NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY - BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 2007
Easily my first big (read: high paying/complex/multi-day/published) photo shoot was when I was tapped to create images for Northeastern University's Sex Week Magazine. Every year in mid-March, Northeastern held a sexual awareness week where there were speakers, activities, TONS of free condoms. The goal of the week was to increase students' knowledge of sexual health, to raise awareness of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, and in recent years speakers had begun addressing "rape culture." However the most popular topic during Sex Week was likely the accompanying magazine that came out the week prior. Not only did it promote the following week's schedule of events, but it had Cosmopolitan-esque stories of sexual encounters, "tips & tricks", and photos of scantily clad co-eds.
The theme of the Sex Week magazine in 2007 was "Stripped," which I took as "stripped...of clothes." Eight models (four guys and four girls) were selected by a student association and I was given free reign as to the photographic content. To be honest I was completely terrified in the days leading up to our first night of shooting. (I had never even used strobes in a studio setting before!) But I spent four hours each of the next two nights in a studio experimenting, learning, and figuring out all sorts of different ways to play with light, shadows and ultimately how to photograph mostly clothes-less models without having any overt nudity. We used flowers, books, arms, hands, legs, sheets, a guitar, and occasionally some actual clothes to create the implied nude images that were featured throughout the magazine. I owe all of the models for giving me the confidence to direct a large-scale photo shoot, and for coming up with many of the initial ideas that made the final photographs. Here are my favorites of the final edits that made it to publishing: