I've got two of my muses, Jorge Luis and Ricardo, in the museum – La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos in Habana Vieja – and we've got the place to ourselves but only an hour to work. Over 30 more in the Members section.
There's a lovely crafts market tucked behind the Habana Libre in Vedado. It used to be lovelier, maybe, but so did everything. I picked up two of the simple white linen pants there nearly the first time when I was about to photograph twins Jean and Omar on the Habana Vieja roof. And so started my accidental induction of the diaphanous white pants. Over 100 more in the Members section.
Outtakes and the proof with Geannys El Pingu. A set of photos with Geannys that you didn’t know that you were missing – in which Geannys gloriously proves why he deserves the title of El Pingu. Seventy more images in the Members section.
La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos in Habana Vieja is being transformed into a museum; and what a remarkable place to show off my muses. It's Sunday but even still there are dozens of curious workers. El Toro, unfettered, is strong and proud and shameless. Over 80 more images in the Members section.
Ricardo is quiet and studious but never sullen. He enthusiastically volunteers to help me, finding me locations and models. Ricardo confides that he wants to try a few nudes. My camera substitutes for my gaze, and even though we only have this space – here with Ricardo – for a too-short time, my camera lingers. Unlike other models, Ricardo doesn't come at you all at once; like the surf maybe, Ricardo offers a steady and resistless pull. Over 70 more images in the Members section.
Blaring reggaeton, we drive from Santa Clara, through Remedios, to the seaside town Caibarien. The tides are high and there are flashes of rain but we trek to a secret corner of the world by the sea where Ernesto, a bit of rough trick, through rain and sun, covered in salt water and buffeted by sharp winds, cavorts and strips down. Over 50 more images in the Members section.
In search of tranquility at Playita 12 while watching the rosy-fingered dawn - amanecer - with the bikini boys, Ricardo and JC, wearing N2N Bodywear and American Apparel. Over 80 more images in the Members section.
Amorous Marlon and Andro, still beautiful and young, still honeybrown and blessedly hung, are still made to idolaters make, giving me more than there is time to take. Over 30 more images in the Members section.
By now, more men than boys, the brothers are architects of their own performance, their own lucid sensuality, their own divine youth still – yes, still invincible, still indomitable. In borrowed hats and boots and jackets, on loan from the resident farmers, the brothers cajole and cavort in the back fields. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
My camera lingers. The honeybrown twins do not wilt in front of me or my camera from what feels like deeply private and intimate moments. In the light of day, they uncover their affection like a peacock with its bright bursting tail and they lay bare their sensuality and, yes, they always will transfix me. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
Vany, the farmer's son, takes me back in the fields to show me around while I'm scouting locations. Vany has startlingly limpid aquamarine eyes. The cowboy is a shiny golden boy, cheerful and enthusiastic, and youth becomes him, this heat and this daylight becomes him, and for a moment his divinity is immortal. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
I have been wanting to work with Christopher Côté – and we found our chance this past summer in Quebec, Quebec. He was just as charming and collaborative and dashing as you would want him to be. Over 30 more images in the Members section.
I have some Spanish. I have photo shoot Spanish and I have anatomy Spanish. To help others with anatomy Spanish, Jean gives you some direction with the assistance of Ricardo. It took Jean a while to write ombligo the way I want it. And Ricardo was quite ticklish for axila. Nearly 70 more images in the Members section.
At dawn, we cheerfully slipped out of a disquieting and baffling Havana - yes, more than normal - with El Toro, heading to Santa Cruz del Norte just above the town that Hershey built. It smelled gloriously fertile like dewy ferns. And we set to work by a short but rambunctious waterfall with space and quiet and tranquility and the brute natural force of El Toro. Over 80 more images in the Members section.
For THE EIGHTH, I took fan favorite models Jorge Luis and Ricardo, along with new recruit Yunier, to the center of Old Havana to La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos. The old mansion is under restoration and we worked alongside the construction workers who, at first, would pass by much too slowly. But before long, the curious and the brave just stood around and watched. Over 70 more images in the Members section.
