I was given the opportunity to revisit this model and was determined to capture at least one shot this time that was both intriguing enough to become part of this project while also flattering the model He is a fine figure of masculinity; the kind of guy you would be rather surprised to find out was gay. There is an oft bandied term around the gay scene which is ‘straight acting’ – he has no need to act as his natural demeanour would give no hint to his sexuality. One of the straightest gay men I have ever encountered. There is a tendency these days to shame certain sections of our community even within our community. There is a shocking amount of homophobia, racism, sexism transphobia which is rather disgusting when you consider the Rainbow flag we so proudly wave is supposed to be all encompassing.
(Fig. 1) His home upon the boat is limited with storage so everything is practical and there is no real room for frivolity or mere decoration. It is therefore a little bizarre to come across a small disco mirror ball hanging in his cabin. It is tradition to use a Black Anchor Ball to tied to your mast to show you are at anchor, but he chooses to use this mirror ball instead. Partially as a way to thumb his nose at the attitude of the yacht crowd but also as a means for him to easily identify his mast from a distance as it invariably shines bright with reflections. My capture of this reflects the flesh tones of our naked forms and has a slight turquoise cast to hint at the colour of the sea.
(fig, 2 & 3) The only other objects on the boat that do not serve a totally practical purpose are these two plants. They are a reminder and memento of his previous occupation as a landscape gardener. He keeps them to feed his nurturing nature and it is testament to his skills that they thrive in the salty atmosphere with such close proximity to the sea.
(Fig. 4) His compass placed me in mind of something from a 1960’s James Bond movie as you half expect it to be part of a bomb or on the console of the megalomaniac villain. For my part it signifies direction and a tool for always ensuring you know where you are; where you are heading and where home located. It represents a great deal of his character; as, though he may be very nomadic with his lifestyle he is a very grounded person who is not lost in any way.
(Fig. 5,6,7) Having spent much of my childhood summers messing about on boats I was looking for objects in his environment that evoked this lifestyle in my memories.
(Fig. 8) He was a lot more relaxed in my company during this shoot and while the small space left little options when it came to composition or framing of shots I did manage to capture a handful of him relaxed in his environment. I still had Tom Hunter’s Travellers project in mind when I was looking for shots. Trying to capture him relaxed, performing tasks rather than asking him to pose in any form. The cabin was quite dark despite it being a sunny day, but the mirror ball hung on the roof cast lovely discs of light on the bunk and on his form. While I was trying for a naked portrait there is still a distinct sexuality to the image that crosses the boundary to become a nude. His legs are open in invitation and his eyes cast away from the viewer so we are not confronted by his gaze as we enjoy our gaze of him. He is undeniably the male, yet there is still a slightly languorous femininity to the pose which reminds us of numerous oil paintings of barely clad female forms in traditional western art. It has been mentioned before of the similarity of some of these images to the traditional reclining female nude. And I am still unsure whether the ‘pose’ is simply a comfortable position; whether it is something unconsciously adopted by the model in reference to expectations of what a nude should be or whether it is down to my composition of the shot when I frame it. Nevertheless it is still interesting to reverse this tradition in portraying the naked male in the way we usually expect to see the nude female.