CHESHIRE IS A COUNTY IN THE NORTH OF THE UNITED KINGDOM, ABOUT ONE HOUR DRIVE SOUTH FROM MANCHESTER. IT IS THE HOMESTEAD OF PHOTOGRAPHER NIGEL RORBACH. NIGEL HAS BEEN SHOOTING EVER SINCE HE WAS A KID, MUCH TO THE ANNOYANCE OF HIS FRIENDS WHO WERE HIS CONSTANT MODELING VICTIMS. BUT ALL THAT PRACTICE HAS PAID OF. NIGEL IS HOT. HIS WORK IS POPULAR AND WELL SOUGHT AFTER. AND WITH A VERY PROMISING PHOTOBOOK ON ITS WAY, NIGEL IS CURRENTLY PROBABLY ONE OF THE HOTTEST PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE UK. REASON ENOUGH FOR US TO DIVE UNDER THE SHEETS WITH HIM.
Nigel Rorbach. With your art you focus mostly on portraiture and people. What is this fascination with people?
Nigel: Well, I suppose it’s because people can respond. It’s far more interesting working with a subject that can interact and that you can bounce ideas off. I like to try and channel emotion, attitude and feeling into my work, so working with people gives me the best opportunity to do that.
I remember when I was studying photography, and having to shoot landscapes, and still life and what I considered boring subjects like that. I mean, who has ever had a sensible conversation with a plant ??? People talk back and that’s half the fun.
You are in control of the whole process, from conception to casting, preparing the set to shooting and eventually retouching. What part of the creative process is most satisfying for you? What do you like doing most?
Nigel: Ahhh, so you’ve noticed I’m a control freak! ha ha. I think that I prefer to be in control of the whole process so that I can see how things progress and develop, and if I’m honest I love the whole creative process. When I start talking to someone new that I haven’t worked with before, it’s exciting to discuss ideas and to feel that initial rush of inspiration. Actually taking the shots is probably the most enjoyable really, seeing everything come together and then that click of the shutter, then seeing the image preview and thinking “Yes ! We got the shot !” Now THAT is worth all the work.
You once said that you are a fervent follower of Herb Ritts believe that a good photographer should constantly change angle and environment, look for other perspectives and other settings. Your In Bed with Immortal Images series seems to limit this believe by focusing on one type of setting only. Can you tell us more about this project.
Nigel: Herb Ritts is a huge inspiration to me, and I still firmly believe in his theories. The “In Bed” series are taken from my forthcoming book, The Age of Man. And I wanted to stay in one place, but change the theme and emotion behind the shots. I think that it can be really easy to take one setting, light it in one way and shoot lots of images that essentially look the same. What I wanted to do with this series, is change subtle things like the lighting, to create a different feeling or emotion. And also, directing the model in a different way really helped to cover different emotions. Some of the shots are more romantic and sensual, whereas others were taking to show a more passionate, sexual and erotic side.
I really wanted to take one setting, and use it to portray a range of emotions. From the sensual and romantic side of man, that can sometimes be really cheesy if not done right, to the more sexual and erotic side.
Now we know that having to turn around beautiful men with your camera in order to get the best possible shot is both tiring and exciting. We cannot even start to imagine what it must be like when those beautiful men are in or on bed. How did you experience this?
Nigel: Ha ha ! Well I am a total professional, so it’s never really occurred to me to think anything else really. It’s a very intimate setting, and the subject matter and themes are also very intimate and personal, so I always discuss the ideas beforehand to make sure the model is comfortable, and we usually shoot those images last so there has been enough time to really relax, and feel comfortable on set.
It’s distracting when you’re going through photos and you have some hot naked guy sit or stand behind you looking at the shots on the camera, but I believe in being a professional and having a good attitude, and respect for your model.
Tell us about the most memorable moment shooting this project?
Nigel: That’s a really difficult question. Every model has inspired me in different ways. Adam Coussins was a lot of fun to work with, he really came to life on set and seemed really comfortable delivering the masculine sensuality that I needed for the shots.
