Tuesday, November 29, 2011

INTERVIEW: Inside the Colorful, Sexy Male Model World of Photographer Ron Reyes

Colorful, sexy and fantastical, the male model photography of Ron Reyes seems to take us on a journey. Many of his photographs of muscular, chiseled males appear to tell a story, inviting us along for the ride. With Ron, the image is much more than a muscular nude male. It's an invitation to take a trip. 

I recently published some of Ron's excellent work as part of an interview with male model Jose Ramon Oliva. Now it's a pleasure to present this exclusive interview with the photographer himself.

Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?
I'm originally from Hawai'i, migrated to the midwest for school andArt College in Chicago, until I finally settled out in Southern California, about 15 minutes from Laguna Beach.

How long have you been a photographer, and how did you get started?
I'd say I've been a "Photographer Enthusiast" for about 20 years. I got started back in high school, and have been dabbling with it since studying at the American Academy of Art — but I'd never taken it seriously until the SLRs made the move to digital, when it became a lot less cost-prohibitive to pursue. However, the downfall of that is now everybody can claim to be a "Photographer" with a good digital camera these days — which I'm sure has impacted the potential profit margin for professional photographers who have been in the business for a long time now.

Your work with male models is stunning. How would you describe
your style, and is there a feeling or message you hope to communicate?

Thank you, Mark!  My style ... although I have done standard commercial photography, it's not what excites me ... I'd say the style that I always favor is tableau-style artistic nude photography. So in my imagery, I love to communicate a mild, forbidden sensuality, with a play of rich colors, some ethnic inspiration and/or story — as well as capturing a moment of the model in their most prime form. Since I know that youth is so temporary, it's so beautiful for me to try to preserve in a photograph. So I generally shoot to convey a feeling of positive sensual teasing, since we are all sexual beings after all.

I try to avoid the antagonistic "shock-value" style you may have seen in a lot of art-nudes out there. I think there is already so much shocking negativity in the media and evening news already, I'd rather try to perpetuate an ethereal world of beauty and sensuality that will encourage Love-making among mankind, and not encourage conflicted controversy, violence or upset. But, as an artist, I do have moods, and when I feel angry, it will normally reflect in my work. But the bottom line is, I never want my models to look ugly or scary ... I'm mostly there to try to capture a beautiful and flattering angle which will make me as happy as the model. =)

What do you look for in your male models?
Well, obviously, like most photographers, I always look for a model that has universal society appeal (in terms of physical features that most of us find attractive). I realize this varies with personal taste and opinions -- and since I am of Pacific Island descent, I personally find a feeling of "home" and attraction to familiarity towards that particular look. I understand that THAT particular look isn't as "universally accepted" as are the Abercrombie/Calvin Klein types, but I figure there are way more than enough photographers who DO already perpetuate that look.

To make a photoshoot successful, it takes a model who is very open-minded, easy-going and trusts the artist's vision — if a model doesn't have that basic personality characteristic, the shoot will become uptight, hindered and just not a creative nor fun environment. So it is a very important requirement that models be comfortable with their bodies — otherwise they shouldn't be modeling — or it will be very difficult for them to find work.

What advice you give a male model who is just starting out?
I always advise my models, if they want a diverse portfolio, I encourage that they do their research and find different photographers with different styles and hire those photographers so that they get that special diversity for their portfolio. The fact that they broaden their horizons and work with other photographers will help in opening potential doors — and networking with as many people in the field as possible, which is so important if they really want to be noticed and compete in this industry.

Some of your most striking work is of the male nude. Do you have
any wisdom to share with male models who may be considering shots in
this genre, but aren't sure if it's the right move for their career?

Nudity definitely takes a special kind of person to be comfortable with it — not only does one need the confidence and the physique to pull it off successfully, they also cannot be shy, or else the shoot becomes stifled. A bashful personality isn't going to get a model very far in this business.

It's too bad that our society has been so religiously brainwashed into believing that nudity is somehow "evil" — even though we are all born that way. It's no wonder that there is this big controversy over nudity. But on the flip side, if it weren't for that controversy, my work wouldn't even have been noticed by great people like you. :)

Many famous people have posed nude, even on the big screen -- and it  only enhanced their notoriety as well as their careers -- which has turned them into worldwide sex symbols. I obviously wouldn't recommend it if the model has future aspirations to have a career in politics, education, or religion - the tabloids just eat that shit up.

How do you find the locations and concepts that you'd like to dowith each model?
When I look at a model or make initial contact with them, each model has their own unique look — and that alone triggers a cascade of ideas and character roles that I imagine that particular model could convincingly portray. Locations become secondary to the story I try to portray with each model.

What have been your proudest or most exciting moments so far in your career?
The most exciting moments are when a particular model of mine gets that exposure and notoriety as a direct result of our work together. I'm such a people-pleaser that I just find that, within itself, so gratifying! I get super excited when the model and I are completely
happy with our work together, that's all I seem to need, because I know my work is a bit "out there" for average folks. I know I can't please everyone, so I've simply gotta make me and the model happy, and that's all that matters.

What's the best way for us to follow your amazing work?
The best way to follow my work is on the following Websites:


Thanks so much, Mark, for this opportunity to interview with modelJOCK Magazine!
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