Justin performs his magic at bachelorette parties and other events, so we wanted to produce some images to appeal to that market. I wanted to create images that were revealing without the images coming across as obvious or vulgar.( I guess I could go off on a soapbox about a general lack of artistry in modeling portfolios, though usually its with female models being crudely photographed in submissive and diminutive positions.) I think he displays a lot of vulnerability as an actor and model, while at the same time bringing an intensity that is very engaging with the camera. I think the viewer is affected by this with intrigue- rather than dismissal as shallow or blatant objectification.
We met early, planning to enter an abandoned building for our photo shoot in Knoxville. I’m always out in search of new locations, and as of last week the place I’d found was still open enough to sneak inside. However, when I arrived on the scene the other morning I found the building boarded up from the outside, and had to act quickly knowing that Justin was making a 3 hour drive to be here. But, I knew of another location, one that was unassuming from the outside, but had wonders untold on the inside. It was as simple as conferring with the management and getting the go ahead to use the space. I’m not sure we were working within the parameters of the space they’d permitted, but no harm was done and the photos look amazing. This is just the first round of edits and there will be more to come! Photography: Kelly Grzasko Model: Justin Merker
I suppose I never get bored of editing photos. But I do get bored of doing things the same way. The paraphrased quote, “If you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” stands out to me. I don’t want to become complacent in my work. I realized as I was editing this series how I’ve become technically quite sound, and I know I can produce a stunning image without much thought. But is it art? If I am to be an artist then I must challenge myself to not only be diligent, but also to challenge myself to take risks. I don’t know how well these will be received, or even my own thoughts on them at the moment. Its still settling in. But, I think I like the attempt.
Photography: Kelly Grzasko
Model: Justin Merker