Missing The Connection

Today I have a subject coming into my studio to work at noon. He is someone that I have shot several times and his images have appeared several times this week on this project. He is a straight man that I somehow feel intimidated by, and thus have a barrier that I must overcome in order to reach out and prefect today images. I tend to hold certain subjects at a distance while others I bring close to me. This subject is great to work with and we are getting excellent results, but there seems to be a bond missing that shows an aloof distance and he is disconnected from me on an emotional level. It is vital that I talk to and get to know the subject prior to the shoot and break down and get to the core of his desire for creating such intimate images of himself. I did talk to this subject, but I am not sure I got to the motivation. I am not sure he is even sure of his motivation. I had originally approached him because I was drawn to his eyes and merely wanted to do a portrait of his face and eyes, but when he saw this project he was more curious to see how I would reveal him in my style. He seems fearless and takes direction well so I know he is trying to connect to what we are doing. When I first interviewed him I felt I did not make the emotional connection I do with most. I am not sure why? Did I not ask the right questions? Was he was just more reserved? It is my connection to the subject and their connection to me that gives my images such power. I must be emotionally invested in the subject for it all to work. He does bring his girl friend with him to the shoot and I always shoot great images of her as well. She and I had instant connection and I am able to direct and coach her; to draw out what I see, her beauty and desire are exceptional. Is it because I am a gay man that I am so easy to connect with her but not with him? Women as subjects in this type of imagery are always easy for me; I think because they accept my being gay as a non-threat in the process and we get to the core of working very quickly and it becomes easy. With him I am hesitant; perhaps because I do not want to make him feel silly or perhaps I fear crossing some unseen boundary of his masculinity and fear he may view me offensive to work with. To me he is the ideal subject of my art and desire. And it is recognizing my connection to this desire that I must confront for the image to work. I am drawn to the nude images of the French Rugby Team in the Dievx Dv Stade series shot for the French Calendar particularly the images shot by the French photographer François Rousseau. It is the masculine connection of classic Greek and Roman structure, the beauty of such power and strength. There are too many images of just pretty people out there; mine must contain that signature power of desire. It is something I must get over in order for this process to work. Am I trying too hard to draw him into my world of imagery and place him where he does not belong? Perhaps I need to meet him more in his world and bring my style to him. Today I have designed a new approach, I am going to work with our distance and move toward more classic images of grit and dirt.

2 thoughts on “Missing The Connection

  1. BDSpellman

    >Ah Terry, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Oh so many years ago, when I asked you to shoot me, I felt as if we never really connected on any level, and I think that is why neither of us were satisfied with any of the shots you took, and you did work so hard at that shoot. But something was definitely lacking, and I think "connection" is the proper key. To me, it felt as if you were afraid of me–afraid to touch me, direct me, reach deeply into me. I'd love to try it again, now that we're both older and more comfortable with ourselves.


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