Posts Tagged ‘photoshoot’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

I guess I have a reputation for not being interested in white guys. But it’s not true. I’m just not that interested in most white guys.

So when I got an email from a 25-year-old Irish boy named Jason who had met my assistant Spencer and now wanted to model for me, I was not that interested. The photos he sent with the email were just okay. I delayed responding to him for a couple of weeks. Finally, though, I thought, what the hell, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised when I meet him in person.

I contacted him and we set up a meeting at my place in Waikiki. It was 5 o’clock on a weekday. When he walked out of the elevator, I was really taken aback. Not only did he look better than his pictures…he looked WAY better.

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And it wasn’t just his looks. Something about the way he carried himself, his easy smile, the lack of attitude—I was immediately smitten. I retained enough presence of mind to chat with him a bit while I got my camera equipment out. Jason was brand-new to Hawaii, having just moved here from California a few weeks previous. His ambition: to be a fireman. This was getting better and better.

As much as I liked him in person, I knew I needed to take some test shots. Just because his presence was bowling me over didn’t mean that he would photograph well (although I had a hard time believing he wouldn’t). I started shooting as we talked, then I had him take off his shirt and we talked some more, and I kept taking photographs. What a great smile…what a pretty body…I was trying hard to stay objective but it was difficult.

I told him I was pretty sure I wanted to work with him, and said I’d give him a call in the next week or so to confirm that. He left, and I ran to the computer to upload the images I’d shot so I could get a good look at them. I really wanted to see what the photographs looked like without the distraction of his standing there in front of me.

Wow. They were just as great as I thought they’d be. Jason was my new favorite model, and I couldn’t wait to have him all to myself for a few hours of intense picture-taking. And that happened fairly quickly. A little less than a week later, Jason and I drove out to Hawaii Kai, where my friends Kei and Dick live. I’ve used their backyard pool for a lot of photo shoots in the past.

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When we got there and walked into the pool area, I was blown away. It had always been a nice setting, but the vegetation has gotten even lusher and bigger in the past couple of years, and Kei has done a lot of work on the pool area as well. There’s a new lava-rock shower column poolside that Kei designed and built himself (you can see it behind Jason in the right-hand photo above). Gorgeous! I was getting amped up and the model wasn’t even naked yet.

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Over the next couple of hours I found Jason to be as easy to work with as he is handsome and charming. Am I gushing? Sorry, but I love this guy. He’s so down-to-earth and easy-going, and yet such a treat for the eyes. And his body looks superb from any angle. It’s not a big muscular body, it’s a lithe, graceful, lightly muscled body. And his proportions are perfect.

At one point in the photo shoot I ran out of ideas and asked Jason if he had any. He said, How about I be the poolboy? And he picked up the net thing that you use to scoop leaves and debris out of the pool. Not that there were any leaves or debris—Kei is beyond meticulous about that sort of thing. So Jason actually went and found some dead leaves and threw them into the pool so he’d have something to scoop.

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First I had him be the hot poolboy who’s cleaning your pool with his boardshorts practically falling off. Jason did this very well. Then we had the shorts fall totally off and he was the naked poolboy for awhile. These ended up being some of my favorite shots of the day, and not just because it’s such a delicious fantasy, but because these poses were completely natural and unstudied, and because what he was doing put almost every muscle in his body to work…with wonderful visual results.

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All in all, a great photo shoot and a great model. Thanks, Jason!

UPDATE TO THIS ENTRY:

In August 2012 I published an e-book of uncensored photographs of Jason from this photo shoot. You can order it for instant download here.

My friend Doug Smith has a beautiful house in the Makiki-Punahou area of Honolulu.

Even more beautiful than the house itself is its beautifully landscaped backyard and pool. It’s not your typical pool. It’s L-shaped, with a hot tub in the elbow of the L, with lots of tropical foliage and Southeast Asian statuary surrounding the pool. It’s gorgeous and I first saw it when Doug hosted a post-surf beerfest for our local gay surf club. I was looking around at how beautiful (and private) it was, and thinking, wow, I’d love to do a photo shoot here.

A couple of months later, Jeff (see blog entry on my first photo shoot with jeff) contacted me and told me he was going to be in Hawaii again and wondered if I’d like to do a second photo shoot with him. I did. I had actually been hoping to get another chance to shoot Jeff because he’s a great model, and because our first photo shoot was not ideal. (Because of time limitations we’d had to shoot at my apartment which was okay but not the ideal location.)

Doug was happy to let me do a photo shoot at his home, so Jeff and I met there one morning, and I showed him around before we began the photo shoot.

