Unlike the last man I shot, Florian was tough and aggressive. For some reason I can’t explain, I didn’t take a single shot of his entire body. It was as if shooting him was almost fighting him and I had to stay close in, at arms length, inside his defenses.
Sometimes I’d have him stand, sometimes sit. But I never moved more than a foot or two away from him. His entire body was muscular, European peasant stock.I asked what kind of work he does. “I do housecleaning in the nude.”
Trevor was having an off day. Clay was also helping with lights, but he was off as well. I asked Florian if he’s gay or straight. He’s straight, “100% straight” is how he put it. Then he added “I do nude housecleaning for older gay men.” I asked if he ever had sex with them. Emphatically, he said “No!” I asked if they masturbate while he cleans. “Sometimes. It’s awkward if they do.” To say I was confused by this would be putting it mildly. I said “Your nipples are fucking extravagant.” I asked what he’d done to get them this big and beautiful. He was put off by the question. “They got big when they were pierced. I didn’t do anything.” I asked if they were sensitive, if he played with them. He didn’t answer.
I must have taken a hundred pictures of his chest. He didn’t seem to mind my obsessing over them.
There was a clear and almost gruff “hands-off” rule with Florian. It wasn’t exactly as though we were fighting each other, but we each resisted the other’s rules. For this shot I spent at least five minutes moving his fingers carefully, meticulously, my hand brushing against his cock. And while I did want his fingers to be exactly like this, I was also definitely reacting to his look-but-don’t-touch exhibitionism. Fundamental to my life is a belief that all men should touch each other as much as possible.
I moved so close that I could feel the warmth from his big healthy body. I told him to close his eyes and I moved his head back so his neck was exposed, the long scar on his cheek presented. “Tell me about the scar,” I told him. Without opening his eyes he told me about being in a fight when he was a child in Wisconsin. The fight was finished–he had won–but the other boy pulled out a knife and suddenly sliced Florian’s face. “How did you react to that?” I asked. “It was one of the best moments of my childhood,” he answered quietly.
I told him to open his eyes. I smiled and told him we were finished.
– PAUL MORRIS