Posts Tagged ‘gay art’

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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

With two models on board, the Santiago Resort lined up, and a big ugly (but comfortable) Mercury from Avis, we were ready to go. Bright and early on a Sunday morning, I drove to Santa Monica to pick up Jonny. It was a little chilly in LA but we were hoping it’d be warmer in Palm Springs.


Jonny ready to go on a road trip

From Santa Monica we headed down Wilshire to the place where Rob was staying, on the eastern edge of Beverly Hills. We found it easily and there was Rob, ready to go. I introduced Jonny and Rob and they shook hands and said hello. This is always kind of a nerve-wracking moment for me, when I’ve set up an excursion or road trip with people who have never met before. I trust my instincts to choose people I’ll get along with, and who’ll get along with each other, and I seem to be good at it—it almost always works out well. As we got in the car and headed down La Cienega to get on the 10 going east for the long drive to Palm Springs, the energy felt good. I was confident that I could set the tone and put everyone at ease and the three of us would have a good time together. That’s important. If the models aren’t having fun, and the photographer’s not having fun, the pictures aren’t gonna be fun either!


Rob ready to go; Jonny and Rob meet for the first time

This was an adventure for me, too, because I’d never driven from LA to the desert, and I was looking forward to it. The first hour and a half of the drive was boring in terms of the scenery, but interesting because we were all getting to know each other. We got hungry about the time we got to Baldwin Park, so we took an off-ramp at random and wound up near an IHOP, which sounded good to us.


Ready to eat at the IHOP in Baldwin Park

Breakfast was delicious and the 3 of us were already laughing and having fun together. Jonny’s kind of quiet but holds his own in a conversation, and Rob is Mr. Personality, full of energy and always ready to take center stage, but still sensitive to those around him. I was already liking both of them a lot.

From Baldwin Park we got back on the freeway and before long the city was starting to turn into desert, and the mountains got closer and closer. It was a beautiful morning and there wasn’t much traffic, and I was enjoying the adventure.


Leaving LA and entering the desert

Even though we’d left over 3 hours earlier, it seemed like we got to Palm Springs quickly. Before I knew it, we were pulling into the Palm Springs Visitor Center to use the bathrooms and check my iPhone GPS for the location of the Santiago Resort. And to take pictures, of course.


The crew at the Palm Springs Visitors Center

From there it was about 10 minutes to the Santiago Resort, which we found easily, thanks to Rob’s navigation. Seriously, he did a great job keeping me from turning the wrong way into one-way streets, etc.


Rob busts a hammock

We pulled the big grey boat into a parking space at the Santiago Resort and invaded. And I do mean invaded. The first thing Rob did was take a flying leap at one of the hammocks strung between palm trees–and broke it! This is typical of Rob’s take-a-flying-leap-at-it approach to life, and despite the damage, one of the things I like about him. After apologizing to the manager, we got settled into our rooms.

And beautiful rooms they were. From the moment I arrived at the Santiago, I was impressed with it. The staff were friendly and helpful and the rooms were beautiful! (I’m not just saying that because each room was graced by a framed Simonson, either.) Everything was new and spotless, yet warm and comfortable. And the setting was just as beautiful as I’d hoped.


My room at the Santiago Resort

After we settled in a bit, it was time to go out for lunch—and to explore Palm Springs a bit. We wound up at a place called Bongo Johnny’s, and the food was great (great food seemed to be one of the themes of this trip). Across the street, we found a store called Gaymart (we went in) and another called Bear Wear (we didn’t). Then we went back to the resort. It was time to get those boys naked and get to work!


NEXT: Palm Springs Road Trip, Part 3 – Getting to Work

A couple of years ago I started an e-mail correspondence with a new potential model, a Vietnamese guy from Vancouver named Rob. We got connected via the Bay Area photographer Steven Underhill. Rob wanted to model for me, and I wanted him to model for me, but he was in Canada and I was in Hawaii.



I knew sooner or later we’d get together. Then last year he moved to Los Angeles. I’d been thinking about where to do my next photo shoot, and Palm Springs kept coming up. I’d never been there and had wanted to go for a long time. Adding interest to the idea was my connection with a place there called the Santiago Resort.