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After relaxing for a few minutes and having some Starbucks, we got to “work.” I had Jeff strip down on the patio.

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Then once he was naked, we started exploring the possibilities in and around the pool. The morning light was perfect.

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No matter how inviting the pool is, getting into the water first thing in the morning is always a shock. It helped that Jeff could then jump right into the hot tub to warm up. All of this makes for great shots, of course.

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Getting the model wet whenever possible is, as you know, one of my main m.o.’s. Getting the model wet is sexy and sensual and makes for beautiful visuals especially in morning light. Even better, getting the model wet means he has to dry off. A towel is always a great prop, especially when you have a beautiful blue-orange-purple multicolored towel next to a golden-skinned model against a green, green tropical backdrop.

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On one side of the pool, among the palms, was a bit of Southeast Asian statuary that had been made into a fountain. I had Jeff swim over to that side of the pool and clamber up onto the pool’s edge and pose next to the fountain. Then I had him get back in the water and position himself under the falling water in front of the fountain. I got a couple of my favorite shots of the day there.

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There were a lot of great settings, though. Another of my favorite places was the other end of the backyard where there was a big stone Buddha head at the foot of the pool, and behind that a pair of beautiful old wooden gates. Posing Jeff in these areas again yielded some of the best shots of the day.

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All in all, it was a phenomenal photo shoot. The morning light worked perfectly for the setting, and what a setting! I’m hopeful Doug will let me use it again because it’s one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting in. And Jeff, as always, did a great job as a model. I not only love his face and body, I also always enjoy the energy, spark and sense of humor he brings to the occasion.

You’ll see some interesting paintings and drawings come from this photo shoot, I’m sure. (Not that I know what will happen exactly, until I actually find myself creating it in my studio!)

Update to this Entry:

In April 2013 I published an e-book called “Jeff” which contains almost 100 uncensored photographs from both of my photo shoots with Jeff. You can purchase it for instant download here.


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Kurt and Chadwick on our arrival in Simi Valley.

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.

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Chadwick getting oiled up by Kurt.

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.

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One of the first of many incredible photographs.

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.

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I haven't had a setting and model fit together this beautifully since my last time in Brazil...

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.

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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.

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We made Chadwick work hard but he seemed to love it! Look closely and you can see Kurt on the right here, getting the shot.

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.

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A great model and a total sweetheart!

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!


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Kurt and Anthony getting ready to hike into the woods.

The next morning was our second photo shoot. This was with a guy named Anthony P. which Kurt located through a site called Model Mayhem (that’s not his name on the site). Kurt picked me up at the San Vicente at 8am and I met Anthony, whom I had seen pictures of, but hadn’t met in person before. He was very handsome, very pleasant, and I was looking forward to shooting photos of him. We drove north to the same general area as the previous day, and again, hiked a while to find a photogenic area.

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We did find some fairly nice locations.

The area we were in was not as attractive as the one the previous day. Kurt told me that every time he visits one of these locations in and around the LA area, he never knows what to expect, because there’s so much change with the time of year, and sometimes wildfires will burn off all the vegetation in an area that was previously a great location. So the settings were not ideal, but we had driven all that way, so we decided to make the best of it. And we did get some nice shots.

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At two with nature...

Unfortunately our model was not a nature boy. I was reminded, over and over again, of Woody Allen’s comment, “I am at two with nature.” That was Anthony. He was a trooper, though. He got himself wet in cold, not-very-clean water for us. He let himself be eaten up by ants (well, for a minute anyway). He got muddy. But it was clear he was not happy in the environment. Of course, Kurt and I weren’t that happy with the environment, either. I had an idea. I called my hotel and talked to the day manager and asked him if we could use the area around the pool to shoot some nudes. Since that part of the hotel is clothing-optional anyway, he was pretty agreeable as long as our shoot wasn’t too lengthy. So we hiked back to the car and got on the freeway and headed back down to West Hollywood.

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Anthony was much happier in a hotel pool than in a creek in the woods.

This turned out to be a wonderful idea. When we walked in to the pool area of the San Vicente, I could tell Anthony was much happier. This was an environment he could enjoy working in. Both Kurt and I were much happier with it, too. The San Vicente has been used for a lot of photo and video shoots and it’s actually a great backdrop for this kind of thing. And it was very convenient for me, of course.

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This is me and Anthony by the San Vicente pool.

The weather was perfect and the setting was perfect. And it was late morning so there was hardly anyone around, so we were able to shoot undisturbed. This was one of those things that so often happens with photo shoots. You plan for one situation and it doesn’t work out and you play it by ear, and you end up in a completely different setting than you planned, but somehow it all works out.

