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Reese and I first chatted a couple of weeks ago on Grindr. I’d said hello, and I think that prompted him to check out my instagram, where he realized I’d photographed a few of his friends. He was interested in shooting with me, but like many people, wanted to know more about the process and what he would be getting himself into. That developed into a few days of ongoing dialogue and conversation, and he got to the point where he knew a shoot was a good idea for him, so we set it up for yesterday afternoon.
Our hour long conversation was similar to others, thought I think I did a lot more talking this time. I’ve been embracing my own upbringing and roots a lot more lately and trying to really feel okay expressing my southern hospitality in Seattle. Seattleites can be pretty closed off at times, but Reese and I were resonating and I just went on with it. Part of that for me is this idea of showing up authentically. When I was in high school, I decided that being southern was a bad thing; it meant being closed off to new ideas, being considered stupid because of an accent, and I started to see myself as less than because of where I was from. And my effort to stifle that was so purposeful for such a long time that I started to forget who the REAL and authentic me is. So, over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to tear down the barriers that I’d built and think about how I was raised, and just to be authentically me in my interactions; not the manufactured “me” that I created because I thought that’s who everyone wanted.
Anyway, in our hour long conversation before shooting, I learned about Reese, he learned about me. He was nervous as he’d never been photographed and didn’t think he’d know what to do in images. Wow, was he wrong. I gave him just a few coaching tips and he started serving me looks like my family serves platters of food at thanksgiving; plentiful and delicious! A few times in the session I just stopped and stared at him. He’s just so fucking beautiful, and he didn’t know it. He’s this amazing conversion of confident in his looks, yet unaware of exactly how gorgeous he was in the moment. It was hypnotic, really. I stopped and told him at one point how I loved the quiet confidence he had, and he just laughed. I don’t know if he was just comfortable with me in the moment and it was a result of that or if he was mustering it up to give to me. I suspect it was the former though.
Importing the images and looking at them hours later (some this morning), I can also say it wasn’t just ME getting caught up and twitterpated with Reese’s good looks; I feel exactly the same looking at the images now as I did taking them. I’m really proud of this session. Allowing my truest self to show up for the first time in years, I’m producing better work. I think I can see Reese being more comfortable. Honestly, I could have taken beautiful images of him a month ago because he’s beautiful; and while he’s just as stunning as he was, I feel like we both had more to say because of how I was able to show up.
Reese, I don’t think you knew all of this yesterday, but I’m sure glad you came over when you did. =)
As always, I hope y’all love the images!