Photo Shoots with Victor

I was out on the town a few weeks ago when a friend of mine introduced me to a guy named Vic. Vic was not just great-looking, he was intriguing. He was born in Colorado but his parents are Nigerian and he grew up in Lagos, moving back to Colorado for the last year of high school. Now he lives in California and he’s a Marine. He was passing through Honolulu on his way to Southeast Asia on assignment. So we met, and connected, and hung out a bit.

The more of him I saw, the more I thought, Hmm. This boy is model material. But he was only here for a couple of days, and I never got around to asking him if he wanted to model.

Then about a month later, in mid-November, I was surprised to get a call from Vic. He was in Honolulu again, on his way back from Asia to California. We wound up spending a lot of time together during the week he was here, and this time I asked him if he wanted to model for me. He said, Sure, why not?

So on a Wednesday afternoon Vic and I drove out to the Sandy Beach end of Oahu where there’s a rocky little beach I know of that’s seldom populated. The weather was not very good–cloudy and rainy–but that also meant that the beach was more likely to be empty of people. Luckily for us, it was. So we parked, hiked over the dunes to the empty beach, and while I began shooting pictures, Vic took off his clothes. Oh my god. What a body!

We were lucky that it wasn’t raining. In fact, that end of the island gets a lot less rain than other areas because of the way the trade winds blow, where the mountains are, etc.–this island has dozens of microclimates and this area is one of the drier ones. So it didn’t rain, and in fact there was even a bit of sun, though mostly I was shooting in very diffused light. That’s not necessarily bad though. I shot several hundred photos of Vic on the sand, in the water, climbing on rocks, etc., and despite the less-than-ideal lighting situation, I got a lot of great images. Well, it would be hard not to–the boy doesn’t have a bad angle!

On top of his amazing looks and body, he’s also a dancer, so he’s graceful without being any less masculine. He was a bit stiff and uptight, though, because he’s not used to modeling…so I still had to deal with all the stuff I usually have to deal with when I’m photographing someone who hasn’t modeled before–getting him to relax and stop trying to pose, and just play–by the end of the session Vic had relaxed quite a bit. Of course that just meant that instead of looking merely great, he began to look incredible.

The Second Day

Vic was staying with me, so that made it easy to schedule a second photo shoot–which I was eager to do because I knew I had barely scratched the surface with him, in terms of potential images. A couple of days after the first photo shoot, my friends Kei and Dick were generous enough to once again allow me to use their home and backyard pool for a second session. By now Vic was more relaxed with me, so the images were even better. Equally important was the fact that the weather was better, and I had bright sunlight to work with.

I’d been hoping to get to photograph Vic in direct sunlight, because as an artist I love what happens when bright sunlight strikes really dark skin. Light skin reflects the light more evenly than dark skin, which just means that there are fewer interesting lights and darks on a white boy than on a black boy. Black skin has dark darks and really bright highlights so it’s a lot more fun to draw and paint. (This is objectively true, and has nothing to do with the fact that I am much more attracted to dark-skinned than light -skinned men! No, really!)

So it was a great session. Vic’s more relaxed with me than he was a couple of days ago during the first photo shoot, and he’s clowning around more, which just makes for better images. The lighting, the model, the beautiful Hawaiian afternoon…it was one of those photo sessions that was more play than work, which is usually a good sign in terms of the results. I shot about 800 images in a couple of hours and got some really beautiful stuff.

That night we went out partying at Hula’s (that’s my good friend and surfing buddy Lani with Vic at left) and Vic went back home to California a couple of days later. I plunged back into my work routine, going through the 1500-plus photographs I shot of him and beginning to choose images to work from. I already have some likely candidates.

You can see much more of Vic in sharp, high-res uncensored photos by downloading the Victor e-book. It’s also available on CD.

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