UNB Model & Photographer Profile featuring SILV
It’s always a privilege to talk to someone who has had experience both in front and behind the camera. They can offer so much experience and knowledge to various models and photographers they work with. SILV talks to us about his life in front and behind the camera, his passion for the art he makes, and his unique vision.
UNB Kyle: Thanks for contacting me about being featured in a double feature profile! Let’s start with the modeling side. What was your first modeling gig and how did you come to get it?
SILV: My sister is a wonderful photographer, and I used to assist when she had projects in mind. My first collaboration with another photographer came with Sam Cummins, also known as Sam Apple Photography. He was working on some interesting, arty concepts and asked me to be part of it.
Kyle: So there is a gene in the family with this amazing talent I see. What made you want to pursue it all?
SILV: Co-creating with photographers, as I prefer to discuss it, has come from my own interest in photography and ridding of shameful concepts. I dove behind the lens years ago when I began working on my newest book, Toy Soldier. Initially, I thought it would allow me to network and find more individuals willing to pose for me, but then I acknowledged how liberating it has been for me.
The first time I posed nude in front of a camera was the first time I was nude, as an adult, in front of another adult. There was intention in utilizing photography as a means to work on the disconnect with my own body.
Since then, I have realized how important it is for me, being the person that I am, to be doing the work that I do; nude, gender-bending, etcetera.
Kyle: That is a great vision of pictures to portray. You seem to have developed a great comfort in the nude. Which shoot do you consider your breakthrough in your career?
SILV: This photographic journey has been full of excitement and great thematic work. However, the way I see a breakthrough, or epiphany, if you will, is the way I manifest life-changing connections with others. Through this creative path, I have found, met and fallen in love with a few fantastic friends. The first time that happened within the first months of me being in front of the lens consistently, was in San Diego with the man known as Yoga Bear Studios. It was not only my first more-than-one-day photographic extravaganza, and more mainstream session, but I now consider him a wonderful friend.
Kyle: That is great that you have made some lifelong friends and consider those relationships breakthroughs instead of necessarily being on the cover of a magazine as a breakthrough. Have you had a favorite shoot?
SILV: Coño…there have been many wonderful sessions which are favorites. At the moment, anything with Drew’s Pride or Humon Photography. Andrew Graham is one of those magical beings who come along and shake you to the core. He is love, kindness, creativity and passion all in one tall, bearded package. By now, we have such a natural flow which makes the sessions effortless. Peter, Humon, like Andrew, has such a precise eye for detail. Our work together goes from athletic to erotic; somber to silly.
However, I will say the first session with Yoga Bear was pretty stellar. I remember seeing this image of me in jeans, a tank top, and a cap hanging from this train and thinking ‘holy vegan cupcakes, Batman, I feel like a Colt model!’. I do not know exactly why that was a fun thing to feel, but it was. I guess my twelve year-old self was thinking of sneaking Steve Kelso photographs through my dial-up connection and basking in his confident, nude glory.
Kyle: What a great feeling! I can imagine the joy, excitement, and feelings you get when you are on set or see some of these finished results. What has been challenging about some of your shoots?
SILV: The concept of challenging myself is always present. Physically and creatively challenging myself is part of the charm of it all. However, I find it challenging when I rely on others to convey something that I am doing usually alone with the photographer. My first time posing with another model was very much about learning how to convey an emotion considering yet another person. Not to mention any outdoor session where there are spectators. I have yet to figure whether I am a true exhibitionist. I am leaning toward no.
Kyle: Spectators can definitely be a little nerve wracking for photo shoots. Probably taking up some of your focus. I love this part; how about the most embarrassing photo shoot situation as a model and as a photographer?
SILV: As a photographer, I have a few interesting stories. There was an instance with a vegetable in some one’s anus. That is the end of that story. But mostly, I found amusing the amount of men I photographed who felt they had to ejaculate at the end of the session because they could not handle it. One of the first men who did that said to me ‘could you give me a few minutes?’ and proceeded to guide me outside of my own space.
As a model, the only time I am timid is when I am holding a pose in a forest, lake or beach and there are one or two men lurking from a distance staring. As I said above, I do not appear to be interested in that energy at the moment.
Kyle: Those are definitely some crazy moments. You definitely see everything as a photographer and model. What goes through your mind right before you have to do these revealing shoots?