And the worst?
Nigel: I haven’t really had a worst moment as such. I have things that slightly annoy me on set. The worst would have to be models walking around on set all day barefoot, and you only realize when going through the shots that the bottom of their feet is black !
The lighting ! It’s really important to me that the lighting is right, as that helps to create the right mood. The shots of Theo D were difficult to light as I wanted something really sexy, so didn’t want it to be too light, so that was probably the worst, having to move the lights until it was perfect.
Being a photographer means you put a lot of yourself out there. What is it that excites or inspires you in this profession?
Nigel: I feel that I have a lot to say, and that’s probably the thing that pushes me and makes me want to continue doing what I love. I get excited and inspired when I meet new models, or talk to guys that I’ve worked with before about new ideas. I’m always thinking of concepts and shoot ideas, and the smallest thing can spark off a new idea so that’s always a lot of fun.
I’ve been working on my first book for the past 18 months, and along the way I’ve worked with such a range of models and I’ve had some truly incredible experiences, that will stay with me forever. Working with experienced guys like Adam Coussins, Anthony Hague and Theo D have been a lot of fun, and the shoots have been really productive. And then working with newer models, who I’ve been able to work with a few times, and watch them progress and become more confident, and see them expand their limits, it’s all so exciting and inspiring to me.
And how do you deal with criticism?
Nigel: Badly! I’m far too sensitive, and I do take a lot of things personally when it hasn’t actually got anything to do with me as an artist or me as a person. If I get constructive comments, and it’s from someone I admire or that has what I consider to be an equal level of ability, then I take the points on board. What I can’t take is negative comments that are just pointless or that don’t have anything constructive behind them.
There is one comment that really sticks in my head, and it upset me a lot because it came from another photographer that I had a lot of respect for. I had asked his opinion on some shots I had done with a new model, and he just said “oh wet vest, been there, done that, it’s been done before” I shouldn’t have taken it to heart, but I did because I respected the person who said it, and because there are very few ideas or concepts or settings that haven’t been done before in some way.
There is a lot of male photography out there, by a lot of different photographers. What do you think your work adds to the list?
Nigel: I think my work adds a lot of different directions. My work has never just been about a hot guy with no clothes on, and it never will be. I want to convey a message, an emotion or a feeling. And I think what makes me and my work different is that I want to collaborate with the model, and make sure that there are no lines crossed. I’d rather my models were happy and comfortable with the concepts and ideas.
I also think that because there are so many other photographers out there, it’s important to try and be a little bit different. The amount of shots I see where it’s literally “hot guy in undies” or “hot guy with his cock out”, yeah they can be nice shots, and they’re generally great looking guys, but I studied photography for years, and I want to make art, and make people think and react to my work.
Let’s go back to the bedroom, shall we?
Nigel: After you ☺
What do you wear when you are in bed?
Nigel: I get far too hot, so generally nothing or sometimes underwear. If it’s really cold (which considering I live in the UK that happens a lot) a t-shirt.
Do you listen to music and if so, what kind?
Nigel: I don’t really listen to music in bed. But the music I like varies on my mood. At the moment I’m loving Natalia Kills.
What is the book currently on your bed stand?
Nigel: My note pad for ideas! I also have “Heaven To Hell” by David LaChapelle.
Do you like to cuddle?
Nigel: Hell yeah. My man keeps me nice and warm at night, and we like to cuddle ☺
Do you have any pets and if so, where do they sleep?
Nigel: We have a cat called Sunday. She generally sleeps wherever she wants. Usually on my desk, or my clothes after I take them off.
What do you do when you cannot sleep?
Nigel: Lie there annoyed that I can’t sleep, then I usually go through photo ideas in my head.
With speial thanks to Enzo Dell’armi for his amazing retouch work: www.modelmayhem.com/iamcylo. http://mygoldmember.daportfolio.com.
NIGEL RORBACH/IMMORTAL IMAGES | BEAUTIFULMAG