A few years ago the Santiago’s owner had purchased several pieces of my art for the place, which meant there was a Simonson in almost every room. I’d never been there, but I’d seen photographs of the Santiago Resort online, and it looked beautiful. And a nude photo shoot would not be out of place since the resort is clothing-optional.


The Santiago Resort in Palm Springs

So I called the owner and told him my idea of bringing a model there and doing a photo shoot. In return I’d be happy to gift him a piece of my art he didn’t already have. He was very open to the idea.

With that piece of the puzzle in place, I called Rob and told him my idea: I would fly up to LA, and he and I would drive to Palm Springs for a weekend at the Santiago Resort, where I would photograph him in that beautiful setting.

Rob loved the idea and he was available when I needed him to be. Great! Everything was falling into place and I was getting excited. Now that I had a location and dates, it occurred to me that I could have an even more fun-filled weekend with TWO models instead of just one–and there was one I had in mind.



As you know if you’ve visited my website, I not only sell my own photographs, I offer the work of Kurt R. Brown as well. A model I’d seen in his photographs, a guy named Jonny, really appealed to me and I wanted to work with him. So with Kurt’s help, I contacted Jonny (he lives in LA) and told him about the Palm Springs adventure I was planning, and asked him if he would be interested in being part of it.

He was. And he was available for that weekend. Again, things were falling into place.

I didn’t know where I was going to stay in LA until my friend Gina told me she was going to be in town and I could stay with her! (Gina is not only a long-time close friend, she has found many models for me and has traveled with me to Brazil many times to assist with photo shoots.) This was great news. Now I had a place to stay in LA before heading for Palm Springs. Another piece of the puzzle in place. This trip was obviously meant to happen.


Jonny and Gina at Gina's apartment

So at the end of February 2011 I found myself in Brentwood, staying at Gina’s beautiful new apartment. The day after I arrived, Jonny took the bus to our part of LA so I could interview him in person. We picked him up and took him to the apartment, where he and Gina bonded over wine and I shot test photos.


Jonny was much quieter than I expected (well, I don’t really know what I expected) and had a nice easy-going personality. I’m not real easy-going myself so this was good news. Anyway, he passed the interview with flying colors, so I had my second model.

NEXT: Palm Springs Road Trip Part 2 — On the Road

My latest painting, entitled “Symmetry”, was a surprise.

By that I mean, I never expected this one to turn into a painting. I was sketching from a photograph of Rico lying on a beach towel. This was a photograph I had never tackled before because it’s kind of a weird angle and I thought it would be hard to draw. And it was—I was having some trouble with it. But then I thought, what if the point of view were directly above Rico, and not from an angle?


This is the source photo I began with (Rico is the model)

I liked that idea, and I thought it would be cool to make it perfectly symmetrical. Or close to symmetrical, anyway. So I tried it. I did a rough sketch where I changed the angle and made the image more or less symmetrical, as if you were directly above and looking straight down on the figure.


This is the rough sketch I began with.

I wasn’t expecting much—this was just a little sketch experiment. But I liked the drawing so much I decided to take it to the next step, which would be a drawing that was more detailed and more carefully symmetrical.


Here's the final preparatory sketch before I transferred the design to canvas.

So I took my rough sketch and re-drew it using a ruler so that everything would be fairly close to equal on both sides. This worked out really well, and I began entertaining the idea of actually doing a painting of this. I hadn’t yet even visualized it or worked out color ideas in my head—which is unusual for me—but it seemed to want to be painted. So without much conscious thought, and a lot of just ‘surrendering to the flow,’ I grabbed a piece of canvas and tacked it up onto my easel.


Next I scanned the symmetrical drawing and then used a digital projector to project the image onto the canvas so I could trace it with pencil (rather than having to re-measure and re-draw the entire thing to do it in a larger size). Then I laid a brownish-purple acrylic wash over the whole thing. I was still able to see the pencil lines, so once that dried, I painted all the lines in black. That’s the stage you see above, with a couple of daubs of yellow paint added to see how the color looked.


Now I begin to lay in colors and get an idea of how they're going to work---or not.

Next I began mixing colors, and putting some of them onto the painting, to see how they worked together. What you see above is a result of some experimenting with the upper panels on the towel—trying a color here, a color there, and lightening or darkening or changing the color altogether until it starts to hang together. (As you can see, I wasn’t happy with the design on the towel in the photograph, and created my own design. Not sure why but I kept seeing this sinuous line on either side of the figure—so that’s what I created.)


