|Spotlight: Kevin D Hoover Photography|
This month, we're thrilled to be featuring the stunning images of young NYC-based photographer Kevin D. Hoover, who has attracted a growing following online with his provocative images of naked men. We interviewed Kevin in his Brooklyn apartment, which also serves as his studio.
Do you shoot only in the studio or do you also travel for shoots?
Most of my shoots are done in the studio. But, I plan to explore more location shooting in the future.
You shoot some of the most beautiful male bodies I've ever seen. Where do you find your models?Amazingly enough, most of my guys (that's what I call the models, "my guys") I've met through Facebook. People complain about Facebook but it has connected me to some amazing people that I may never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
Some photographers of male nudes focus their work on the penis, particularly unusually large, erect cocks, while others are fascinated by the male ass. What is your favorite side of a naked man?
I am definitely an "ass man". But I won't shy away from a big hard dick...LOL. The problem that I've run into is some models don't want to do full frontal nudity. I make the most of the hand I'm dealt in any given situation.
Here at Paragon Men, we sometimes find that straight models are uncomfortable with eroticizing their ass, or with exposing their anus or anally caressing themselves. You don't seem to have that problem! Please advise how you put your models at ease.
I try to set an environment that's comfortable. When they first arrive, I sit and talk to them to get a feel for who they are as a person. Contrary to conventional wisdom, models are indeed people...LOL. I have them bring their iPod so we can listen to their music. That really helps to set the right mood. I let them know up front that if they start to feel tired or if I've suggested something that makes them feel uncomfortable, tell me and we'll pause. I'm very protective of my guys and they feel it. Knowing that they can trust me allows them to let their guard down easily. My set is very laid back. Music, laughter and capturing great images.
What are your thoughts on shooting in studio vs. shooting outside a studio setting?
Studio shooting allows for greater control of the situation. You can change back drops, lighting, props, etc. with ease. You also have control over who is and isn't on your set. Often with location shoots, especially in NYC, you have voyeurs. It's harder to make that photographer/model connection with a group of school girls screaming, "hey baby!" while you're trying to shoot...LOL.
How did your career start and develop? How/where were you trained? How long have you been a photographer?
My major was photography in college (Columbia College - Chicago). But that was before the dawn of creation. When I finished college, the reality of paying back student loans got in the way of my starving artist routine. I took one dead in office job after another and before I knew it, over a decade had passed without me even picking up a camera. But thanks to the wonderful internet, I ran across images by Rick Day, Thomas Synnamon and several other photographers and I was inspired to buy a DSLR and get back into it. I've been professional for two years now. I'm very proud of this journey thus far. I think I've come pretty far, pretty fast.
Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers? Shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and...oh did I mention that you should shoot? LOL. Take in constructive criticism and dismiss negativity. Find a subject matter that ignites your passion, not just something to collect a check. As you hone your skills and fine tune your craft, people will see and feel everything that you put into your work and the money will come.
Where has your work been published? Where can our readers find more of your work?
I'll just give the highlights...LOL. My first published work was December 2011 in Blake Magazine's Fifth Anniversary edition. Blake is a French men's lifestyle magazine. I've had one feature and two cover stories so far in BeautifulMag. There are countless blogs that have featured my work. And Bruno Gmunder Publishing, who also publishes the books by Rick Day, Thomas Synnamon, Justin Monroe and some of my other photographer idols/mentors just released (September 2012) the coffee table book, "Turnon: GEAR". I have several images in that. Like I said before, I've come pretty far, pretty fast. I'm so grateful for the support and kindness that has been shown to me.
What drew you to photographing nude images of men?
Seeing images by photographers such as Thomas Synnamon, Rick Day, Justin Monroe and several others. Their work literally made me say, "I want to do that!"
What are your thoughts on color vs. b&w physique photography?
I love and do both so for me, it's not an either/or proposition. I find it to be totally organic. Sometimes I'll know during the shoot but other times I won't figure it out until I'm editing. I've had images that almost screamed at me, "I need to be in b&w!" I think it takes a great deal of skill to create crisp, rich b&w imagery. I'm a work in progress...LOL.
How do you use lighting in your work?
Lighting sets the mood for the story you're telling as a photographer. I prefer a more dramatic lighting, which can be shadow heavy. The contrast creates a certain energy and the shadows add atmosphere and mystery. My own take of classic Film Noir.
Do you use any image enhancement or retouching software?
The industry staple, Photoshop.
Which photographers or artists have most inspired you? Whose work has most impressed you recently? Which new photographers are you watching?
Initially, I was inspired by George Hurrell, Rebecca Blake, Helmut Newton, Avedon, Skrebneski, Scavullo, Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts and a few others. Today I'm am influenced and impressed by Thomas Synnamon, Rick Day, Justin Monroe, Scott Hoover, Luis Rafael, Jorge Freire & Abel Cruz, Michael Stokes, and Mark Henderson to name a few. The new photographer to watch is that Kevin D. Hoover. He's going places...LOL.
What sort of work and/or services do you do and/or provide?
Of course, I do nudes. Both artistic and erotic. I shoot physique/fitness, fashion, head shots. I've even done product shoots. I also produce music. I've had my music productions appear in film, television shows, commercials and industrials. Yes, I multi-task.
What do you look for in a model? Have any particular models been muses for your work?
I look for the the confident, self-assured exhibitionist that lives within them. That persona which lies just beneath the surface. They all have it. It's the reason they pursue modeling but it's not always easy to bring out. Dee Whitt, whom you've featured before is the closest thing I have to a muse. We've shot several times and have built a great friendship. He's my Wonder Twin!
Which male body type do you prefer: bodybuilder, fitness model, slender beauty, all of the above, or other? Please discuss creating artistic images with different types of physiques.
All of the above but fitness model is my favorite because they are the most versatile. The slender beauty is great for fashion or for an artistic nude shoot where the focus is on the lines of the body and a softer silhouette. With body builders, no matter what they put on or take off, the focus is always going to be the power of their musculature. The fitness model has a little of both and so there is more that you can do with them. They can do some fashion, physique work, underwear/swimwear. Their look can run the gamut.
Shaved or hairy? What's your ideal?
Shaved allows you to see more definition and muscularity but hairy men are EXTREMELY sexy to me. So how about we meet in the middle with trimmed...LOL.
I noticed at least one man of a certain age among your models. Do you prefer the perfection of youth or the masculinity of middle-age?
It truly depends on the model. I've never been attracted to a type so much as an attitude. Confidence and a sense of self is very attractive to me and it can radiate from an image. Some men have it at a younger age but lose it as they get older because so much of their self-esteem is tied to their youth and beauty. Some men find that confidence and sense of self due to their life experience. So again, it all depends on the model.
What is the best way for models or fans to reach you?
People can drop me a message via my photo blog (http://kevindhooverphotography.tumblr.com), email me through my site (info@kiddmedia) or follow me on Twitter at @kevmusic@ (http:// twitter.com/kevmusic).