Aussielicious Interview – John Bortolin, Photographer

It’s time to bring you another interview. This time it’s photographer John Bortolin who is the man behind the boo, Manscapes which I’ve posted about here and here. I’m always curious about the techniques of other photographers and how they source their models etc so I thought I’d ask.

How and when did you first get into photography?
I was 16 years old. I was influenced by my grandfather as he loved photography. I choose it as a subject in yr 11 and 12 during high school. 
After finishing year 12 I studied at QLD College of Art in Brisbane and did an Associate Diploma in Photography.

When did you shoot your first male nude?

My first nude shoot was back at art college when I was 18. One of our assignments was to shoot a nude. I chose and athletic guy that was a couple of years ahead of me at school.
We shot is in a forest at Rotary Park in Lismore. I shot him in from of a big Fig Tree trunk. I’d like to go back to revisit that location and do another shoot.

How did you work up the courage to ask all these gorgeous straight men to model for you?
It was hard at first. I approached one of my friends whom I used to practice fashion photography with. I finally worked up the courage
to ask him and he agreed. I used those pictures to show other guys what I was looking for and they saw the results and wanted similar style pictures of themselves. 
I then did some facebook posts looking for models for my Manscape project and it snowballed from there.

What is their reaction like when you approach them to do a nude shoot?

They are a little sceptical at first. Sometimes I ease them into it by asking to do a shoot and work my way around to the nudity question. As my folio grew I got more confidence
 and I was more direct asking if they would do nude straight up. Showing them my work made it easier. In the end they will get some great pictures of themselves and they are very happy with the results. 
I also was very determined to get my quota of models for my book so whenever I was afraid to ask someone I just kept thinking of my goal and that gave me the confidence to ask. I had a lot of rejections as 
nudity isn’t for everyone and I respected their choice.

You’ve said you are planning more books in the Manscapes series. Will they be similar or will the be some kind of evolution?
I plan to do a series of Manscape Books. The first book giving me the platform to continue and evolve my manscape series. With my next book I’d like to travel around to the beautiful urban and landscape scenes of Australia  
and shoot local men naked amongst their local landscape area. eg: Ayers Rock, Jenolan caves in the Blue Mountains, Great Ocean Rd in Victoria, Sydney Harbour Bridge and so on resulting in Manscapes Australia. I’d also like to Manscape 
myself around the world spending time in different countries and create a Manscape book photographed in each country eg. Manscapes London, Manscapes New York.

Did you approach publishers for Manscapes or was the intention always to self  publish?
I had a friend whom had published several cook books. She was originally going to publish and help promote it for me. Although that didn’t eventuate she guided me and I ended up self funding and publishing the book by myself.

What’s the ultimate goal for your photography?

My ultimate goal with my photography is to Manscape myself around the world producing a series of books from each country. I would also love to photograph same sex weddings around Australia and in different countries as well. 
I’ve already photographed same sex ceremonies here in the Byron Bay region but unfortunately its not legalised yet. I’ve photographed a lot of heterosexual weddings but its always so refreshing to photograph a same sex couple. 
It puts a big smile on my face to see one of my own kind expressing their love for each other in public.

Where do we get to see the behind the scenes videos?
At this stage there are no behind the scenes videos but I do have a plan to make a book trailer to advertise Manscapes featuring the images from the shoots. I may even put together a teaser video of the behind the scene images 
of the entire shoot. It’s something I’ve been playing with for a while. I’ve had a few attempts at it on my own but I don’t have much knowledge on the video editing.

Who is that man?

Last week I was perusing Tumblr as one does, usually one hand scrolling on my phone and the other, well, busy, when I came across the photo above. I reblogged it and in the caption mentioned not knowing who he was. Now my Tumblr feeds through to my twitter and within half an hour I had the answer. His name is Cody Deal and he’s an actor who hasn’t really done a lot of big stuff. What he has done clearly, is lift a lot of heavy things up and down in the gym and eat right.