Now I’ve laid in most of the colors. At this stage it’s all kind of rough. I wanted to get the colors laid in to make sure it was all going to work. Now that I see that it does, I have two challenges. One is to work with the flat flesh tone of the figure to give it more life. The other is to go in with a small brush and do the fine work of painting carefully around all those black lines.


The final painting (click on image to see this item on my website)

Above is the final painting, “Symmetry.” To bring the fleshtones to life, I used some of the oranges, pinks and yellows from the colors in and around the towel and worked them into the colors on the figure. Also, rather than leaving the colors flat, I made the figure more three-dimensional by varying the light and shadow a bit—not much, just enough to make the figure seem more rounded. I also saw that the black lines for the abdominal muscles was just too heavy-handed, and I got rid of those and instead used some fairly subtle highlights to delineate the abs. Then I spent a couple of hours doing the fine work of filling in all the little edges around the black lines, both on the figure and on the beachtowel—the ‘finishing’ touches—and I was done!

This painting was an interesting experience because it kind of just happened, rather than being something I purposefully created. And now that it’s done I’m looking at it and I’m not quite sure what I’ve got. It’s a painting of a boy lying on a beach towel, but because of the way I painted it, it almost seems like a symbol or an icon. The way I painted the beach towel looks almost like a stained-glass window, and the symmetry of the figure adds to the iconic feeling. As I’ve said many times, I don’t always know what I’m painting, or what I have painted. I sometimes see or understand things I didn’t see or understand before about my art when others tell me what they see. So if you have an impression of this painting that you’d like to share, please comment on it here. Thanks.

I’ve come to the conclusion that many people—most people who don’t paint, actually—have a really skewed picture of what it’s like to be a painter.

They have this romanticized idea that a painter strolls into his studio for an hour or two, when he’s ‘inspired,’ and just picks up a brush and dabs some paint onto a canvas and a painting kind of magically ‘appears.’

If you’ve ever tried to make a painting, you know how far that is from the truth.

In fact, painting is such hard work that I resisted becoming a painter for the first 30 years of my life. Yes, I always had ‘talent’–which means that I could take a pencil and draw some lines that were relatively close to the actual visual appearance of something, and people were impressed. But that’s a long way from being a successful painter.

I started studying painting when I was 15, and then only because my mom (who also has a love-hate thing going on with painting) talked me into coming to her oil-painting class one evening. Misery loves company, I guess.

This was in Thedford, Nebraska (population 300 at the time–now it’s even smaller), and a guy named Tom Talbot, a successful landscape painter from a nearby town, taught a painting class one night a week. I went that night, and I had fun, and I started attending regularly. Only gradually did I realize I had gotten hooked on something that would taunt and torture me for the rest of my life.

The problem with painting is there’s so much that can go wrong! Take mixing colors. This alone is a discipline that takes years to learn properly. Even today I still have trouble with it. And then there’s light and shadow, perspective, composition, anatomy. All easy when they’re working and impossible when they’re not. Not to mention the most vital prerequisite for a good painting: a good drawing.

I’ve been drawing my whole life and I still freeze up a bit when I face a blank sheet of paper. I know that’s probably hard for you to believe, but I think it’s true for almost every artist. Just because I’ve created thousands of successful drawings in my life doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten for a second the tens of thousands that WEREN’T successful.

This is what non-artists forget, or don’t think about. For every successful work of art that comes out of a studio, there are probably 5 or 10 (maybe many more) that never made it to completion. Those are the ones that had the artist feeling like a failure. I’m 60 now and I’ve been drawing for at least 55 of those years. And yet this morning when I sat down to sketch, my first few drawings were so bad I tore them up and threw them away. It’s almost always like that.

As intimidating as drawing is, painting is 20 times worse. This is why I say I love and hate painting. You can have a wonderful drawing and it looks like it’s going to make a great painting—and for any one of a million reasons it can fall flat. When a painting is not working, it’s the worst feeling in the world. You feel heavy, and hopeless, and worthless, and you just want the damn thing to be over with. Yet you have to stand there for hour after hour, day after day, trying to bring it to life. This, not the ‘a dab here, a dab there, voilĂ !’ model, is the reality of painting.

So why am I still torturing myself by being a painter?


