Oddly enough, I don’t know how to work with men who’ve done much porn. When shooting porn, yes, but even then it’s necessary to perform little tricks that throw them off, confuse their “performance” so the real person comes through. And this man’s politeness–his niceness–threw me off even more.
For a while I tried putting him in obviously awkward poses. So much about him was beautiful but I wasn’t able to break through. It had little to do with him: I just sometimes don’t have the wherewithal to reach an interesting point of collaboration. I know I’m on fallow creative ground when I find myself cataloguing and shooting specific fetishes that I love. In this case it was his hairy chest. He was fine with my running my hand through the hair and taking multiple (uninspired) snapshots of it. Pony seemed to have a much deeper rapport with him. So I asked Pony to use one hand in simple poses with him. This is the only snapshot from that series that I liked: it seems overtly worshipful, gentle and masculine.
In the end I felt as though I’d completely missed his depths, failed to uncover any secrets. I’d like to blame the varnish of his porn experience, but I think the failing was completely mine. I’m sure he left plenty of clues. I just wasn’t adept enough to read them.