Tale of Men is a photography and storytelling project that shares personal and intimate stories of gay men. It started in 2017 and by 2020 about 300 stories have been collected and shared. 6 Issues of tale of men magazines have been published. The main goal of the project is to create connections among people by listening to the storytellers’ life experiences.
The photo shoot will take place mostly at your place (sometimes we can shoot outdoors too) and take about 2-3 hours. It’s informal and casual. We can discuss the styles that we like beforehand or go with the flow. The photo shoot doesn’t focus on the perfect body type, but rather to capture a sense of intimacy, mood, personality… To put it in simple words, a part of you as a person, a storyteller. You don’t need to be an experienced model. Everyone has something beautiful in himself. Taking photo is a process of (self) exploration. Let’s be open and communication is the key.
I prefer to take photos of nudes. As Ren Hang once said, “People come into this world naked and I consider naked bodies to be people’s original, authentic look. I feel the real existence of people through their naked bodies.” Nudity is not a must though. If you feel uncomfortable, naked in front of the camera, you can wear underwear too.
One simple way to facilitate the modeling part is to make a mood board with photos you like and you can use as references for poses and styles.
Story is the essence of the project. How many times do we come across a stranger and wonder what kind of life he is leading? Storytelling can create connection among people. As a model, you do not only show your physical aspect to us but also offer the public a glimpse of your life and your inner world. It’s both a vulnerable and an empowering process. I am striving for collecting your story, concrete and specific moments/experiences/events that have happened in your life which you consider as meaningful or important. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean all stories are dramatic ones. Life is full of details that make it colorful and in turn make it yours, not others. Small things are enjoyable and very much personal as well. That’s why I had the habit of writing diaries for 2 years back in high school. I guess what I am trying to say is that, it’s up to you to write about what you want to share, choose your own style, focus on the specifics rather than the generals. And I hope the process of telling the story will be self-reflective and meaningful to you as well.
The final result is a text, of one page length, written by you sharing specific personal stories.
Ok, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
After the photo shoot, I will make a wide selection of photos and send them to you. You can use them for your personal social medias and purposes. You will be asked to sigh a model release form so that I can use your photos for my social medias, website and eventually magazines. Of course, we can discuss which photos to be used. I respect the model’s wishes and trust is paramount.
SOME WORDS ON MONEY?
I totally understand and respect if modeling is your work and you want to get paid or seek for at least some kind of compensation for your time and effort. As a photographer, I feel the same way. Unfortunately, this project is purely a personal project and I don’t make profit from it. Yes, there are magazines to sell and patron content to generate certain revenue. However, the goal is merely to cut down the cost of doing the project, which can be surprisingly high. Photography is not my profession. I will be glad to buy you a drink or send you a copy of the magazine in which you are featured. At this moment, I am not capable to offer financial compensation. I work only with people who volunteer to participate and who want to share their stories. Hey, it’s not about money, right?