I was in Rome vacationing and I came across this wonderfully sculpted ‘modelesque’ Roman 20-something. It is often said that Rome wasn’t built in a day. I subscribe to the idea that it is very difficult to accomplish anything substantial immediately. Good things do come with time and bodies are sculpted in much the same way. I shot this model a few years ago while traveling abroad. He is a good example of a carefully sculpted body that only time and hard work can create.
I briefly spoke with him and through his broken understanding of my english, I was able to make it clear to him that he was going to come to my hotel and shoot some photos with me. While that sounds oddly stalkerish and creepy here when I type it, I find that it is really quite a different experience when it is happening in person. If you are comfortable in your own skin, and you are speaking to someone else of the same nature who has worked for years sculpting their body, this is actually a really easy conversation to have.
I’m quite nice and beings that I’m an athletic 20-something myself, perhaps it wasn’t the oddest request he’s ever received. Also, considering that I don’t financially compensate my models, I had to explain that I would be giving him a copy of the work. He was thrilled at the opportunity to be a model and have some professionally-taken photos done. Apparently, in Rome, men are really proud of their bodies. Nudity doesn’t seem to be nearly the big deal that it is in the States. He was flattered and before I knew it we were in my hotel room, he was naked and we were shooting on location in the heart of beautiful Italia.
Admidetly, this was one of my first shoots with an “uncircumcized” man. To date, I had not seen an uncircumsized penis. I’m a little embarrased to admit that I thought something may have been wrong at first. He later explained to me that most Europeans are not circumsized. The only penises I had seen in gym classes through grade school and college had been circumsized. At this point, this work really was becoming more and more of a “study” to me. I was discovering and studying the physical-cultural differences in men between different countries at the young age of 22 or 23 at the time.
While the penis is such a guarded and sometimes taboo ‘member’ of the man’s anatomy, this was my first chance to really associate it with diversity and variety. I guess I had overlooked most of them, I didn’t realize how different they really are.