'My series of art nudes and portraits features the guys who have really inspired me as a photographer.'
Every successful collaboration, whether it be social or professional, is based in relationship. Many connect the word 'relationship' with those they're close to. Whenever however, we interact with anyone, even momentarily, a relationship is formed. We have relationships with our mail person, our food delivery drivers, the cashier we see regularly at the grocery store. Some of these people make us smile, some we chat with, some we try our best to ignore.
When it comes to art, creative collaborations are also based on relationship. Many photographers are inspired by the men they shoot and models becomes a muse. We tend to think of a artist/muse relationship as an ongoing, long term relationship, but sometimes... it occurs in the moment and can develop in just one or two shoots.
When I first featured Mark from The Male Muse last Autumn, I spotlighted Mark's work with just one model, Garrett. (HERE:) Since that post, Mark's been busy shooting models in California, looking to get in as many shoots in as possible before a move to Spain. Although Mark is looking forward to the next chapter, and working with male models in Europe, the men included here were all shot in Los Angeles before the move.
Although you can't predict the success of a creative collaboration until you're actually in the studio, there are things Mark looks for when choosing a model to work with. In addition to their look, Mark shares his process for finding and choosing models to create with. .
How do you find models?
Model Mayhem and AdultFolio have always been my go to sources, but now Instagram and referrals from other models are how I connect with a lot of new guys.
What are the main reasons you reach out? Their look, location, other?
If a guy has ´that certain something´ about their look that really makes me want to explore capturing that on camera, I will reach out. With Alexander it was his rugged good looks and hairy body, with Antonio it was his youthful looks and amazing tattoos. I loved Devin's shaggy hair and great smile and Gui had incredibly sexy bedroom eyes. I loved Isaiah's bright smile and lean yoga body and Oli had an edgy alternative look that I really wanted to capture.
Do the models you contact all have to be open to posing fully nude?
No not at all. When I reach out to a model I explain that I´m interested in shooting them at any level, clothed, underwear, implied or full nude. Whatever they are comfortable with.
What is your method for reaching out? Do many models often reach out to you?
I always send out a brief email introducing myself and what I´m looking for with a link to my work. Yes, these days I often get models applying through my site and social media.
How much conversation/communication do you have prior to a shoot?
For me it´s important to have at least one phone conversation before a shoot to get a vibe for each other. Communicating more via text after the call, to really solidify ideas, is always ideal.
How much conversation/communication do you have about concepts/themes/nudity required?
It´s different for every guy I suppose. I like to stay fairly loose and open about concepts/themes for most shoots until the day of, unless the model and I have planned ahead for something very specific we want to achieve together. If the model agrees to do a shoot that leans more erotic, that takes a lot more discussion to see where his boundaries are.
Are you open to a model's requests/boundaries?
Always. It´s very important to completely understand a model´s boundaries before a shoot so they feel 100% comfortable. I never want to make a guy uncomfortable.
Have you ever decided to not go forward after reaching out to a model?
I have postponed a few shoots because the model completely altered their appearance in some way, like changed their hair color, shaved all their body hair or pubes, etc.
The men featured in this piece are all from recent shoots taken over the last several months You can check out a bit more of your favorites on Mark's main site THE MALE MUSE, or check a lot more on Mark's JustForFans site HERE: