After the well-received feature starring Norm on Valentine’s Day, the powers-that-be at Favorite Hunks suggested that we conjure up a St. Patrick’s Day-themed photo series featuring the model Alex who also serves as the studio’s assistant and second cameraman.
When we accepted the challenge we quickly found ourselves racking our brains as to how to turn a very Hispanic-looking Colombian into a Leprechaun.
No matter how hard we tried, we could not think of any rainbows and pots-of-gold scenarios that didn’t seem trite or contrived. Ultimately, we narrowed the ideas down to two concepts that seemed to convey the über-Irish theme of the day.
The first half of the session was devoted to capturing physique art shots in a more classical vein, using green fabric on the model and green gels on the strobes. The second, with a slightly more erotic bent, involved painting shamrocks on the model and turning up the green heat under the guise of “Kiss Me I’m [obviously not] Irish.”
The green fabric and lights fell into place easily. To my surprise, the shamrocks turned out to be the creative challenge of the day. With Alex in front of the camera, I had invited a friend of the studio to help out at the session. An architect by profession, we decided that the artistic nature of his day job qualified him for the job of shamrock body painter. Unfortunately, none of us had ever worked with body paints before and it shows. Oh, well. It’s the spirit that counts and hopefully the green shamrocks on Alex’s torso might be bright enough to attract a Leprechaun or two.
Separately, I am coming to appreciate how Alex’s vision as second cameraman has had a greater influence on the studio’s art than I had realized. Often he will be taking shots from the side or rear of the studio as the model on the paper is focused on the lead camera in the front of the room. His shot is of a model is posing, but not for him. At times the shots are quite wide, and capture the mood and ambiance of the studio.
It has been from staring at the many striking images that he has taken from unorthodox angles and perspectives that I have begun to appreciate the art hidden in the casual studio shot. I have started paying closer attention to the behind-the-scenes shots and throw-away jpgs such as those taken while tweaking lighting.
Many of Alex’s “blog shots” (our term for the behind-the-scenes shots you see on our blog pages) have justifiably been included in our galleries and I find it amusing that I am the one whose career started in photojournalism and it is Alex who is creating art by documenting the model at work.
Image With Alex in front of the camera for the St. Patrick’s shoot (and no second cameraman to “capture the moment,” as it were), I found myself searching out some of Alex’s perspectives to get some of his style of shots. Examples of such documentary work are included in the St. Patrick gallery.
Two such images warranted additional editorial time to coax the art out of the shadows. The first was taken before the session began. It’s a shot of the model, waiting quietly on the paper as the lights are being tweaked (above, right). The second is a similar shot taken in the middle of the session: the model, waiting yet again, as the body painter prepares the paint. You can find that picture here. The last two pictures on this page were taken moments later.
You can find more images of Alex St. Pat in the St. Patrick Day gallery. For a limited period of time, a selection of photos from Alex’s St. Patrick’s Day session will be available in the Fine Art Gallery.
Alex is featured in Captured Shadows #2. This special double issue features Alex's work in front of and behind the cameras at New Manhattan Studios. You will find 90+ pages of Alex and ten other models. You can preview it and find All Things Alex at New Manhattan Studios by clicking here