The Male Subject

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It’s not often that I get the opportunity to feature the male nude as a photographic subject.  But when I do, I find it interesting how different my approach is compared to the female subject. There are clearly different challenges that must be addressed.

Lighting:  When lighting the male subject, I tend to use a much harder light source.  Barn doors and open dishes are used as light modifiers in lieu of soft boxes or umbrellas.

This produces a higher contrast to accentuate the texture of the model’s skin.  In addition, lighting from angles that produce shadows across the musculature is a great way to enhance definition.

Posing:  With female models, I love to see “S curve” shapes when they pose.  Bent limbs and curved hips tend to create beautiful lines and light play with the female form.   With the male physique however,  such poses would appear unnatural and unflattering.  Instead,      flexing of muscles and broad poses work well and really illustrate the power of the male body.

 Also, abstract sculptural poses offer a great approach.

Post Processing:  After a shoot, I really enjoy the process of giving each image my signature look.  This involves a lot of work with Photoshop and other programs.  Since I have gone completely digital with my workflow, this “digital darkroom” has become an integral part of my style.  With the male subject, I like to enhance the texture of the skin by increasing the contrast.  I also like to bring out the musculature and vascular properties of the subject by using selective dodging and burning.

These images are from a 2009 shoot with the incredible model; Zack.

This entry was posted in Fine Art Photography, Human Form, Male Nude and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Male Subject

  1. How fascinating! Even though I’ve worked with you and a male model several times, I never really understood how much difference you would see in our body lines and different effects you might seek in post production. It must be a terrific challenge to shoot a man and woman together!

    • A. J. Kahn says:

      That’s right Carla, it can be a challenge. I like to explore the juxtaposition between the male and female form quite a lot. Of course the lighting is the same when shooting a couple together. So in post production, I tend to enhance the contrast between the two by softening the female’s skin while bringing out the texture in the male’s.

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