The Virtus Line for Modus Vivendi shot in Toronto, Canada with model Cianan. Cianan is posing in the playful and sexy new design by Christos Bibitsos all made from a high quality velvet fabric. With much thanks to Thanos, Modus Vivendi, Marlon, and Geoff and Cianan of course. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
Adoration in three fits, the third fit. After waiting for too long to see again Marlon and Andro, the Honeybrown Twins, they spoiled me on the beach at Mi Cayito and they were tireless. Just after the end of this, we climbed up the sandy hills and enjoyed a few midday beers. Over 40 more images in the Members section.
Jorge Luis showed up with his vintage Kodak Duaflex II to take engagement photos for Johnny and Raudel. The boys might not have got much use from the photographs, but they did find some use for their photographer. Meanwhile, when it was all over, I had to pay to have the bed repaired. Nearly 100 more images in the Members section.
I have been missing Marlon and Andro - the Honeybrown Twins. Before dawn, we got a cab and got out of the city. We arrived at Mi Cayito just as the silver-shining sun crested the horizon. The beach was empty and nearly pristine. To have that great big space and that great big sea and to have the brothers too was too much to wish for. Featuring the Navy Line from Modus Vivendi. Over 50 more images in the Members section.
Featuring the Navy Line from Modus Vivendi and marineros, Luis Angel, Ricardo, and Jean and Omar. I had to get through the first set quickly for Modus Vivendi - but I went back to this shoot because, well, because there were just so many good shots. Over 25 more images in the Members section.
Sweet babe, in thy face / Soft desires I can trace / Secret joys and secret smiles / Little pretty infant wiles. The Clod and the Pebble by William Blake. Part 1 with Marlon and Andro at Mi Cayito. Over 50 more images in the Members section.
The Navy Line for Modus Vivendi with Luis Angel, Ricardo, Jean, and Omar at Mi Cayito. My deepest thanks to Thanos and Christos Bibitsos at Modus Vivendi for including me in this great project and to Marlon for, at last, finding me that rope. Over 40 more images in the Members section.
The first time I met Luis Angel, I thought he looked like nobody so much as Che Guevera. But the second time, when I worked with him and model Hector, Luis Angel put me more in mind of Brazilian model, Marlon Teixeira with his lithe sensuality. Nearly 100 more images in the Members section.
I will die, I suppose, in this Lada. We fly more than we drive through this beautiful space and it all whizzes by so fast – mountains and hills and farms and, so very vastly much, space – on our way to Rio Seibabo with Ernesto and Robe. Over 30 more images in the Members section.
To do today: Get out of the city with El Toro and Ricardo. Pack towels, insect repellant, and a bag of underwear. Featuring jockstraps from Raw Studio, Toronto. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
A rich orange dirt road delivers us past a ramshackle farm and to the river. The space, big, tranquil and fertile, offers the glorious illusion that it is all ours. And so José and Angelito set to running, jumping, rope-swinging, and swimming before the shoot. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
My flatmate in Havana introduced me to José. And even though the skies were stormy and it was already mid-afternoon, I set off almost immediately with José to the Malecón. Once I persuaded him to jump over the Malecón wall, he found his confidence and was eager to show off.
The fraternity of the white diaphanous linen pants has become a rite of passage for my models. Here is the newest inductee into the brotherhood as the sun sets on El Chivo, AJ. Fifty more images in the Members section.
Junior dresses up as a super hero then reads 20 000 Leagues under the Sea and Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez. As a footnote, mid-century sailors often got a pearl (or two) inserted into their shafts. Nearly 20 more images in the Members section.
At the house we stay at in Vedado, they were doing construction. And I borrowed the hat and the workman’s shorts. Sure I felt badly, but I still did it. I surreptitiously returned them after the shoot. Besides the pilfered hat and shorts, this shoot also features clothing from Modus Vivendi and Rufksin. Over 50 more images in the Members section.
The swimwear from CA-RIO-CA WEAR was pretty skimpy but the boys didn't seem to mind. The wind, wicked, and the surf, wanton - picking up, carrying, and slamming the boys into the beach like flotsam debris - and still the Cuban boys did not mind. Over 30 more images in the Members section.
I could not help but return to this shoot even if - this time - it was with such a wistful nostalgia. The day, the moment, yes the sweet relentless innocence too, long gone, long lost. But it's done now, and here is what I found. Over 30 more images in the Members section.
