Melissa Rodwell for And Men Magazine

Shooting men has always been a bit easy for me. Perhaps it’s the opposite sex thing, it’s easier for me to get a man to open up to me because of the energy between a man and a woman. I’m not sure what the reason is, exactly. I’ve just found it rather easy to pull emotions out of my male subjects. I also come from a very strong background of music. All through my teens, twenties and all of my thirties, my circle of friends were musicians. I grew up in the LA music scene, I dated musicians, my best friends were musicians…..everything about my life outside of fashion photography was music. So my aesthetic when shooting males usually has a strong tie to musicians or the look there of. I guess it’s no surprise at this point that I like androgynous men. So whenever I get an assignment where I have control of the casting, I’m usually going for a rock –n- roll sort of vibe.

Funny story; I was traveling across the United States with my new puppy, Mia. I flew to Washington State to get her and drove across the US to get her back to NYC. Finally too exhausted to drive the rest of the way, I caught a flight from Chicago to NYC. While waiting to board the plane, in walks this tall, skinny kid who had great style. I almost walked up to him and asked him if he was a model. I knew this booker in NYC who would love him. But being too shy, I didn’t do it. Weeks later, I was working with a fashion designer on a shoot and in her mood boards was this same guy! I asked her about him and she said, oh that’s Aris. And of course, he was signed to the same agency that my friend owned, the same woman who I thought would love this guy.

When I was putting the shoot together for And Men Magazine, I knew I had to work with Aris. So I put him on hold. I wanted a second guy in the shoot, so I booked my friend Peter Ursich who happened to be in NYC at the time, staying at my apartment. Isé White styled this shoot. It was for the winter issue, so we went with cashmere and wool clothing. I still kept the rock –n- roll edge with the guy’s looks, but they were put in a bit more conservative clothing.

I used an Elinchrom 74” Octa Light Bank. I placed it about 15 feet away from the models. I wanted a soft, low light. I didn’t want anything too bright or over-powering. The light pretty much stayed to the right of the models. I used a hand-held reflector on some of the tighter shots to kick in a little more light into the model’s eyes. I shot the entire editorial with my Nikon D800 DSLR. I used my 85mm 1.4 lens. My exposure was around f5.6 at 1/80th of a second. And my ISO was at 100.

Elizabeth Skadden came to the shoot in Bushwick to film a fashion video. She directed, filmed and edited the piece. I basically just produced the video, handling the casting and hiring the team. Hiro from Atelier Management did make up, Tanya Pacht did hair and of course, as mentioned, my dear friend Isé White from abtp, was the stylist. Isé and I spent a week in Capri, Italy, a few months before the shoot. It was a trip that forged a great friendship!

Here’s the editorial and video (click on images to enlarge):


Melissa Rodwell