My absence from the blog
I have spent much time on working with models and began with portraits, fashion inspired shots and continued exploring other fields such as fitness. By coincidence I began working with male models. Why? The first model who contacted me happened to be a man and I still remember how nervous I was when on my way to meet him. It didn’t take long before I understood that male models are not so much in demand. I won’t label myself as feminist, but equality between man and women should not be something strange or odd in today’s society – but it was only too obvious that the model business had other thoughts on that topic. Of course I knew I couldn’t change that, the agencies must provide what the market demands, but I could at least try to make a difference, no matter how small it is and decided that I would give male models a chance.
Later, a model told me that he knew a photographer and had asked him to take some pictures of him. His photographer friend turned it down by saying “No, I can’t do that, it’s too difficult”. Women can of course do more when it comes to posing, use and take advantage of their curves etc, but that is simply not reason enough for leaving roughly about fifty per cent of the population out. Ok, men are seldom as interested in modeling as women are, but there are a number of male models who are interested in creating images as model. Before you ask – yes, I have photographed female models as well and I’m happy to do it.
Ok, I have obviously learned something, because I don’t think of taking pictures of a man as “difficult” but one has to work from a different of thinking and posing. A different kind of light is often necessary. I will now contradict myself. Equality between the genders, definitely – but men and women are different and accepting that fact is, in my opinion, one step further on the road. Translated to photography it means that one should avoid things that works better on a female model. For instance, a high key shot often works better on a female because they can wear the makeup needed without giving peculiar vibes. I would not dream of asking a male put on a bright red lipstick only to be visible in the shot and to be honest, I would not dare either.
After having explored the standard repertoire, I felt it was time to widen my horizon and try out new fields. To create Fine Art was interesting and I even dared to try Fine Art Nude after a couple of years. I’m not reluctant to shoot nudes, but restrictive and ask myself a number of questions before I eventually go on with the planning.
Doing more artistic shots was and is fun, but one needs models who are interested in doing this and they don’t grow on trees. I also realised that I had to make a number of decisions to use as guidelines in my work before I could proceed on that path.
This business is full of stereotypes. Women are cute and often very feminine, men are strong, handsome and successful. Referring to sex one way or another is also popular, probably because it has been made an easy and convenient shortcut to popularity made possible by changes in society and the way we see and talk about it nowdays.
Different tutorials showed a huge variety in poses for women and could explain it all in an almost scientific manner. There are hardly any tutorials on how to pose men and the few I found showed maximum two poses and stated “Do like this – it will always work!”. Was this what I really wanted to do?
No, it was not! My decision was that I would not concentrate on exposing the human body only – expression would be my cup of tea. Having admitted that men and women are different, I thought I could also take advantage of this knowledge and at least try to show some of these differences.
A young woman who has a problem in the relation with her Prince Charming will probably discuss it for hours with all her friends and collect all the hints and tips she possibly can get on how to solve it. The man will probably try to solve it on his own and keep quiet about it, eventually he may confide in one of his best and closest friends. I am exaggerating here, I know, but I think you follow me now.
Showing the body from an aesthetic point was another of the decisions. Many photographers take photos of the human body… focusing on that particular body’s features only and with a rather static result/expression. Using the body and its shape as part of the composition in order to express and convey something is more to my taste. Suitable light setting is a must, of course. This was, in short (!) what I wanted to try my luck within. Maybe this can explain and show some of the differences in thinking between men and women?
Well, that remains to be seen. The important thing is not to say “No, I can’t, it’s too much” and so on. If we all do what we can, it will make a difference sooner or later and that’s what matters in the long run.
The series of images I have used in this post is from a series I shot called Under the surface we are all vulnerable human beings and the model Tobias T shows how a man copes with his problems on his own – as he is expected to if he wants to be thought of as a man. Many problems are easy to solve, but there are occasions when big decisions must be made. The problem can also be beyond our control; somebody else is responsible for the solution and there is not much we can do about it except to wait and waiting can be nerve wrecking. This goes on around us daily, but it is not much spoken of and that was my reason for taking these pictures and make it visible.
I hope you enjoyed them.