Why he came to me is a mystery. He’s straight, wealthy, a member of an “old money” family in San Francisco. At the end of the shoot when I tried to hand him a check, he said “Out of the question.” He had an intense, charismatic presence. I had to wonder how much of this was in my imagination. I thought of the exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway:
Fitzgerald: “The rich are different.”
Hemingway: “Yes, they have more money.”
It was hard for me not to feel as though I should have a grander studio, a better camera, more assistants.
We approached full nudity shyly. I don’t know if this was me or him or both. I said “Let’s turn the chair around. Maybe crouch on it.” He said “Fine, that’s good.” After shooting the full body nudes for a while, I started to want to make him look as unattractive as possible. I honestly don’t know why. I told him to stand squarely and push his stomach out as far as possible. Instead of laughing or asking why, he simply did it. You can see the muscles in his abdomen. He had to push hard to look like this.
His hands, like his feet, were perfect, groomed, smooth. But there was an almost unnatural strength to everything about him. He’s the result of what believers in class call “good breeding”. He carries the seeds of the upper class.
I asked where he lives. He has houses in several cities and likes London. I think he was put off a bit by this shot. When I said “You have me under your feet” he looked off and didn’t respond.
Yours Truly – Paul Morris