This series of photographs with Emmanuel came about after he approached me on the modelling network modelmayhem.com. Looking through his portfolio, I thought he’d be great for a GAP-style fashion shoot I had planned. His good looks and physique were going to be a fantastic match for that kind of fashion photograph.
Now you see me, now you don’t
I’m just as at home photographing men as much as women, but with men I think there’s often a stillness to be sought. A male sculpture to be arrested at 125th of a second. But fashion shoots, by their own nature, are very pre-planned and considered and can easily suffocate spontaneity. You choose the model. You choose the clothes. You set the lighting and plunge headlong towards the desired aesthetic with your camera in tow. But in the end the photographs you’ve taken often need to travel in the opposite direction. They need to show an unguarded moment; a reflective expression. Something unconsidered and unplanned that sells the lie of ‘true’ voyeurism.
Timing the shot
Much of this lies within the control of the fashion photographer: where you point the camera, how you time the shutter. However, it also has to reside within the model. Emmanuel had that stillness. Trapping the wings of a butterfly in flight can reveal the purpose behind it’s wings, but you also need to show the same potential for movement when the same butterfly is taken ‘at rest’. So it was with Emmanuel, in trying to show the thought behind his expressions.
He’s a really approachable guy and up anything and when the shutter fell and the photograph was taken, that stillness I was after was revealed. Finding that tenderness, without effeminising the subject of the photo, is as much his work as it is mine.
A special mention must also go out to Dashee, our hair & make-up artist who did a great job all day. She creates the most magnificent creations and is highly sought after as a result – and whilst this shoot never went anywhere near the scale of her talents, I look forward to photographing my next fashion shoot with both her and Emmanuel soon.