When a painting is working, when the magic is happening… the sun comes out, birds sing. My heart opens. I smile. I feel like I could float. For a brief moment I’m actually embodying the world’s romantic vision of the creative artist.

It’s wonderful.

And it happens 3, maybe 4 times a year, if I’m lucky.

Most of the time I’m in the trenches, doing the work, hoping for another of those moments of grace when everything falls into place and I feel touched by angels.

Obviously it’s worth it, or I wouldn’t still be doing it. But it’s worth it in the same way it’s worth it to fall in love even though your heart gets broken. The occasional ecstasy is worth all the pain.

What all this is leading up to is a report on my newest source of inspiration. Because if it weren’t for the inspiration I find from time to time, I wouldn’t still be painting. However: every once in a while I come across the work of another artist who so inspires me that I forget the pain and self-doubt and once again, I take the plunge.


A sample Ashley Wood painting

That happened recently when I discovered the work of Ashley Wood.

As far as I can tell, Ashley Wood is an Australian who has been instrumental in creating several comic-book series with names like World War Robot and Zombies vs. Robots. He has quite a following but I had never heard of him until I ran across him online. He is one of the few artists I’ve ever run across who is as accomplished a painter as he is a cartoonist.

(A brief-but-vital aside here: cartooning is like painting but more so. People think it’s easy and fun because it looks easy and fun. It’s actually every bit as difficult as painting. Maybe more. I don’t expect you to believe me unless you’re an artist who has tried both.)

When I first saw Ashley Wood’s paintings online, I fell over. Who would have thought I would get so excited over not-very-colorful paintings of battle scenes and robots?


Another of Ashley Wood's paintings. (Click on image to go to Ashley Wood websites)

But it’s not about the subject matter. This guy can PAINT. And by that I mean his paintings are loose and chaotic and yet totally capture what he’s painting. I aspire to that. I love what’s called ‘painterly’ painting. This is painting that’s rich in texture, with energetic brushstrokes, and is clearly a painting, not a photograph. It’s all about using paint energetically. When I saw these paintings I almost levitated over to my easel. I HAD to paint something!

So I did. I started by doing a little copy of one of Ashley Wood’s paintings. How does he stay so loose? I asked myself. Copying his work was a good exercise. It loosened me up.

For a few days I did paintings that didn’t work out—maybe 4 of 5 of them. But that’s typical. It’s about warming up, getting loose, building your self-confidence.


Then I came across one of my photographs—an image of Brian walking across a rocky beach—that excited me visually. Normally an image with this much complexity (notice all those rocks!) is one I would be wary of. But a painter like Ashley Wood can take all that complexity and reduce it to a few brushstrokes and still convince you you’re looking at a rocky beach. I wanted to see if I could rise to the occasion.

Here you can see the progression. As I worked, I kept some printouts of Ashley Wood paintings tacked onto the easel to remind me to STAY LOOSE! It definitely made a difference. See the final product below.


The final painting, 'Koko Crater Day' (click on image to see this item on my website)

After the success of ‘Koko Crater Day,’ I had a lot of energy so I kept going. There were a couple of ‘fails’ before I succeeded again, but I felt so inspired I didn’t let them slow me down.


I finally struck gold again with a very simple shot of Mike T. wading into the surf. One of the things the original photo had going for it was the dramatic lighting. A tip: dramatic lighting is always easier to pull off than subtle, multi-source lighting. The other positive: few colors. All I needed was some blues, some blue-greens, and fleshtones.


The final painting (click on image to see this item on my website)

So I mixed the colors and jumped right in and because I was feeling so fearless, I was able to put the whole painting together in just a couple of hours! Hallelujah! It was fun and everything just flowed. I love the energy and ‘painterliness’ of the end result, which I titled ‘Into the Surf.’

I want to show you one more piece I did during this several-day period of fevered creation. I wanted to try a landscape, and I found this photograph I’d taken at Sandy Beach. The photograph is not that interesting or exciting in itself. I chose it because the composition is pretty workable, and there’s not too much complexity in the landforms. Also because it’s a spot where I’ve spent a lot of time over the years so I have an emotional attachment.


This painting just flowed, like the ones before it, because I was in a period where I was painting every day, and I was inspired, and felt very confident. It was less like working to create something than like just getting out of the way and allowing the creation to flow through me. That’s a wonderful sensation.