The photo above that got my attention was for his calendar. What self respecting actor doesn’t have a calendar these days? At 6’4″ and covered in beautiful muscles I think we can safely assume he’s never going to play a sensitive genius or anything that challenging. Hollywood doesn’t like to cast against type so Cody will most likely always play jock boys and thugs but he’s pretty and buff so why not?

How much longer

I was very lucky this Australian winter to escape for a few weeks to Europe to sun myself nude. Sadly coming home to winter was a bit of a rude shock to the system and I’ve been dreaming of being back in Europe getting tanned and hunting Viking husbands.

As of yesterday, September 1st Spring has started in Australia and the nights haven’t been quite as cold (by our standards) and the days are getting longer. My nude mates and I are finding our thoughts turned to planning naked camping trips and beach days. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before it’s warm enough for a few hours in the sun getting my arse a bit browner again before I lose all the tan I got in Europe.

We are very lucky here in Sydney with our weather. Our winters are very mild compared to other parts of the world and it’s only been a month or so that I’ve had to wear a jacket over a jumper when I leave the house of morning. Climate is the one factor that makes me hesitate when I think about living and working somewhere else in the world. When I was looking at an opportunity to work in San Francisco I was concerned about how I would cope with the temperature.

Fingers crossed I’ll be nude in the sun with my mates in very little time at all.

Bless them and their penises

This afternoon on Tumblr I came across the image on the left above. I knew I’d seen the other two images and reblogged them on tumblr as well. It’s always fun when you see an image and then over time find more from the series or featuring a guy that you find very attractive.

The photo on the right was the first of the three that I saw and reblogged on tumblr and remembering the middle one I thought initially they were all both the same guys. It turns out that the guy sitting on the shoulders is clearly someone different but the other guy is in all three photos. That fairly naturally leads me to the conclusion that he is a Corbin Fisher or Sean Cody porn model. Both studios feature that boy next door kind of jock guy that I so love.

Both the guy in all three photos and the other guy in the two left photos look so hot naked in the sun on the beach. It’s no wonder people pay them to be filmed having sex, if indeed they are porn models. Whoever they are and whatever they do for a living, bless them and their penises for sharing it with the world.

I don’t get it

A couple of weeks ago I’d been chatting to a local guy on Scruff whose profile says he likes giving massages. Perfect! Who doesn’t like getting massages? He was very much on the same page as me about what he liked. Both of us nude, not about a happy ending but a nice regular massage but with the sensual energy that builds when both of you are nude.

So I went around there one night a couple of days later, got myself naked and lay down on the massage table. Soon after he was naked and the massage had started but I soon noticed something that kinda put me off. He’d left his shoes on. We were in a room in his home and he was giving me a massage. We weren’t hiking in the wilderness or going for a run but he’d left his shoes on. I just don’t get it. If his feet were cold I could have understood socks perhaps but running shoes as well? No.

Maybe he watched a lot of porn in the 90’s when the guys’ tight jeans or police uniforms came off but somehow their shoes miraculously stayed on. I never quite got that. For me nude is totally nude unless you are nude camping and walking somewhere that requires shoes. For sex, nude is definitely totally nude.

Aussielicious Interview – Justin Alexander

Last week I told you about Justin Alexander, the intrepid traveller who sold up all his belongings and took off on an adventure with no end deadline. Tonight I’m bringing you the short interview I did with Justin. He was kind enough to answer my questions after coming out of the wilds of the U.S. tracking wolves.

