Now that we were all settled in and had had our lunch, it was time to get to work.

I didn’t know if I’d be photographing Rob and Jonny together–after all, they hadn’t even met before this. The plan was to photograph them separately, and just see how it went. It’s always a matter of chemistry and just seeing how things feel. So I left that to the fates. My priority at the moment was simply to do my best to capture each of them individually.

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Jonny does some exercises before starting to pose

I began that afternoon by photographing Jonny around the pool. I had already discovered that Jonny was definitely the quieter and more reserved of the two, and would probably take more drawing out, so I thought it would be better to start with him.

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Jonny’s reserved nature is not at all a negative; with those beautiful soulful eyes and his quiet manner, the overall effect is to draw you to him. There’s mystery and allure in his quietness. So photographing him for the first hour or so of our stay at the Santiago Resort was a nice measured way to begin the photo shoot. And as the afternoon shadows lengthened, the light got better and more interesting, Jonny got more relaxed, and I began to get to know what his best angles were.

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It was already late afternoon when I let Jonny go and began shooting Rob. Rob is a very different personality. He’s energetic and outgoing, and when he enters the room, you know it. Where Jonny is quiet and draws you to him, Rob is high-energy and fills up the space with his big personality.

That kind of personality can be difficult if there’s nothing but ego. But as I mentioned earlier, that’s not the case with Rob. He’s sensitive to those around him and he knows how to listen, which is not something you always get with models. He has a lot of modeling experience, so he has a whole repertoire of attitudes and poses. And they’re great, but they weren’t what I was looking for. So early on I told him no, I don’t want those model poses, I want more of you. I’m looking for natural, unguarded moments. And unlike some experienced models I’ve worked with, Rob got it right away. He wasn’t afraid to let me see more of his real self. Plus his real self is funny and quick, which of course gives the pictures a bright, appealing energy.

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The weather was clear and sunny, but it wasn’t all that warm, especially now that the shadows were getting long. The temperature in the sun was just about 70 degrees, and as soon as you went in the shade, it got chilly. In fact when I called Rob to come out so we could start shooting, he was wearing a hoodie.

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The air was a bit chilly but we had the luxury of a heated pool AND a hot tub. (Yet another thing I like about the Santiago Resort: the pool was just the temperature a heated pool should be, and the hot tub was just the temperature a hot tub should be.)

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I figured we had another 45 minutes or so before the sun dropped behind the mountains just west of us and we lost the light. But that 45 minutes would give me the best light of the day. So as the shadows lengthened and the air chilled, the light got more and more amazing and the images got better and better. I don’t know how the light, the model and the setting could have combined more beautifully than they did during the last few minutes of this part of the shoot.

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Just as the sun dropped behind the mountains and the temperature plunged, I told Rob, okay, we’re done for today, and he headed straight for the hot tub, still naked, which some of the other Resort guests seemed to enjoy.

I went back to my room and started uploading the images to the computer, and taking a look at what I’d gotten. I was really happy with the results. We’d only been in Palm Springs a few hours and I already had some great images of both Jonny and Rob. Which was good, because the it was already getting dark and the temperature had gone from the high 60’s down to the low 50’s. We all retreated to our rooms for a nap and then congregated in my room later where we ordered pizza and watched the Oscars on TV. Then about 10 we went out to sample Palm Springs’ nightlife.

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At the Karaoke bar; Rob in the Gaymart dressing room

We wound up in a fun karaoke bar where Rob showed us what a great singer and performer he is. We didn’t stay out too late–we had work to do the next day. Before we headed home, though, we went across the street to Gaymart, where Rob got a very sexy new black swimsuit. He was a sport when I asked him to open the dressing-room curtains so I could capture the moment.

NEXT: Palm Springs Road Trip, Part 4

Comments
  1. Vic Stapel says:

    Hi Doug. Nice post. As you know I am a fan and have 2 of your paintings that I never ever get tired of. Thank’s for referring the Resort in Palm Springs. I always wondered which one is REALLY lush and green and I also crave for heated water.
    As we live in Vancouver I would love to style a shoot Rob if he is up to it. Could you link us up with my photographer partner Gabriel Morosan http://www.finestreetphotography.com/ He has a fantaboulous studio the utmost versatile in town.
    We love to shoot and style edgy photography, splendid work with top notch equipment. Gab’s work is very well known for people photography, fetish and much more. Mahalo.

  2. Lyman and Johnny says:

    Dear Doug…You have thinned down considerably since we saw you last…hope you are in good health and taking care of all the beautiful mankind you picture whatever media or style you use. Johnny is now 87 and I am 69 (ahem…read backward). Your pictures charge our very weak batteries and we do appreciate your sending your catalogs by e mail. Extremely sorry to tell you that something is wrong on our computer…we seem to get a lot of blackouts of many of your lovely models groin areas and we don’t know how to get it fixed…does this have anything to do with those BLACK HOLES that all the astronomers are gabbing about now?

    Your sojourns to Rio, Palm Springs, Mexico etc., are inspiring to put it mildly. There are surely a lot of beautiful specimens here in San Diego, so we hope you will get your ass along with your enormous talent (and whatever enormous else) over here and include with your endeavor, a visit with us…love to see you. Warm hugs and much aloha,
    Johnny Dapper and Lyman Hallowell in the dapwell typing and steno pool.

    • Douglas Simonson says:

      lyman and johnny, so nice to hear from you! glad i’m helpful in charging your batteries! if i should get to san diego (no plans for that but who knows?) i will definitely try to find you. my best to both of you…aloha douglas

  3. John Reece says:

    Doug, You must let us know when you come to town again. We will plan a big party for you. I’m sure you have many fans in the area.

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