When I arrive with Jorge Luis and Raudel, quite early in the morning, in that deep pit at the base of El Morro, I'm overwhelmed with the thrill of the space and the boys, a frenzy of beauty and opportunity. We set to task, and the two combatants fight two contests and come to a draw, then relax by the bay overlooking their city. Nearly 100 more images in the Members section.
I have been waiting to work with Ramudo and Rafael. When my plan to work at El Morro is thwarted, we head to the crater beach and work in the dazzling sun. The tropical sun burns my skin, while the boys in the band burn my soul. Over 100 more images in the Members section.
I couldn't avoid revisiting this set. It was one of the last times I shot Los Tres - Marlon, Andro and Enrique - at la Playita 16. It was a dazzlingly bright afternoon and there were many gawkers and onlookers but through the heat and the crowd we pushed on. I am always amazed how much of their youth and their vibrant and immodest sensuality the boys are willing to give me and my camera, even in front of a crowd. Over 50 more images in the Members section.
It has been two years since I have worked with my muse, Jorge Luis. We start before dawn at la Playita 16. The whole world is ours. The whole sky is ours. Space and time and quiet too go on forever while we work together again, while we get to know each other again, while the sun comes up, and I remember exactly why Jorge Luis is my muse.
It has always been clear that Omar is the leader. On camera and off, Jean will defer to his older brother. And I am forever left with the impression that Omar would play the devil of bad counsel on my left shoulder, and on the other, Jean, the angel of a more right-respecting counsel.
Knowing that I called another model, Jorge Luis, El Pingu, Geannys, the eternal seducer, was eager to win the title of El Pingu (the endowed) for himself. And I could hardly stop him, could I? Over 30 more images in the Members section.
We leave the dark dusty armory and the smell of sweat and stale sex and head out into the light of day. And on the edge of Havana Bay, the city behind him, my gladiator, El Toro, washes off. Fifteen more images in the Members section.
I take El Toro to Playa del Chivo. I told him about the place and he was curious to see it. It's a seedy place popular among, besides horny young Cuban men, delinquents and criminals - or so I have been cautioned. But El Toro is a brute of a man and serves as a great bodyguard. Over 50 more images in the Members section.
The plan was to start at dawn and shoot photos walking around the streets. But even before 8 am, there were entirely too many onlookers – and Jorge Luis and long-time friend, Michel, were too self-conscious. So we headed to El Ponton, an abandoned sports park, nearly pushed out of Havana’s memory.
Privacy is such a commodity in Cuba. We were hoping for wilderness. But we ended up just past the back of Guillermo's farm, crawling under barbed wire, and down the hill at Ocho Vias. Yes, I've had the wild Geannys in wet white pants before. But if there were anything worth doing twice, I can't think of anything better. Over 60 more images in my Members section.
The Los Tres boys, Marlon, Andro, and Enrique, show off. And when they show off what it is to be virile, young, Cuban, and playful, they got carried away with me. And I got carried away with them. But who can blame me? Nearly 100 more images in the Members section.
The boys, Marlon, Andro and Enrique, want to do something a little different. So we decide the twins are going to play mercenaries who kidnap Enrique. Never startled by their brazen sensuality and playfulness, I was pleased with their acting if not their rope-tying abilities. Nearly 60 more images in the Members section.
With other models, Orly is my favourite instigator. He inspires other models. And alone too, Orly is a beautiful model. He understands lines like a trained dancer. Twenty-five more images in the Members section.
My shorthand for Marlon and Andro is "the honeybrown twins" or, in Spanish, "los mellizos de miel". The best moments with the brothers are the ones where they are themselves, the ones where they find the moment, the pose, the energy naturally - their natural energy and chemistry is a shining miracle. Forty more images in the Members section.
I have the apartment. I have the twins. And so enters Enrique. I borrowed my friend's apartment and he had friends and neighbors coming to the door almost the entire time. Still, we muddled through. Over 30 more images in the Members section.
Normally I don't like to shoot on my last day in Havana. Give me a party. Give me friends and beer. Give me my farewell mojito. But when the twins Marlon and Andro said they wanted one more shoot, well I just couldn't miss this. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
So I had a beautiful day and a beautiful beach nearly all to myself. And I had Enrique too. And it is almost always so hard for me to say I've had enough. We found an abandoned building near the beach and shot these off in a few minutes before heading back to Havana. Thirty more images in the Members section.
