would hinder my ability to get cast as an actor in the future. Thankfully, that feeling has subsided, especially since the start of the pandemic where I've seen tons of performing artists start Only Fans.
On a scale from 1-10 how nervous were you the first time? What was your biggest concern or worry? My first shoot I was actually quite nervous, I had no idea what to expect from it, it was a very new avenue for me. On a scale from 1-10, I'd say I was probably about a 6 on my first shoot. My biggest concerns were reputational damage, my romantic relationship at the time being compromised, and truthfully, sexual misconduct.
Did the response from friends/family/partner enter into your decision? Absolutely, I'm very close with my friends and family and I hold their opinions of me in high regard. Thankfully, I have a very cool and gracious social circle that I know would never judge or alienate me for it.
Had you ever been naked in public before modeling? Nude beach, art class, streaking? Plenty of times, hah. I currently model for and have previously modeled for several different public art classes. Additionally, I've posed nude outdoors for photo shoots in public places, just sneakily! I've also gone skinny dipping a few times in my day!
What are your boundaries for a shoot? Have you ever said no to a concept or shot idea? My boundaries are right at the edge of eroticism and porn. I think there is plenty of tasteful nude art, that could even be classified as porn by some. However, some of it becomes a little grotesque for me. Shots with spread cheeks or an open butt hole I'm not okay with it, usually. I've rejected concepts that have involved ass play or anal penetration.
What's the best compliment you received about one of your modeling images? The best compliment(s) I've gotten is always centered around the artistic quality of the work. When I hear someone say they're genuinely inspired or impressed by a photo, painting, drawing, film, video, performance, etc... I'm genuinely elated, that's why I got involved in art!
Which is easier or more enjoyable to showcase in images, your body, or your personality. My body, without doubt. I'm still figuring out how to showcase my personality. I haven't quite figured it out yet, hah.
What inspired you start an OnlyFans? A photographer and friend of mine recommended I start one! He mentioned it might be a great way to make extra income and potentially network with more creatives. I made one about a year ago, but it was inactive for a while. At the start of the pandemic in early Spring I started to really use it more, clearly I wasn't the only one, hah.
What has the feedback been like? The feedback has been fantastic! I'm so happy to see/hear that people enjoy my page and the content I've worked to cultivate. It's been a very enjoyable and rewarding process, I'm excited for it to continue and see where it goes!
Do you remember your first impressions when you saw Gordon's images? My first impression was the photos and the models were outstanding, simply put. They were very "high brow", elegant pieces of art, with plenty of experience behind them, no doubt.
What stood out from you with your day shooting with Gordon? I'd say his focus with his direction. It was very well paced and deliberate. I'm not sure if he knows everything he intends to capture in a day's time, or if he simply flows with that level of articulation and composure. Either way, it definitely stood out. I wish to emulate that sort of creative radiance.
Was there anything about your with Gordon, unique from any of your previous shoots? Gordon was the first photographer I've shot underwater with! In addition to all his unique stylistic and communicative qualities, this was certainly a fresh take!
'The underwater part of the shoot was so interesting! I adore swimming and being in the water, so it felt easy and fun. It was creatively stimulating as well for I've never done anything like it, I really enjoyed brainstorming as well as experimenting with the poses with Gordon. At first, I'd run out of breathe quickly and often had my eyes closed. Then, in time I got my technique down and could stay underwater for a decent amount of time with my eyes open. hoot?'
'Working underwater is notoriously difficult and involves many different skills together with a healthy dose of sheer luck! Ben was enthusiastic, but try as he might during the first shoot, he was having difficulties keeping his eyes open underwater and avoiding ‘chipmunk cheeks’. We didn’t have many ‘keepers’ from the first underwater experience. But his attitude was great and I could sense that he had tremendous potential to be good at it so I made sure we did a second session underwater when he came back again. With a little more practice and a second try, he was an absolute champ and we got some underwater work that is among the best work I’ve done!'