Jason Nudes #101, 2001

The fourth image in the series is was still a work on film called Jason Nudes #101. I had finally acquired a medium format camera that gave me a larger negative to work with. I was getting heavily involved with the gay community, becoming involved with the politics and building a stronger healthier community. Some friends and I had started a monthly publication called OutSpoken, which lasted about two years, dealing with social issues that were happening around us. I was beginning to meet all sorts of people that I didn’t even know existed in the community around me. My reputation as a photographer was beginning to grow for shooting or wanting to work in the area of beautiful black and white male nudes. Men began to approach me asking to work on images. My studio space was beginning to develop and I hired a talented scene designer to paint some interesting backgrounds. What I was learning in the community was that most of gay life in Montana kind of existed in a sort of fractured world, and this became a theme that began to emerge in the images I was creating. Now my studio hot light kit had grown to more controllable lighting using scrims to filter and control the light to enhance mood and tone. I was a huge fan of the painter Edward Hopper and have always felt a kinship the emotional disparity of the subjects of his painting. The deep shadows at the end of day casting long shadows the enhanced the inner psychology of the state of mind of the Great American Depression era from which his images sprang. I was also obsessed with pornography and the erotic power it had on my own desire. So I began to do these elaborate set ups in my studio to create a light and a quality of image that was more about my own feeling of who I was at that moment in my life and the sexual seduction of desire and the voyeuristic eroticism that could emerge from my skills as a photographer. This was part of a series and my first and only attempt at shooting pornography.

Jason had come to me and asked if I was interested in working on these types of images. I was and we began to come up with a series of shoots to explore the possibility. This is the beginning of a nine image series as we move deeper within its depths. I remember the feeling of the session becoming like a hypnotic trance; because I had to then shoot at night, the studio filled with only the beauty of this light. I kept shooting, with no point of reference because it was film. But I had become very good a lighting and exposure and had control of what I was capturing. We never submitted the images for publication and Jason moved away from Missoula shortly after the shoot and did not get to see the actually final images until I found him on Facebook some years later. This series of images becomes important to me because for the first time I felt like I had prepped and set up my studio for the shoot and just allowed my instincts press the shutter to capture the sequence. I was very erotically charged and responded to my visceral impulses, letting go of all technical aspects and connecting on a purely emotional level with my craft. It was the first time I felt myself merge with the process; the camera was now an extension of me. It’s a remarkable moment in your evolution when you reach that moment of non-separation of the psyche and the craft and it all becomes one and what is allowed to emerge in the remarkable pure moment of passion you feel within it. Every time I gaze upon this series I still feel that moment of hypnotic response, touching the sense memory of my heart racing, my breath stopping, my palms breaking into a sweat, becoming suspended in time and a place of ethereal bliss and eroticism.

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