The final painting (click on image to see this item on my website)

I call this one “At Sandy Beach.” Looking at this painting with some time separating me from its creation, I see things I didn’t see when I was in the process. There’s a softness to it I really like, and a feeling of space and lightness. These are things you can’t really do consciously, or at least I can’t—they either happen or they don’t. But as I keep saying, when you’re able to get out of the way and just allow things to come through you, magic happens.

But life is change. This wonderful creative cycle wouldn’t be a creative cycle if it didn’t have a beginning and an end. So a few days after completing ‘At Sandy Beach’ I felt that inspiration waning and although I tried a few more paintings, nothing really worked. I’m back in the trenches now, sitting down to draw every day and just working, working, working. I’m doing good work, just not feeling that magical energy of divine inspiration. But I know that if I just keep creating, the magic will come around again…

My new painting of Jeff, entitled “Presence”, grew out of a sketch that turned out particularly well.

One of the ways I stay in shape, drawing-wise, is by doing a lot of rough sketches. My drawing board is next to my iMac, with its gorgeous 24-inch screen, and I begin by pulling up some random photographs of my various models. Then I start drawing, just flipping through photographic images one by one and drawing whatever comes up. Whenever I don’t have a specific idea for a painting, I’ll just do rough sketches until something interesting happens.


Sometimes I’ll draw rough sketches day after day for a week before something really strikes me. But a few days ago, I was drawing from some photographs of Jeff (from my first photo session with him, where he was sitting on my bed), and got lucky.


The initial sketch (click on image to see this item on my website)

I really liked the feeling and energy of this rough sketch, enough so that I did a second version of it. In the second version I taped an additional sheet of paper onto the left because the hand was getting cut off and the composition was looking like it needed to be more square.


The second sketch, with additional paper taped onto the left (click on image to see this item on my website)

I liked the energy of the first sketch, but I really loved what happened in the second sketch. Some magic happened with that one. One of my favorite things about both sketches is that funky one-eye-way-too-big thing…I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do.

Below is a shot of the finished painting on my easel. I didn’t take any in-progress shots of the actual painting process because it happened so fast! At this point I’d been painting nonstop for several days—I think I did 3 paintings in the space of a week—so I was warmed up. The more warmed up I am, the more in the painting groove, the more likely wonderful things will happen. Taking even a couple of days off from painting usually means another several-day warmup period before things get flowing again. I think this is pretty standard for most painters.


Anyway, before I began, I mentally saw the colors I wanted to use—the red background, the green of the comforter—and as I began covering the canvas with color, I saw that it was going to work. That’s always a huge relief! I did have to do a lot of repainting of various parts of the body to get the right mix of flesh tones. I ended up using a lot of oranges and pinks, and used the rich earth-yellow tones of raw sienna to bring it all together.


The final painting (click on image to see this item on my website)

I’ve always had a tendency toward crowded compositions, so I was really happy that I was able to give the figure room to breathe in this one. Notice how much space there is above Jeff’s head in this painting. In the past I’d have probably have brought the top edge down much closer to the top of his head—and probably brought the bottom up closer to his foot as well. I don’t know why it’s been a challenge for me to give a composition breathing space. It’s almost like I have a fear of wasting space in the painting by not filling it up with something. Sounds silly, I know. But for me, painting is always about going through my fears, and this is just another one I’m beginning to master. There’s a quote I read, attributed to Aristotle Onassis, that I’ve always loved: when asked the secret of his success, he reportedly said, “Three things. Boldness, boldness, and more boldness.”

Well, I’ve now acquired my first model via Facebook. Brian is a friend of a friend whom I’d never met in person, but he’d seen my work. He messaged me on Facebook saying he was interested in being a model. I looked at his online photos. He’s Chinese-Filipino and his look and physical type is one I’ve always had a weakness for. As I looked at his online photos I felt a definite stir of attraction. That’s one of my potential-model signals. But it’s always hard to tell from candid photographs what someone really looks like (and feels like) in person. So I said yeah, come on over to my place so I can see you in the flesh.