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Again, Kurt and I worked really smoothly together, and it was a nice change from a “wilderness” setting where everything is improvised. Nice to have a bathroom handy, access to food and water, etc. Plus the comfort of being able to jump in the pool whenever you get hot—and it was turning into a hot day. Again, we shot for about two hours total and got a lot of great stuff. Another successful photo shoot, and I felt a sense of accomplishment. And I found I was really looking forward to the next morning and our third and final photo shoot with Chadwick. If Chadwick was anything like the photos I’d seen of him, this was going to be exciting!

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Along about August or September of this year, I started to feel a real need for some new models. The situation was that I had not had a new model in several months. There’d been lots of possibilities, but for one reason or another things kept falling through. So I had an idea. My friend Kurt Brown, who’s a well-known photographer of the male nude in Southern California, seemed to always have really hot models. (In fact, he’s the one who hooked me up with Jorge, who modeled for me while visiting Hawaii with Kurt in January 2009.) I thought, maybe he can help me out. So I called him up, and made a proposal: Would he be interested in working with me if I came up to LA to do some photo shoots? I would pay the models, and Kurt would coordinate everything from his end—the models, the locations, the transportation. Then we would both photograph the model during the photo shoot. He thought it sounded like a great idea, so we started planning and working out the details.

As it happened, my model drought ended just a few days after my first conversations with Kurt, when I met and photographed Jeff. This was a great development—a hot new model!—and I was very excited to have some new images to work with. But the LA project was still looking like it was going to be an exciting adventure, and I decided to proceed with it. There’s no such thing as too many hot new models, right?

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So I flew up to LA in mid-October. Kurt was a sweetheart and picked me up at the airport and drove me to my hotel, the San Vicente Inn. This is an unusual little hotel in WeHo which is gay and clothing-optional and used to be a lot of fun and really wonderful, but which has gone downhill over the past few years. I chose to stay there anyway because the location and the price were right. (I was happy to discover, during my stay this time, that a new owner is working hard to bring back the glory of the San Vicente’s former days. I wish him luck and hope he is successful with that!) Anyway, I arrived late at night and Kurt had scheduled our first photo shoot (with a model named Marcelino) for 7am the next morning.

A few hours later, I woke to the sound of rain on the roof. I looked out the window and saw nothing but dark grey skies and lots of precipitation. Evidently a weather system was dumping rain on all of Southern California. We had to cancel the shoot but fortunately Marcelino was free the following morning and we were hopeful we’d have better weather. Frankly, I was pretty happy not to have to roll out of bed at sunup on the first morning…

I suggested we meet at 8 the next morning instead of 7 and that’s what we did. It was a bit hazy and cloudy but looked promising. I met Marcelino for the first time when I got into Kurt’s car. He’s of Mexican descent, born and raised in LA, 20 years old, and seemed sweet and kind of reserved. And very cute, of course.
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We drove for about a half-hour north and ended up in the San Fernando Valley, where Kurt knows a recreation area where he’s shot before. We pulled off the freeway and parked, then the three of us started hiking.

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We hiked around for awhile before finally finding a spot near a lake that looked promising. After Marcelino got naked, Kurt oiled him up with suntan oil. This is something I never do, but I learned from Kurt. It does make the model look better and tends to add to the drama of whatever the lighting situation may be. While they were doing that, I started looking around for ideas on exactly where I wanted the model to stand, and what angles I’d be shooting him from.

The natural place to begin was with the lake as a background, so that’s what we did. The light was still a bit grey but the sun was starting to emerge, and it looked like we were going to have at least a fairly decent day. I’m so used to shooting on beaches that putting the model against a lake as a backdrop was a novel experience. I love the stillness of it, and the reflections. There’s a calmness about Marcelino that goes well with the setting, too.

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We shot for a couple of hours, hiking from area to area in what turned out to be a fairly large wilderness area. The day had turned into a bright, sunny, hot one, and the light was great. Neither Kurt nor I had known what it would be like to be working together, both shooting and sharing a single model. Would we get in each other’s way, step on each other’s toes? As it turned out, we worked together seamlessly. And Marcelino was a wonderful model, easy-going, natural, handsome—a total delight. Both Kurt and I were very pleased with all the great shots we got. I couldn’t have asked for a better first photo shoot on this LA trip.

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Update to this Entry:

In January 2012 I published an e-book containing 60 uncensored photographs of Marcelino from the above photo shoot. You can purchase the book for instant download here.