Spotlight: Simon Barnes - Hotsnapz


For October 2010, Paragon Men is privileged to shine the Paragon Spotlight on the magnificent images of London-based photographer Simon Barnes, creator of HOTSNAPZ.

Do you shoot only in the studio or do you also travel for shoots?

My studio is in London but I am allowed out every now and then LOL

What sorts of images do you create? Do you have a favorite category?

My images range from fashion to physique but I suppose my male images are what I'm best known for.

What are your thoughts on shooting in studio vs. shooting outside a studio setting?

In a studio you have far more control of lighting etc, especially in our unpredictable English climate. It's also far more comfortable for everyone involved in the shoot to know we are not at the mercy of the elements. Having said that it's difficult to produce images on "the grand scale" without resorting to too much photoshopping in a studio environment.
The English coast and our architecture particularly appeals to me

How did your career start and develop? How/where were you trained? How long have you been a photographer?

I was photographing way before the days of digital when any corrections had to be done by hand on each print, so I'm fairly old school in my approach. I like to get the main bulk of each shot right in the camera..too many images I see now are over photoshopped ..I don't like plastic faces..I want to see the detail!
Being self trained I guess I developed my style from a series of mistakes rather than any cleverness on my part. The Hotsnapz style has only developed over the last 5 years or so, again by accident. I was heavily into fashion photography and one of the models had a bodybuilding friend who needed a few images....

Do you have any basic advice for aspiring photographers?

Get a decent camera and learn how it works.
Enjoy what you shoot..creativity is dead when you don't enjoy it.

Where has your work been published? Where can our readers find more of your work?

You can stumble on it pretty much all over the web and in magazines and I have a special relationship with BeautifulMag. Just Google Hotsnapz.

What drew you to photographing artistic nude images of men?

I think it's a natural development from photographing physique.
Guys are suddenly realizing they look great and want a record of it...they're good to have when you're 50 and look back on how you looked.LOL

What are your thoughts on color vs. black & white physique photography?

I love both ... early digital was great with colour (sorry I'm English) but didn't have the depth in black and white but now its excellent.

How do you use lighting in your work?

Lighting and styling are the two most important things for me.
The subtlety of light is amazing, you can hide or enhance details in each image and photographs are only images of reflected light..if the light's wrong the image fails

Do you use any image enhancement or retouching software?

I use Photoshop sparingly to correct skin textures, colour balance...and to hide my mistakes.

Which photographers or artists have most inspired you? Whose work has most impressed you recently? Which new photographers are you watching?

Maya Guez and Mark Henderson are my special favourites.. I think their work is thrilling and original.
For how to shoot black and white look at Cecil he's OLD school!!!
I watch ALL new photographers...they may be better than I am.

What sort of work and/or services do you do and/or provide?

I can provide anything from portfolio shoots to advertising campaigns. Also selected images are available as prints.

What inspired you to start your blog?

Boredom........If only that were true!
I just wanted an outlet to showcase a model in a fuller form than the single image that most photographer's profiles can provide. I've been fortunate to work with some amazing models and it's only fair to give them exposure.. no pun intended.
Apart from a few run ins with the dreaded Photobucket I've managed to keep it fairly hot too.

What do you look for in a model? Have any particular models been muses for your work?

No ego..I hate ego. Confidence have to have that in bucket loads to survive this industry. And honesty.
Some of my guys have been with me 5 years or more, so I guess they are my muses.

Which male body type do you prefer: bodybuilder, fitness model, slender beauty, all of the above, or other?

Ever type has an appeal. I love to produce something eye catching and memorable so working with each models gives you fresh ideas

What is the best way for models or fans to reach you?

Through my blog or through




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