This was an interesting but difficult shoot. The subject lives on a boat so there is very little space for much in the way of personal possessions. As he says himself – his boat is an extension of himself as it is both living space and means of travel and escape. There was also very little lighting available which made shooting very awkward; perhaps I will have the chance to revisit during the day when there is much more natural light. The model is a very interesting guy who has led a very interesting life and it was really enjoyable spending time getting to know him. The disadvantage of this being it left me little time to actually capture images. He was one of those people that is very awkward when you point a camera at him and was in constant movement which under low lighting meant a lot of the images were blurred. Again I hope to be able to revisit him on another occasion now that he is much more comfortable in my company in the hope of having more time under better lighting to really take full advantage of his patience.
We did have a very interesting discussion about fetishes as he had been approached by someone wanting him to wear a hood during any sexual encounter. And we debated the origin of such a fetish – wondering if it came about from all the headless images of naked guys that you encounter on the internet and via hook-up smartphone apps. I found this particularly intriguing as it ties so closely to the intent of my current project. However I do note the irony that he is the third man who is quite happy to have his face shown in any resulting images. I started this project to explore anonymity yet most of the subjects I have worked with so far have not needed this level of discretion.
(Fig. 1) – I find this to be the strongest and most intriguing shot from the evening. Like red corpuscles floating through the bloodstream taking life giving oxygen to the body. But from the point of view of the gay world blood also has the potential to be highly toxic for its capacity to harbour HIV.
(Fig. 2) – This is virtually the only image I captured that is not too blurred. I am not happy with the shot as I feel it does not flatter the model sufficiently; he is a handsome man with a good toned body which does not come across in the shot. I do find it interesting as I was advised to look at Tom Hunter’s Travellers project (Fig. 3)
just before the shoot & this shot (Fig. 2) has a rather similar aesthetic to some of Hunter’s images from that project. I do like the two-toned colour cast by the different lighting in the cabin and the natural candour of the shot. But the background is too busy and competes with the model for attention. There is a hint of Nan Goldin in the unabashed nakedness, but I feel I have not done the subject the justice he deserves.
The rest of the shoot was fairly weak in comparison to what I hoped to achieve.