You “retired” two years ago at 32 and ran away on an adventure. How did you get to that point?
Freedom has always been my highest ideal. I’ve always strived for an unconventional, adventurous life, but I really caught the travel bug (and an intestinal bug) when I spent a month trekking in Nepal in 2006. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out a way travel the world full time. In 2010 I helped with a tech startup and had enough success that I was able to step away and have just enough funds to support the lifestyle I have now.
What are the deciding factors on working out where you are going to go and what you are going to do?
I want to spend my life creating the memories that I want to have as an old man. Mostly I’m driven by curiosity and/or excitement; people and places I want to experience firsthand. I have a thirst for the exotic.
How do you find families in Indonesia to stay with and become a Buddhist Monk? Things like that aren’t in tour guide books.
I have never opened a guidebook. I’ve probably missed out on some cool stuff because if it, but I don’t want a guidebook directed life. I have a family in Thailand and Nepal. The Buddhist monk story is tied into my Thai family in a little farming village 30 minutes by motorbike from Lampang, northern Thailand. Both are very long stories with long back stories and if I tell those I really want to do it right.
Generally I am very open to opportunities. When you are visiting another culture, be extremely respectful, learn the language, eat how that eat, drink what they drink, be polite, and people will invite you into their homes. I don’t have any other advice than that because my experience was so rare and specific.
The photos on your Instagram are beautiful and certainly not just happy snaps. Do you have a background in photography or is someone documenting your trips for you?
Thank you. I don’t have any photography training and have been shooting on an iPhone since I started Instagram. I just graduated to my first real camera a few weeks ago because I was frustrated with the low light capabilities of my iPhone. It was a big investment, and carrying a big camera (and computer and hard drive, and, tripod…) is not something I like to do. I actually totally hate it. I’m a minimalist and I carry everything I own, so adding more stuff to my bag is really annoying.
But for now I’m shooting on a Sony A7-2. Any pics of me on my instagram are either taken with a timer on my phone, or by someone I’m with at the moment. I travel solo but I’m not always alone.
What other destinations are on your list and why?
I want to travel the Silk Road from the Mediterranean to Mongolia. Overland and slow. Afterwards I want to explore Africa for a good long time. I have a fondness for Southeast Asia as well and have been to Thailand like 8 times now. I have too many places that I want to go.
I’m just going to do this American motorcycle adventure until it feels done. I really don’t know what’s next and try not to put too much energy into that kind of stuff. You can have breadth or depth with travel; but having both is a trick. I don’t want to rush around and just see every place, I want to really experience every place, and that takes time. But time is the one real commodity we have.
So, who knows? Maybe I’ll find a spot somewhere and have a normal life there for a year. If that’s what I want to do then I’ll do that. But after a few months in any place I find myself longing for the horizon, and when it calls, I must go.
Describe the feeling of giving up your possessions and running free into the world?
Not as dramatic as you might imagine. I had been traveling a few months per year since 2006 so the whole thing felt very natural and comfortable. I’ve been a nomad most of my life; rarely owning more stuff that could say, fit in a Honda Civic. Once I had packed all my possessions into my Civic in order to move from San Francisco to Miami. I had to immediately go on a quick business trip to France and while I was gone,  the car was stolen.
I’ve never been too attached to things, and the only thing I regret losing was my journal. The freedom of having a life based on this kind of value system is absolutely delicious.
The overall theme of this blog Aussielicious is nudism and being comfortable nude, which you seem to be from your photos. Has that always been the case?
Always? Well, I was comfortable being naked as a baby, then not so much til recently. I spend a lot of time naked in nature; as long as the weather is agreeable that is.
Just this morning I woke up by a river in western Montana, and after the sun started cooking I spent half the day naked in the river and walking around in the cottonwoods.
The only annoying thing is… No pockets!
Anyway I don’t think I’m excessively nude in my pics. A couple from the Bolivian salt flats and then a hot springs or two. I like my body and think the human form is beautiful.
You are looking very fit. How do you stay healthy and fit when you are off in the wild?
Well thanks. I’d say I’m less healthy and fit than I used to be. I used to train a lot. Kickboxing, BJJ, lifting, running, swimming. Now I have a very laid back approach to life and am taking it easy. I tend to eat whatever I want and stay active with day-to day-adventure life stuff: climbing, hiking, carry packs and firewood. I’m not doing so much athletic training these days.
Once every month or two I get to a place with a gym and I’ll go lift some weights for a few days but it’s just for fun. I don’t have a daily schedule or anything.
I would run but when I travel I get skinny. If I start running again I’ll start looking sickly.
I tend to lose weight in the woods and then eat like a Viking when I’m in a town or smothering.

