YEARS AGO, KEVIN SLACK, ON ONE OF HIS MANY TRIPS TO HIS BELOVED ISLAND CUBA, MET JORGE LUIS ON THE STREET WITH HIS BROTHER AND HIS MOTHER. IT WAS RIGHT THERE AND THEN WHEN KEVIN ASKED JORGE IF HE WANTED TO BE A MODEL. IT WAS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS THAT SEEMED TO HAVE BEEN PREDESTINED. A MOMENT IN WHICH THE SUN BREAKS THROUGH THE CLOUDS WITH THE PROMISE OF A NEW DAY FULL OF NEW ADVENTURES. BUT ALSO WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT ONE DAY THAT SAME SUN WILL SET AND BRINGS AN END TO THAT ONE DAY OF WONDERFUL MOMENTS.
When Kevin Slack met Jorge Luis for the first time on that particular street and promptly asked him if he would be interested to model, Jorge did not seem particularly interested. So Kevin was both thrilled and surprised when Jorge Luis called him the very next day, explaining that he in fact always wanted to be a model but did not dare to appear to be too enthusiastic in front of his family. At this time Kevin still had to learn a lot about Cuban culture and realized things were more complicated in this sunlit paradise as it might seem at first glance. Now, years later Kevin Slack looks back at that very day with warm feelings: “I bought a thumb ring that looks rather like the end of a spoon that day, before I met Jorge Luis. And whenever I wear it, it reminds me of that lucky day. And what a model Jorge Luis has been.”
“As a model, he has really stood apart and and above. Always trusting, fearless, enthusiastic and complicit and eager to please too. And for all his beauty and strength and confidence and youth, for all of that, strikingly humble and kind too, with a gravelly soft-spoken voice. And then there were nearly two years where it didn't work out for various reasons and even though I saw Jorge Luis briefly, we did not work together. And I began to worry that our story would forever miss an ending. I like endings - and I wanted a proper ending with Jorge Luis. He is finishing school and trying t get out of Cuba, and it's at least possible, that my adventure with Jorge Luis is over.”
But when Kevin Slack returned to Havana and Jorge Luis came to visit him at his house and told him he was excited to work with him again, Kevin was more than thrilled. And Jorge Luis wasn’t kidding. Kevin remebers: “Our first, our reunion photo shoot started at 6 am at La Playita 16. Sunrise. And we followed that with five or six more shoots in two weeks. Jorge Luis was tireless, indefatigable. And I did not tire of Jorge Luis either. Friend, model, muse, he is eternally fascinating and seductive.” When Kevin and Jorge Luis has shot a rather explicit solo shoot, Kevin had planned it to be finished. But he knew, or at least he felt, immediately that that was wrong. That that could not be the ending he wanted. “I wanted something gentler, kinder, calmer, something tranquilo to stand for our ending. And I like cycles and symbolism just as much as I like endings so where I started with a sunrise, I knew I wanted to end with a sunset.”
Kevin Slack put together an ending at sunset. It would become his ode on a Cuban beach. His tranquil denouement at Megano Beach with Jorge Luis. It was a weeknight and they had the entire beach to themselves. Megano Beach is far enough outside of Havana that the sky opens up, the sea opens up, and fills the whole world. Kevin: “The sand is brown sugar under my feet. The water glows aqua marine. And, for once, I am not in a hurry. It's enough to have the sea and the sky, it's enough to have time and space in the world. It's enough to have time with my friend. I breathe deeper just thinking about it.” They shoot on the beach and more than normally, at least when Kevin is working, they talk. They talk about Jorge Luis’ family. About his plans, his school and the meaning of life too. And they laugh. “Jorge Luis explains that, in his adolescent years, he went to a school mostly for girls. He also explains, when I asked, that his cock was fully grown, nearly, by the time he was twelve. He made quite a lot of money, he explains, showing it off at school. And not just to his classmates either. Shameless. And enterprising. I'm laughing still, while knowing that this is also Cuba.” When some insitent stars start to spot the sky, Kevin and Jorge Luis head out into the water for the birht of Changó. Changó, a Santería orisha, is the lord of fire and lightning. He represents, to the Santería faithful, male beauty, virility, passion and power. All the things Jorge Luis represents for Kevin.
With much less hesitation than normal, Kevin Slack decides after this particular session that they are done. They pack up and in a moment of emotion, Kevin himself strips down to nothing and runs into the sea that just birthed Changó. “I remember still the sea water, warm and buoyant, and the sand under my feet. And the wide open sky. And my sunset with my Changó, my Jorge Luis. I am so relieved for a proper ending. I am so grateful for your time and your trust and your friendship. Gracias, mi Changó.” And he swims with the knowledge the sun has set on Jorge Luis. -BM-
KEVIN SLACK | BEAUTIFULMAG