Reason For Shoot:
After photographing people for most of my adult life, I rarely had the need or the inclination to be on the other side of the camera. In fact, if truth be told I had intentionally avoided being in front of the camera at all costs (apart of course from those awful party photos after one too many beers). This was mainly due to my lack of confidence in my appearance and general feeling of discomfort when being faced with how I really look! So to be naked on the wrong side of the lens was indeed way outside of my comfort zone and certainly something that I never imagined I would be doing.
Things said to you at a young and impressionable age can have a lasting effect. Whether they are said in jest or are a teasing remark made by the school bully makes no difference, the effect is the same, as I have found. Several times in my life I received unwelcome comments about my somewhat lean appearance and more seriously my rather skinny legs and even skinnier ankles. For me this made the wearing of shorts and swimming trunks quite an ordeal for many years. Baggy t-shirts and jumpers and long trousers were definitely the order of the day.
When Zena suggested that I should be our male test subject to shoot some new material for our mens' gallery, I was appalled and despite my strongest protestations I was finally talked around on the proviso that firstly I had 100% control over the lighting and secondly it was to be a waist upwards shoot only. Of course Zena had always helped me to overcome my body issues as fortunately I have the body type that she likes! The shoot, however was going to need some very gentle handling on her part. She was of course outstanding. She was perfectly patient with me and as the images came through on the computer in the studio she was pointing out all the things on the images that she loved. I could tell too that she was totally enjoying being on the other side of the camera creating what I can now see are some really beautiful and artistic images.
Amazingly, I didn't just like the images that I was seeing, incredibly vain as it sounds, I loved them! I could see the muscle tone in my back that Zena has always said I have and I saw a six pack for goodness sake that I never knew I had (I had been to a gym twice in my life before this!) I even became accepting of those skinny legs. The experience was totally surreal for me. I was being a model one minute and a lighting consultant the next. Almost without realising it I had progressed to being naked and having my skinny ass photographed for our website! these were going to be seen by everyone! I know this sounds strange but parading naked in front of my wife posing for pictures should not really be that big a deal, she is my wife after all. But before the shoot I was more than reluctant with this idea. as being nude, bearing in mind my body hang-ups, was not something I was particularly comfortable with. Yet here I was, starkers, posing here, tensing some muscles there, trying this pose and then that pose and if I'm going to admit this anywhere it might as well be here - I loved it. I don't care what anyone thinks about how this sounds, I felt great and I looked great. I was forty something, nine stone wringing wet but I felt like I had arrived! And the best bit? Zena loved my pictures too. Obviously on this occasion she was the photographer, but she saw them as works of art, worthy of hanging on the wall, beautiful, sculptural sexy images, and they were of me!
The experience has given me more body confidence that I ever thought possible. Initially, after the pictures were published I kept my anonymity and didn't tell people they were me, I was quite shy about admitting my newly found body image. Now? Well I tell everybody and I'm proud to have been through the experience and happy to show anyone who wants to see. Going through the same journey that our clients do has given me a unique perspective on our own business. I can totally understand how our clients feel from beginning to end and share in that fantastic buzz they get when they see their images.
I actually enjoyed the experience so much and got so much from the shoot that I have been in front of the camera a second time and I'm now planning my third although this time I giving some time to the gym to maximise the results, so the experience has even made me a healthier, fitter person.
It's not just ladies who have body issues and lack body confidence, men do to. I did and although I'll never be 100% over them I now focus on my good points instead - my legs, they're not that bad, those abs, chest and back muscles though will do me just fine, and Zena, well she's still raving about my bum!