Happy Valentines to readers of FH who are in a relationship, and a special shout out to those who are not. I hope regardless of your relationship status, you get a little sugar high as you bite into some of today's man candy!
You can check out more of Raphael, and his candy package, by clicking today's Flashback:
Last month, when profiling photographer Martin Visser's new images of Juan-Dre, (Epic Battles) I tukced away these two shots of the South African model for Valentine's. I am sure you agree, Martin's shots of Juan-Dre are a huge step up from most of those short and chubby depictions of cupid that we usually see.
In many ways, 'flow' is an ideal word to describe this shoot, and the holiday that inspired it. All of the major organs in our body connected to love and romance, passion and sex, rely on a powerful flow of blood pulsing though our body to our heart and sexual organs. Although there are many reason two people may not connect, it could be argued that it all comes down to the intensity of flow the person we're with, is capable of stimulating.
This pulsating flow, is beautifully illustrated in the red and sparkled design and lines that enrwrap the beautiful bodies of model's Jay and Mike. The design, by New York makeup artist Charles Zambrano glides and encircles over body parts and skin, creating a symmetry and connection between body organs and human emotions, as well an artistic tie, that visually links both models together. Charles' design also provides a decorative ribbon, enwrapping the Valentine present they adorn.
New Manhattan Studio's Wes describes the Valentine inspired shoot as the successful result of his long desired goal to participate in and photograph a body-painting session. After meeting make-up Charles Zambrano, Wes became excited at the prospect of an artistic collaboration. Charles had previously worked with NMS second cameraman, and one of FH's favorite models, Alex Corso, who heartily endorsed him. The project they initially planned (and still hope to execute) was not, however, where their collaboration began last week.
Last week was all about the February holiday, a holiday which FH readers have come to look forward to sharing with NMS. Last year, many of use enjoyed part of our Valentines with Norm, the year before, many of us felt the flow with Bond. Although it was posted in April, Wes also shared a 2014 Valentine themed shoot with Claudiu. This year, we get not, but two (and maybe even three) Valentine virtual dates to celebrate a holiday, either loved or loathed, depending on your relationship status.
Although I always like to include 'behind the scenes' shots, when it comes to body painting, these process shots are an especially welcome addition. Not only is incredibly hot observing the creation of the final pieces of art, they also spotlight the many professionals who came together to bring us our Valentine present. In addition to Wes and Charles, Alex was also brought in to shoot and assist. Also in the studio was Jonathan Diaz. Jonathan was a guest in the studio who Wes said more than earned his keep. He assisted Charles in the makeup room and later assisted both Wes and Alex on the studio floor. Jonathan even ended up taking over the second camera role near the end of the session when Alex's flow began to head in another direction...
'When I shared with Charles my interest in creating some different Valentine’s art for 2017, he jumped at the chance to participate. In very short order we pulled in not one but two models for what would be a Valentine’s feature with a fantasy couple as opposed to a single model. Since we would only be in the studio for four hours, the design was simplified so that two models could be painted and shot within our allotted time. 'We started tweaking lights and exploring ideas with Mike as Jay was ushered into the dressing-with-paint room. It took less time to finish all the painting than expected; Charles had the help of a guest of the studio, Jonathan Diaz, a friend who had asked permission to shadow me at a photo session. In the accompanying pictures, Charles, the makeup artist, is in black. Jonathan wears a cap.'
'Jay is older of the two models and Mike, at 20, was the junior-most member of the collaborators. Once both models were painted and on the paper, Charles stepped in to direct the composition of the art. For my part, I was happy to be capturing the process as well as the finished art. Once I finish removing red glitter from the corners of the dressing room, I hope my studio landlord will let me invite the body painter back, too.'
Check out more images from the Valentine shoot on New Manhattan Studio's HERE:
We all know the key to a great story lies in the ending, especially if it's unexpected. Over the course of the last week or so, Wes told me the story of his Valentines shoot. But Wes was coy, he started out sticking to the facts, describing the concept, the body painting, the camera assistants on the shoot. He sent on a few sample images telling me a little bit about Mike and Jay and the process of bringing everyone together. Just when I thought the story had come to a close, and I had my Valentine's piece ready to go, Wes slyly slid in a coda. I leave it to him explain what happened at the end of the shoot.
'I had agreed, at Tye's request, to add a few shots of model-in-residence, Alex, who serves as the stylist and second camera on most of our shoots. Alex has been featured on FH several times we had planned to spend five minutes at the end of the body-painting session to capture a couple of shots of him posing with only our trusty red heart, object of Valentines past.'
'As a matter of style, I have grown accustomed to including work from a second camera in most of the studio’s edited work. To a large extent this is a reflection of the impact of Alex Corso’s shooting style on the studio’s work. As he captures the room as well as the models, increasingly I am seeing contextual elements as part of the studio’s esthetic. Light stands that might once have been Photoshopped out of my own work are being left in. So when it was Alex’s rare turn to step onto the paper, I had him give his camera to Jonathan, our guest. I was pleased to hear that Jon was familiar with the make and model of the camera and ask Alex to spend a couple of minutes with him before the hand-off of the second camera.'
'I was finishing the last of the work with Jay and Mike as Alex returned. Both Jay and Mike knew that Alex would be posing next and Jay motioned for him to come onto the paper. Standing in front of him, Jay announced that now he and Mike got to be the stylists and with that, and they proceeded to pull his clothes off. Alex was confused as to what was going on and what was supposed to happen next, but put up little resistance to their efforts to strip him.'
'I’d been looking for a possible way to integrate Alex’s picture with the rest of the shoot. What I had not been expecting (novice that I am at such sessions) was the opportunity to capture the models as they started to remove (or smear) the paint at the end of the session. Alex got integrated into the ritual. Before ending there, however, we managed to work Alex into a few of the art shots, including a couple that may be paying tribute to posters for The Supremes. We got Alex alone with the red heart as we’d planned. But by that point, the heart wasn’t the only thing that was red.'