SILV: It often does feel like the first time. Especially when not having worked with a photographer before. In a way, it is like making love with someone. I am nude, they see all of me, and eventually I begin revealing my emotional side through poses and concepts. Knowing this, I simply hope that the photographer reveals herself or himself to me so that there is an amount of reciprocity.
Kyle: I like that. That is a good comparison. You have been photographed in underwear and we are an underwear blog so we want to know what you like. Looking at your underwear drawer, what is it made up of? % boxer briefs, % briefs, % jocks, % thongs.
SILV: My underwear drawer is shrinking due to my nudist lifestyle. When looking into it, there are probably 45% trunks, 35% jockstraps, 7% briefs, 7% boxer-briefs, 3% thongs, and 3% bikinis.
Kyle: Good variety thought. And the craziest pair of underwear you have ever worn?
SILV: The craziest thing I have worn was this spider-looking thong-brief hybrid design which had three separate pieces on each side. It was not comfortable, and to be honest, not too appealing.
Kyle: I guess that isn’t one you wear often then! Being in these nude shoots, what kind of diet and exercise do you do to prepare for shoots?
SILV: None. Thus far, when I have collaborated with a photographer, we have discussed ideas, intentions and then make it happen. My appearance is part of the charm. So I do not attempt to look a certain way for a session.
Kyle: You have a great look so I think that is part of your brand. So I guess since there is no special diet you don’t have a favorite cheat meal or do you?
SILV: Everything I eat I enjoy. I am very into Ethiopian cuisine at the moment. I find really good places where to reside and visit, and they usually have a great sense of eating. Portland, Oregon has been my main base in the past year and I enjoy eating there; tremendously.
Kyle: You are quite an adventurous man, not only in your style but also your cuisine! Are there any brands or photographers you would like to work with that you have not worked with yet?
SILV: I am open to working with underwear and clothing companies which are diverse and inclusive. Animal-aware and eco-friendly brands would take top priority. You have no idea how many times I have been told that I am not an underwear model due to my shape and amount of body hair.
There are many photographers out there breaking the mold and doing it beautifully. As long as someone is willing to be creative, and seeing photography as a means to make art whilst connecting to one another, I am interested in discussing working with them.
Kyle: It’s great to see someone embrace the “real man.” We love seeing that here at UNB and see you as a great underwear model and photographer. What is something that your fans don’t know about you outside of this art that you want them to know?
SILV: This is a humorous question to me. If there are individuals out there who are enjoying my photography work: thank you. A lot of individuals may see one frolicking naked in an image and forget that we are more than the purpose of objectifying each other.
I have always enjoyed cultivating my sense of intellect. I began writing and drawing when I was very young and still consider those two to be the base of all the things I do.
Doing nude photography has actually been a tool for me to be able to showcase that outside of being an intellectual, I am also still living and breathing inside my human shell. So, you could say that the sentiment goes both ways.
Kyle: It is refreshing to see someone embrace different so well and represent a whole genre that is needed. What is the best advice anyone gave you when you started your career?
SILV: Seek within to find your strengths and charm. We all have something. Photography is a great tool with which to find what is special in a person, other animal or thing, and document it.
Kyle: You have done some work behind the camera too? Tell me about how that part of your career started.
SILV: When I began working on Toy Soldier, I wanted to collaborate with a photographer. I had compiled poetry for a few years and was ready to add a visual to my usual process. Eventually, I found myself photographing friends as I composed photography based on drawings and doodles in my notebook.
Kyle: You embrace and showcase art is so many different ways its beautiful. Do you have a preference on whether you are in front or behind the camera? What are the best parts and worst parts of both sides?
SILV: When behind the lens I do not have to compromise my idea or intention. I love a lot of my self-portraits because it was only me and my ideas. However, when I am in front of the lens I have this capacity to be in a moment with someone and, like making love, it is magical.
Kyle: Your attitude towards all of this is so positive and refreshing. Finally, what are your goals for your career?
SILV: Through the process I find that it interests me to showcase my body as a way to inspire others to do it. Perhaps just for the sake of it. But most importantly so that we can all keep exploring and celebrating our differences. My goal is to keep being part of interesting projects which allow me to grow, and hopefully do the same for others.
Check out more of SILV below.
SILV Twitter / Facebook / Toy Soldier / Tumblr
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