On April 22, 2012 I learned of Austin Shook’s death via Facebook. I posted this photo for his friends on Facebook but I forgot to post it to my blog.
This was my tribute to him.
Austin sat for me a few times back in 2008. He was a fantastic person to work with. His zeal, candor and smile were nothing short of wonderful.
His sexuality was quite intense. He had a girlfriend at the time but he would regularly proposition me via email and send the wildest photos as bait. I would thank him for the photos and affirm him regarding his body — like I do with all of my models. I did not and do not disclose my sexuality to my models though as I like the ambiguity that comes with the unknown in that department. I also do not feel that my models should be influenced by my sexual preference. I think the work should be about them and their expression.
Austin was incredibly shy in person and he would use email to reveal his feelings for me. With all of my models, I always maintain a courteous and professional demeanor, regardless of their or my sexual preference. I let them express themselves however they want. If they have feelings for me, it often makes the work even more beautiful. It comes out in the work in the form of comfort and enthusiasm.
While I never validated Austin sexually, I always validated him personally. He was a fantastic person and he is missed by many.
Thanks for your friendship, Austin. See you on the other side.