Behind The Photo - Central Park NYC

Featured Saturday, 11 October 2014 08:01

Technically, this was an easy shot to create – but it taught me another important lesson.


Once we walked through NYC Central Park to find suitable locations, the model and I waited for tourist traffic to die down before stripping off. Being a nice lookout back onto Manhattan – no surprise we had to wait a long while.

I had the model practice poses just shirtless, to see the fall off of light, and confirm where I wanted him in frame. As the light was soft through great cloud cover, I wanted his torso twisted to show his muscle definition, and to have his torso and head against the water and trees to give him a  crisp outline. We got it, then we relaxed and continued to wait.

There was a well dressed grandmother playing with her granddaughter nearby, and I did not want to cause offense, so we were sitting around for almost half an hour, before grandma made a B line straight towards us. As she confidently walked up, I was concerned. Perfect hair, wearing ‘old lady Burberry’, designer shoes… she looked conservative and I was preparing myself for a lecture.

“Do you mind if I speak with your model”, she asked me. I was surprised, and said of course.

“I worked as a model manager for Ford models for 30 years, could I give you some posing tips?” She then went on to give a whole series of posing tips for the model, including some general advice for diversifying his portfolio to get ahead in NYC. She finished with, “ok boys, have a good shoot. Oh and be careful, it tends to get very busy here around lunch time. Cheerio!” Amazing, I was blown away.

I consider myself an open-minded person and try to assume the best of people. That shoot taught me that prejudice is a more general thing than simply racism or sexism – here I was pre judging this woman based on her age and class, assuming she was ultra conservative and easily offended.

This image is part of my new book, NOW on Kickstater here:



  • Comment Link Jon Saturday, 11 October 2014 10:03 posted by Jon

    Can you get permission to do such a shoot in Central Park? Or do you just do it and risk getting arrested? How do you handle such issues?

  • Comment Link Grum Sunday, 12 October 2014 20:53 posted by Grum

    Great story Matt, and great picture - as always. The question has come up several times in this series, about the authorities and shooting nudes in public places. It sounds like you just try and judge the best time to do it (like 6am at the louvre, or when tourist traffic is lightest) without attracting too much attention, but that you are still taking a risk of getting caught?


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