Gotta be careful

My housemate goes away for a month or so this Friday morning which means I have the house to myself and there will be not much clothing worn during that time.

All afternoon this afternoon I was chatting to friends about an upcoming nude drinks night at a friend’s place, the possibility of going to the beach as soon as it’s warm enough and hopefully a nude camping trip soon as well.

My housemate isn’t a nudie at all and doesn’t understand why you would do anything other than sleep, shower or shag nude. The idea of hanging out nude with mates is very foreign to him. After all the talk of being nude today I nearly walked in the house and took of my clothes. It turns out that I could have wandered around nude quite happily as he’s still not home but that’s ok. It’s still a bit chilly here.

I’ve often said I would love a housemate that is comfortable with nudity. The two previous housemates regularly saw me nude and one of those would wander around nude as well but we didn’t sit around nude watching tv or anything. Maybe that will have to wait til the mythical day I find a husband to live with.

Time flies

This weekend 70,000+ people will descend on the Nevada desert to create Black Rock City for Burning Man. There is a lot of talk about how it’s evolving and changing with the purists being unhappy about it. When an event becomes that popular and attracts that many people, it’s never going to be the same and the people crying about it changing from when they first went 10 years ago would probably be surprised at what it was like 30 years ago.

A friend from my first Burning Man sent me a message the other day saying he’d come across my bucking duck video on a tumblr blog which I loved. That moment was one of the most free I’d felt in ages. Even shortly after that happened I got self conscious again while still on the nude bike ride. At that moment however, I was having an absolute blast. On that bike ride, half our group had been nervous about doing a nude pub crawl bike ride through the desert. They kept making nervous jokes about keeping our eyes up. I promptly said “fuck that” and looked straight at everyone’s cocks. The more nervous ones couldn’t believe I was going to get on the duck but all I could think was “How often do you get the chance to ride a bucking duck nude in the desert?” There was no way I was going to miss it and I made sure it was recorded.

I’m trying to be more willing to say “why not” than “Why” but sometimes it’s not as easy as that moment in the desert.

The Bucking Duck ride from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

A golden opportunity

I’ve posted about my wish list of celebrities that I want to photograph a few times on the blog and now I have an opportunity to photograph someone in the public eye. He’s not hugely famous but a lot of people in Australia certainly know who he is. He apparently really likes my photography and wants to collaborate with me on a shoot. I’m not sure when the shoot will happen as he’s not always in the country. So now I have to come up with a concept to shoot that works for both of us. He has a very big personality but I don’t want to use that. I want to capture a more stripped back portrait of him.

If this shoot goes well it could very much open doors to other people in the public eye. He has a lot of contacts in the entertainment world and I’d be crazy not to try and make the most of this opportunity. I’m not going to say who it is, nor is it any of the people in the photo above. They are certainly still on my wish list.

It still happens!

Yesterday I had a message from a guy that I initially met through this blog. He’s now living in Melbourne and playing football to stay fit down there. Now he wasn’t specific so I don’t know which code of football he’s playing. We have a few options here to play. Rugby League, Rugby Union, AFL or Soccer so I’m just going to call it football.

He was saying that they’d played a game at another team’s home ground and in the locker room afterwards, instead of having a home team and an away team locker room, everyone was in together including the big communal showers. Now I know that in old sports clubs that haven’t been renovated or updated then communal showers are sometimes still a thing that exists but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of opposing teams all showering together. He said that a few guys showered with shorts on but the vast majority stripped off and just got on with the showering.

It was something that was very good to hear. Football teams are pretty famous for showering together and naked hijinks in the locker room and a team that sees each other in the shower after every training session and game would be so comfortable around each other but add another 11-12 naked guys to the mix and I wonder what the dynamic was like.

