Interview with Sean Martin – male body language
With the advent of Boudoir photography, there has been a lot of discussion on how to make women look sexy and attractive, but what about men?
To find out, I met up with Sean Martin who specialises in the male form here in Switzerland.
Sean’s fascination for human behavior and expression started early on as he studied to become a nurse working in the area of psychiatry, and it comes out beautifully in his photography.
His decision to shoot only in Black and White is rooted in a willingness to capture the realness of the person in a way that is embellished by shadow and light, and abstract positions, which in turn becomes a journey and an adventure into unknown artistic territory.
Let’s find out what he has to share with us about photographing the male body.
Interview with Sean Martin
Male Form Photographer
Sean’s passion for photography spans more than 35 years. After working as a psychiatric nurse in the UK, he moved to Switzerland and opened a few businesses in music and cosmetics.
The opportunity to adventure into photography and combine his fascination for human behavior and aesthetics came along in 2009 and ever since, he has been running studio shootings in Lausanne Switzerland that express a respect and appreciation for the human form with sensitivity and elegance.
You have a very unique signature to your photographs. What part does body language play in it?
Within the artistic scope of my photos, I strive to combine nuances of sensitivity, virility, strength and sensuality and am fascinated by the defining attributes of masculinity: the hands, veins and square faces.
Body language plays a big role in achieving to convey these elements through my photographs.
Is there a moment in your career when you started to become particularly aware of how body language impacts photographs?
Having studied psychiatry, I quickly realised that a majority of people feel extremely awkward in front of the camera. The initial reaction I observed was that they stand face onto the camera which is the worst thing because the body language that comes through in the picture is one of awkwardness.
From the very start of a photoshoot, my job is to make my subject feel comfortable, secure and fantastic like they’ve never seen themselves before!
Can you share with us one photograph that is really special to you and tell us why?
Some cultures present challenges, for example where the representation of the male image for the appreciation or embellishment of his good looks is taboo. This is why I’ve chosen SWIMMER. I have admiration and respect for all my models, but especially those who know they are helping to establish positive change through our work.
Do you have a story about a time a body language cue impacted your personal or business life?
In an interview situation, they had me sitting in a very uncomfortable chair and the only way I could sit comfortably, was leaning forward with no space for expression and was probably coming across as very closed and awkward. It was a horrible experience and needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
What Body Language cue makes you cringe in photographs?
Hand in the hair pose. Since I mostly photograph men, I try to steer away from stereotyped poses which I relate mostly to women. Guys might scratch their head, or lean their head on their hand, but they don’t generally brush their hands through their hair.
Pro tip from Sean
Adventure! Turn, shoot from all angles and not just the obvious ones. Discover the limits of movement. Photography is a journey, discovery of self and others. If you remain too rigid and do the obvious stuff you’ll never reach the wow!!!