Tale of Men is a photography and storytelling project that shares personal and intimate stories of gay men. It started in 2017 and by 2022 about 300 stories have been collected and shared. 12 Issues of the 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 photoshoot 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 photoshoot doesn’t focus on the perfect body type, but rather captures a sense of intimacy, mood, personality… To put it in simple words, a part of you as a person. You don’t need to be an experienced model. Everyone has something beautiful in himself. Taking photos is a process of (self) exploration.
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. Anonymity is neither an issue if you don’t want to show your face on certain photos.
One simple way to facilitate the modeling part is to make a mood board with photos you like so that you can use them as references for poses and styles.
!!! VERY IMPORTANT!!!
I try my best to create a safe and comfortable environment for my models. Nudity and sexuality are very delicate matters. Therefore, communication is vital. Let’s be as transparent as possible. Don’t hesitate to share your feelings before, during, and after the photoshoot.
The 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 connections 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 by words. It’s both a vulnerable and an empowering process.
The stories are concrete and specific moments/experiences/events that have happened in your life and they are meaningful to you. 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. 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, and 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 photoshoot, I will make a wide selection of photos and send them to you. You can use them for your personal social media. You will be asked to sign a model release form so that I can use your photos for my social media, website, and eventually magazines. Of course, we can discuss which photos to be used. I respect the model’s wishes and trust is paramount.
BY THE WAY… analog or digital?
Many of my models are surprised when they find out that I mainly shoot analog photos. I love analog photography because of the unique colors and grains. It’s also something nostalgic. The process of taking the photos, developing the films, and scanning the negative makes the experience more special.
Although my heart goes to analog photography, due to the increasingly high costs, now I kindly ask the models to contribute 3 film rolls (about 30-50 euros for 3 rolls) for the photoshoot and I will take care of the rest of the costs, such as extra film rolls, development, scanning… This way, it can help me make beautiful analog photos and help the project grow further. Of course, this is not obligatory. I will appreciate it a lot if you can. If not, we can always make on digital photos.
If you do want to contribute, here are the films (36 exposures) that I usually use: Kodak Ultramax 400, Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Colurplus 200, Fujifilm color 200. If you have difficulty finding them, I can help you 🙂