Taking the plunge

Last week I received a message from a guy I know on Facebook through the Active Naturists blog. He has written an article for that blog but was nervous because he was taking the plunge and including photos that were full frontals of himself. He messaged me because he saw that I had posted frontals of my own a few weeks ago and wanted to say it helped him make the decision.

When I posted those shots I was nervous as hell. There are other frontals out there of me on the internet but posting them on this site was something I’d said I’d never do because I didn’t want to make friends uncomfortable. One friend made a comment but it was perfectly fine. He’s one of the few friends that hadn’t seen me nude but obviously he reads the blog and had seen all but the full frontal. Ultimately the decision just came down to the fact that I genuinely don’t really care anymore if people see my junk on the blog. I was also pleasantly surprised that the trolls I’ve had in years gone by on Aussielicious all seem to have moved on. Maybe it’s because the hits aren’t what they used to be or because I stopped biting to them, but I didn’t receive one negative comment.

Now don’t go expecting my cock to be on Aussielicious all the time from now on but it may appear from time to time.

They’re at it again!

The gorgeous men of Warwick Rowers are back launching their 2016 Crowdfunding campain but they’ve stepped it up a notch. Not only have they done photo shoots in Spain and the U.S. as well as their home turf in the U.K. This time they are releasing a coffee table book full of their naked goodness as well.

Remember the profits made after the costs are covered go towards not only the rowing club but more importantly Sports Allies, the organisation setup to fight homophobia in sport. Such a great cause and obviously it’s helping. More and more sportsmen at professional levels are coming out and being accepted which along with Sport Allies sends a really great message to all those kids out there that want to try sport but have thought it might not be for them because they are gay.

Warwick Rowers 2016 Crowdfunder from Low Fat Media on Vimeo.

Very jealous

Justin Alexander is a guy that came to my attention, like several others through an image on tumblr. The image I’m referring to is the one on the right, above. We all know I love the idea of soaking naked out in nature and relaxing. I followed the link to Justin’s instagram which in turn led me to his website Adventures of Justin.

Justin was living the dream of working for a startup, working hard, buying lots of material things and being what we consider “successful” which was a change from other periods in his life when he’d dropped out of high school and lived in the wild for a while. Now he’s on an adventure after selling off all of his possessions apart from his trusty motorcycle and seeing the world. He’s become a buddhist monk, ridden his motorbike up the west coast of the U.S, seen the catacombs of Paris and danced nude on the salt flats of Bolivia (above left) and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m not sure I could ever take off on such an amazing adventure but part of me really wants to. Imagine the experiences that he’s having out there on the road. I am getting in touch with Justin and I hope that in the near future I’ll be able to share an interview with him here on Aussielicious.

My mate the Viking

A couple of months ago I shared photos that I had taken of Nathan. Everyone seemed to like the photos I posted of him, especially when I followed up with more. Well Nathan is one of those guys that isn’t shy at all and why should he be? He’s currently in Europe and took some time to visit Norway and capture a photo on the iconic tourist destination, Trolltunga. It’s a very beautiful location to get a photo so I love that Nathan did it justice by putting a Viking helmet on and getting completely naked. I wonder what the other tourists thought?

The Manscapes of a mate

Last week I brought you the photography of Manscapes. I was put in touch with the photographer of Manscapes, John Bortolin by a friend who had recently posed for him. Nigel is a mate of mine who has posed for me a couple of times alongside his partner of many years. Nigel was very flattered that John asked to photograph him as, in his words guys in their 40’s don’t get asked to do shit like that. John has photographed some stunning men and Nigel was a bit intimidated by that but I think he’s completely held his own amongst the men of Manscapes.

Nigel and his partner moved up to the Byron area a few years ago and I’ve been up to visit them a couple of times. They throw really fun parties and neither of the guys are shy about being naked so staying with them suits me down to the ground. It was partly the knowledge that Nigel had done this shoot that gave me the guts to post my own frontals on this blog a few weeks ago. From what John has told me, I believe he’s photographing Nigel’s partner soon. I look forward to seeing those shots.