Fire Island Summer

September 24, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

The summer of 2020.  

The summer of Covid.  (More likely, the first summer of Covid.)

The beaches of Fire Island beckoned as ideal outdoor shooting venues for the studio's physique art.  

Having closed all in-studio operations in March with the start of New York City's lockdown, we were eagerly monitoring the City and State's infection rates over the spring.  By summer the city was opening up for a variety of activities, requiring social distancing and masks.  We had a brief window of time before seasons and temperatures changed; we seized the opportunity to salvage what we could from the year.

Fire Island is famously home to a gay summer resort community nestled on a narrow strip of land on a barrier island about a mile offshore from Long Island.  Since the 60s, The Pines and Cherry Grove have been home to thriving gay summer resort communities with long-ingrained traditions and cultures.  It should also be noted that the communities have first-hand experiences with epidemics.  The HIV epidemic wiped out a generation of homeowners and the island's two gay communities are no longer exclusively gay domains; it is common to see children on the boardwalks and beaches.   There is a great deal of money here.  International celebrities and A-list New Yorkers own expensive homes precariously perched on dunes in the path of Atlantic hurricanes.  

The fact that it is so difficult to get to only adds to Fire Island's mystique and allure.  Those coming out from the city without cars ("most" New Yorkers) take busses or trains from Manhattan to a town on Long Island where they catch a ferry to Fire Island.  Once on the island there are no private cars or taxis.  Getting off the boat they drag wagons of groceries over boardwalks to their houses, perhaps a mile or more from the dock.

We had worked on Fire Island years ago and I remembered it for an abundance of shooting venues where models could comfortably work in the nude. There are people around and no guarantee of privacy, but stumbling upon a nude photo session while walking through the dunes would be inconsequential.  More on that in the following posts.

Given the time, effort and expense in getting models and cameramen onto the island, it only made sense to work with two or more models per trip.  It was a long day for all.  Six hours in the sun were sandwiched between 3-hour car and ferry rides.  Models got home 12 hours after they were picked up.

Of the 5 models that had been on the studio's calendar when we closed operations in March, only one was still in the metropolitan area.  It took a few weeks to herd the cats but by mid-August we scheduled 3 trips to The Pines, shooting on the beach and in the Meat Rack, the notorious stretch of dunes between the two gay communities on the island.  It was a 3-part master class in shooting at the beach that started with the models Joshua and Camilo.  More about all of that in a couple of following posts.

First, we start by opening new galleries for Joshua and Camilo.  Joshua had shot with us last year and was on Fire Island when we started reaching out to models.  Camilo, a native of Medellin, Colombia, started his day in New Jersey.

I cannot close without commenting on the shot at the top.  Two photographers worked with two models in solo sessions for most of the day.  It was a breezy and sunny August day; the photographers kept their distances with telephoto lenses. 

At the end of the day all four of us were working together at the water's edge.  As the models backed further and further away from us, the waves became harder and harder to withstand and they reached for each other to brace themselves.

It made for a short series of pictures and we didn't give it second thought at the time but while the models  were being drenched by the surf, clearly social distancing rules had been breeched.   I am pleased to note that six weeks later no one reported becoming ill.

More follow in 2021 (including new models!).  Here are the Fire Island links to-date:





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Sunset time. . .

Bond at Sunset

Bond retired from modeling with a 3-day extravaganza of a photoshoot.  These are the images from his last afternoon and evening as a model.  The final work of a 5-year career.  60 images, NSFW. Hard copy magazines or instantly-downloadable PDFs. 

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