Inconspicuously Conspicuous

black male headwrap model-

The Ankara travelling dress project has given me wings, yep installed the confidence I need to go plan shoots and photograph guys, I’m scared if I only photograph women I’d jump onto the bandwagon of producing overly post processed images, you know the ones that have only 2 skin tones, the faces are soooooo smooth and doing anything else does not look polished, it’s more acceptable for men not to look one dimensional, helping me steer away from the “beauty” fad and develop another perspective to my retouching, identifying more with the subject and not just a pretty male headwrap model--3

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by many positive black male role models multi faceted, intelligent, compassionate people, I want to portray black males in the same light I see my friends, still maintaining masculinity but open to other interpretations of their stories which historically do not go hand in hand with masculinity!  I get inspired by the smallest thing, sometimes a person or an object this shoot was inspired by the head wrap which is actually a scarf, I found in a charity shop, candy colours called to me and I called back “here pretty pretty, come to Mama”.black male headwrap model--2

I built the rest of the shoot around the scarf the hair slides to add some bling angled to either look like horns or a crown. Held my first online model audition on Starnow and found Deji who was a professional and fun to male headwrap model--5

Met at a place in Kings Cross I jokingly call my outdoor studio, don’t ask its a top secret location! I love it because there is undercover shelter if the British weather plays up, but I can still get lots of natural day light.

I impressed myself, I tied the head wrap in two takes, two! under 5 minutes, it takes almost 30 mins to get one to stay on my male headwrap model--4

The one shot I came prepared to get was the eyes only, an almost balaclava effect, which could be interpreted many ways, is he pulling the neck up to conceal his face or down to reveal. Is he a perceived threat? Why should he be? in all those bright colours, not trying  to blend in or hide. The other pictures especially where Deji is smiling juxtaposes this image, non threatening, all inviting regal and beautiful. I am really happy with this series it is everything I wanted.

Rele James Lensculture2020

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