The third and final day of our LA photo shoots dawned bright and clear, thank goodness. Another beautiful clear day! Kurt showed up at 8 to pick me up and I met Chadwick, who was sitting in the back seat. We drove north to Simi Valley where Kurt had a spot in mind that he thought would work well with Chadwick’s look. On the way we all talked and Chadwick seemed very pleasant. But I was looking forward to getting a better look at him.
On our way to the location we stopped at a shopping center to pick up some supplies and when we got out of the car I saw just how big, beautiful and perfectly proportioned Chadwick was. He was wearing jeans and a tank top and as we walked through the store, he was literally stopping traffic. Heads were turning and people were actually saying “wow” as he walked by. Chadwick seemed to take it in stride. He seems to know how gorgeous he is, yet apparently has no attitude about it. Needless to say, I found this a very attractive quality and promising in terms of our working together.
We hiked into a beautiful area, full of huge rocks and dramatic settings. I could see why Kurt thought it would be a great setting for shooting Chadwick. We hiked for about 15 minutes and it was as if we were in the middle of the wilds, with no signs of civilization anywhere around. We stopped in the middle of an immense slab of rock next to a huge date palm, and while I got my photo equipment ready, Kurt applied oil to Chadwick. I’m glad Kurt was there to do that part. I think that might’ve been a little too intense for me. I was still a little stunned by Chadwick’s gorgeousness.
Thus we began the actual photo shoot. I’m glad this was the third and final shoot because as much as I liked Marcelino and Anthony, Chadwick is pretty close to my personal dream of perfect male beauty. His amazing body gleaming in the hot California sun against those beautiful rocks was definitely a highlight of my career so far. The more I shot, the more I realized that Chadwick didn’t have a bad angle. It was almost too much beauty to be crammed into one human being.
My initial impression of Chadwick from watching him in the shopping center seemed to be accurate. Here was an amazingly gorgeous guy without a lot of attitude. Working with him was a total pleasure because he was a regular, down-to-earth guy, originally from a small town in Georgia, who was totally willing to do what it took to make sure both Kurt and I got the shots we wanted.
The three of us traipsed up and down huge hills, through cactus and scrub brush, climbed up and over huge rocks, and sweated in the hot desert sun, and it was all worth it. Every time I changed angle or we put Chadwick in another setting, it was another great shot. Both Kurt and I were getting some amazing shots.
As we continued to work together smoothly, I realized something about Kurt’s and my chemistry: we were actually getting more and better shots working together than we usually get working alone. There was a nice dynamic happening. Usually a photo shoot wears me out because I’m carrying all the weight myself. It’s my job to manage everything, including thinking of what I want the model to do next while I’m also caught up in the intensity of trying to get the best shot possible in the moment. There’s just too much to think about, and it can be exhausting. I found when working with Kurt that when I ran out of ideas for the model, or just needed to rest for a moment, I could turn things over to him. He was able to do the same, which meant that we were using the model much more efficiently. And the fact that neither of us had to carry the whole load of responsibility made it that much easier to focus on getting the shot. By this third photo shoot it was becoming clear that we actually were more effective as a team than we were working alone! That doesn’t mean either of us really wants to stop working as a free agent—but it was a great thing to discover and something we may do again in the future.
This was a great way to finish up the LA photo shoots, with one of the best models I’ve worked with in my career so far. And the other two photo shoots gave me a huge amount of wonderful new material as well. Working with Kurt was a pleasure and we both derived unexpected benefits from working together. (Thanks, Kurt, for waking me up to the advantages of Camera Raw!) Overall, a wonderful and profitable experience, and I’m very excited about beginning to produce art from all these beautiful new images!