Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Following the success of my photoshoot with Henry and the positive feedback received about the project I continued the method of reaching out to young homosexual men in their early 20's I found of personal interest. Sourcing potential sitters online through the social media platform Instagram, searching the trending feed #gay.
For the photoshoot I approached Ethan Caleb Johnson or as I first encountered him @ethan_johnson. After correspondence online we arranged to meet and shoot at his Littleborough home upon his return to the UK during a week long break from his current job as an entertainer on Mediterranean cruise ships, performing for holiday goers.
I was intrigued to meet Ethan as I was curious to see if the version he displayed online on his Instagram was the "real" him, a fabricated persona or merely just an exaggerated aspect of his personality? Entering the shoot and his home on the 14th November 2018 completely openminded not knowing what to expect.
Beginning the photoshoot we spoke candidly, discussing topics surrounding online pressures for young homosexual men and our similar and differing view points. Thus, ending up leaving the photoshoot with not only my roll of 35mm film and Polaroids, but an enriched view on how another individual from within the community interprets their representation, use and engagement with social media.
After spending time with Ethan face-to-face and attempting to get to know the man behind the online profile, I learned things I never expected or would have known from merely glancing or browsing his Instagram. He was kind, caring, funny, welcoming and is extremely creative!! He sings, dances, acts, sketches, paints, makes a large selection of his own clothes from scratch. All facets of his personality I never would've know if not to make the effort to see the person behind the persona. We sat and talked candidly so to form a trusting relationship between sitter and photographer.
The photoshoot again was captured using a Pentax K1000 (35mm film) and Polaroid 363 Close-Up. Shooting polaroids predominantly so the sitter has a memento from our photoshoot together as a way of making the experience more personal and build a friendship opposed to simply a stereotypical model and photographer relationship. By working in this fashion it becomes a much more personal and intimate experience. By shooting film the sitter is forced to wait and trust me with the final result thus, taking a sense of authorship over not only the images but the models own personal persona. Photographing them the way I see them opposed to the way they wish to be seen.
Models Instagram - @ethan_johnson