Photographer Bruno Rand descends on Dallas in search of the next fashion pinup boy. Could it be you?
IN THE FLESH
Model contest at JR.’s Bar & Grill, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Jan. 13. Registration at 9:30 p.m.; contest at 11 p.m. Caven.com
Bruno Rand has a taxing job — long hours, relatively low pay, lots of travel. Then again, there are probably few gay men who wouldn’t jump at the chance to change places with him, even for a day.
A fashion photographer who specializes in sexy underwear and swimsuit shoots, the Arkansas-born Rand spends his days surrounded by hot, muscled models in various degrees of disrobe. And he’s planning to continue that work in Dallas this week. On Wednesday, Rand will be in town for a model contest at JR.’s Bar & Grill, where local men can compete for cash, the chance to appear in one of his sexy calendars and bragging rights for hottest guy in Texas.
And we know Texas is full of hot guys already.
Before his appearance, Rand discussed how he ended up behind the camera and what he’s really looking for when he comes to town. •
Dallas Voice: The most obvious question everyone wants to ask: How did you get your job and where can I apply? Rand: Ha! It’s funny. To [others] it looks like a photographer who shoots sexy guys has the best job in the world — and it is fun at times — but in the end, it’s a job just like anything else. It’s very hard work, especially if you want to be good at it. It takes a tremendous amount of concentration and focus; for those photographers who go into the business just as an excuse to get to see guys naked in front of them, it’s almost guaranteed that that photographer’s work won’t be very good, because they’re not focusing on getting a good shot, they’re focusing on looking at … other things.
But to answer your question, I’ve written a number of plays, screenplays and attempted TV scripts. When I was in L.A. a few years back, I had a great deal of down time so I turned to my camera out of boredom, taking some pics of friends who were actors. Those first photos turned out pretty good. I’m still a writer — in fact, I have a TV show currently in pre-production — but I’ll never put down my camera.
So what are the downsides of sexy fashion photography? And the best parts! The best parts of the job are, first, when you turn out a photo that’s so good, it’s almost like a work of art, and second, the friends that I’ve made with some of the models. But there are definitely downsides. The agencies almost make it their business to try to take advantage of photographers. Shooting with models who are in the business for the wrong reasons or who have an unrealistic expectation of the modeling businessare particularly difficult to work with. Oh, and despite what some people think, there is very little pay in photography, and it’s almost impossible to make a living from it.
What makes for a good model: Ripped abs, nice face, symmetry, good proportions? You said it: It all has to be there. Sad to say, but even the smallest amount of fat shows up on camera. But as I keep saying, personality goes a long, long way. When casting agents in New York see 100 guys in a day for a big shoot, they’ll remember the guy who made them laugh or smile, not necessarily the guy with the best face or body. I’m a sucker for a great personality and sense of fun.
What physique would you consider ideal? The big bodies don’t do it for me; the huge bodybuilders often can’t even hit certain poses because of their physical size. The ideal models’ bodies are those that are toned and beautifully proportioned but lithe enough to be fluid. A great model has to hit poses like a ballet dancer. But for raw sexual appeal, I think we’d have to look a long time to find a sexier body than Jakub Stefano. And there’s a new model who also has it in all the right places named David Costa. Google them; you’ll see what I mean.
What current underexposed celeb would you most like to shoot? You hit on an interesting nerve there. A lot of photographers don’t want to shoot someone after he’s "overexposed" or been shot by too many other photographers. Just like any good, self-respecting vampire, we all like to find our own "virgins!" But come on, who doesn’t want to shoot Taylor Lautner? Good god! I would have loved to have shot Simon Baker and Benjamin Bratt when they were younger and less famous, but not now. Maybe Taylor Kitsch from Friday Night Lights — he’s hot, right?
Oh, yeah. So what are you looking for when you come to Dallas? I’m hoping to find some new young models who are great looking, and who have a sense of fun and daring. I shoot for a lot of clothing companies, magazines and underwear lines, so I’m also looking for someone who might be interested in doing some more professional work outside of Dallas. And I have my eye out right now for someone who can appear on television.
Do you ever find people, especially those early in their careers, who do racy shoots later regret it? Wow, did you hit a nerve there! How much time have we got? There is nothing more frustrating than to work with a fantastic looking guy, and the shoot starts to go really well and he gets his courage up, posing nude or in really provocative poses. I know that the second I put them out there, the model is going to be overwhelmed with job offers.
And then it happens: He makes the mistake of showing the pics to the wrong friends, and they tease him unmercifully and of course, someone inhis crowd says he "looks gay" and the model starts to panic. Before I know it, the model is demanding that I don’t show the pics to anyone.
Sadly, there is still a lot of homophobia in our world. Remember when Donald Trump almost hyperventilated when a gay Apprentice contestant put on a male fashion show with the models in tiny square-cuts? Appearing as "too gay" is still a kiss of death in many circles in the entertainment business, and when a man takes pride in being overtly sexual, it’s often interpreted as being gay. It’s fucked up and pathetically sad, but it’s real.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 8, 2010.