As soon as Brian walked into my apartment, I was pleasantly surprised (it was a bit like my experience with Jason). He was taller and better-looking than his pictures had shown. And he was very pleasant and no-attitude, and we got along just fine. I took some test shots and was pretty sure I wanted to work with him, but I wanted him to be a little more in shape. He said he’d be more than willing to watch his diet and work on his abs for a couple of weeks in order to be in better shape to model for me. I loaned him one of my favorite workout books, the Navy Seal Workout Book, which has some great abs exercises in it. I wondered if he’d follow through, because in the past I’ve had potential models who weren’t able to do this.

But Brian was a man of his word. He called me up about 10 days later and said he’d been doing great at his program and thought he was just about ready. So we set a date.

It was on a Thursday morning, just 2 weeks after our initial interview, that I drove to his apartment and picked him up at the crack of dawn. Then we drove out to one of my favorite deserted-secluded-beach spots, a place near Koko Crater, just beyond Hawaii Kai. We got out of the car and hiked over to the rocky beach where I’ve done many photo shoots in the past.


The day was beautiful, and big waves were crashing on the beach and the rocks as I directed Brian to a little thicket where I had him pretend he’d just arrived at a deserted beach and was going to do some nude sunbathing. He did a good job at this, and I saw that he was going to be easy to work with. This part was a warm-up, and after just a couple of minutes I had him gather up his stuff and we continued on toward the beach, where I had him jump in the water.



Getting wet is always a prelude to one of my favorite model activities: toweling off. I got a lot of shots of this, and of course with the gorgeous early-morning light and the beautiful model, it was easy to get great images. It was at this point that I began to see what a difference two weeks of watching the diet and working on abs had made. Brian’s body was really looking good.

For the next segment, I took advantage of the setting and we walked over to an area where the waves were crashing dramatically against some big lava rocks. Again, with the light, the setting and the model, it was easy to get some great shots.


At this point I brought out a prop I’d picked up at a supermarket on the way to the shoot: an orange. I had Brian sit on a towel and eat the orange, and I didn’t want him to eat it daintily, I wanted him to DEVOUR it. I wanted him to get really messy. He did a good job of this, and commented on how sweet the orange was. “Good,” I said. “Now I want you to squeeze the juices out and let them run down your face and your body.” This was a lot of fun for both of us, and not only got me some light-hearted and very sensual photographs, it also relaxed the model.


I pushed him even further in the next segment. I had him climb down into a tidepool and float around in the water for a bit. Then I told him to stand up and spread his arms out wide and shout as loud as he could. About the 3rd time he shouted, he started to really open up and I started to get some great shots!

That was the climax of the shoot, so to speak—the point of greatest excitement and intensity. I felt good about the images I’d gotten, and knew that it had been a good photo shoot. I had Brian get out of the water and start toweling off, and just at that point I realized I was totally out of memory space. I’d filled up all the memory cards I’d brought. I usually bring my laptop along so that I can be uploading the images from one memory card while I’m using another, which means I can shoot all day and not run out of memory. But I hadn’t brought my computer, figuring I’d have enough memory without it. So the shoot was effectively over anyway.

This was good in a way. Because the mood between us was so relaxed at that point, and because it was still so early (about 8:30 a.m.), we decided to hang out at the beach for a while and just relax. I actually got naked myself and jumped in the water and rolled around in the sand. That was excellent! It made me realize how long it had been since I’d actually just let myself play in that way. Because I’d already gotten so many great images and it had been a successful photo shoot, I allowed myself to just relax. And it felt wonderful.


While Brian and I were taking dips and rolling around in the sand, I kept seeing how great he looked, how relaxed and sexy, and I really regretted not being able to capture those images. Then I remembered I had my little Casio Exilim digital camera in my backpack. So I ran up the beach and grabbed that and got some photographs of Brian in the sand (like the one above). These are actually some of my favorite shots of the day because they’re so relaxed and sexy. Because the photos are so low-resolution, I won’t be able to present them to my collectors as photographic prints—but I will be able to create drawings and paintings from them if I’m moved to do that at some point.

Obviously this was a great photo shoot and I got some wonderful images. But my favorite thing about it is how relaxed and fun those final few minutes were, and I have to thank Brian for being so easy to be with that, in a total reverse of what usually goes on in these photo sessions, where I have to work hard to relax the model, this time it was the model who relaxed ME.

Update to this Entry:

In November 2012 I published an e-book of uncensored photographs of Brian from the above photo shoot. You can purchase it for instant download here.