Empty beach, brown sugar sand, aqua-marine water, and porcelain-skinned, Enrique. I soak up the space and the light and the tranquility and walk in the water before we start. And it almost hurts, I am so happy. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
Geannys, a Scorpio, is a wild one. A musician and a personal trainer, Geannys is also a devilish flirt. During the shoot, he enjoyed very much telling me about his diabolic side. In fact, I had to stop a few times to catch my breath and to keep him in his pants. He even dared me: if you let me keep the pants, he said, I'll wear them home just like this. But, for once, I wasn't brave enough to test his mettle.
In the garage, we were watched and often interrupted too. But when I convinced the mechanics to leave for lunch and when we were alone and Orly and Indo got in the mood, you could not have forced me out. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
The twins and Enrique are so nearly inseparable that I call them Los Tres, the three. They know they are Los Tres. And my Cuban friends know them as Los Tres. And my house mother too, who takes my phone messages, knows Los Tres. Los Tres are a marvel, and when I take them to a rooftop gym - or rather when they take me - I marvel, as I always do, at their beauty and their energy. Forty more images in the Members section.
After his initiation session where neither Orly nor Jorge Luis could get him out of his briefs, when Enrique said he wanted another more daring shoot, I did not need any more motivation to find a space and put together Enrique's striptease. Nearly 50 more images in the Members section.
This time we took a road trip to Cienfuegos where we were led to a beach resort called El Rancho Luna. We scared a few local fishermen away, and my favorite instigator, Orly, got things going with Reinaldo, Alejandro, and Jean Miguel. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
It didn't take El Toro too long to get all worked up in more ways than one. And I was surprised that, on our first go, he was excited about getting out of his sweaty gym shorts. Over 30 more images in the Members section.
The other models have named Jorge Luis, "El Pingu" - the one with the big, well you know. El Pingu waited for Orly and Enrique to leave and then he asked me: you got time for this? And he showed me again how he got his nickname. Over 40 more images in the Members section.
I wanted to give Jorge Luis a turn as the photographer too. He interviewed and auditioned old friend, Orly and our new initiate, Enrique. He didn't just play the photographer; he played me which was really funny, speaking in my abrupt on-set Spanish. After we finished, it was very satisfying when he confided that he was really sore and that it was a lot of work. Over 70 more images in the Members section.
When I got back, I really wanted a beach party. Twins, Marlon and Andro, were excited about the idea. And so I invite my good friend Ulises as well as my champions, Orly and Jorge Luis. And mid-week, we got a vintage Chevy, and found a beach about an hour out of Havana: Playa Rotilla in Jibocoa. Over 100 more images in the Members section.
Orly might have been a little jealous. I had taken nearly everyone to the gardens but not him. So when I discovered he was vexed, I had to fix it. And so, in the late afternoon sun, Orly and I got fairly steamy and sweaty in my favorite gardens.
Working again with the twins Marlon and Andro has been at the top of my list since I last left Havana. The brothers have, besides beautiful honey brown skin, an electric charm and easiness with me and with each other that gets me and keeps me entirely enrapt and I might still be working, still be working, in that space with the twins if the sky didn't open up in a wild torrent long before I felt we were finished.
Inevitably, I would take the twins, Marlon and Andro, to los Jardines de la Polar. And after a mostly mad week of dark skies, aborted plans, and missed opportunities, the quiet luxury of the forgotten gardens and the relentless charm of the brothers found me, restored me, and set me right again. Nearly 60 more images in the Members section.
I wanted to try doing a shoot with Orly and Jorge Luis and a girl. But the girl I had planned to use didn't show up. We had to find Esperanza at the last minute. She spent most of the shoot in bemused shock, repeating, "Ah Dios mio". Nearly 70 more images in the Members section.
Over drinks, I raise my idea to my champions, Jorge Luis and Orly: the seduction of Jorge Luis. No one could meet the task as much as Orly. They've always had a chemistry. Jorge Luis' eyes brighten. And he looks at Orly and smiles. Over 60 more images in the Members section.
It's a sordid sultry Saturday, and we're in a building among many just like it, on a street of huddled and shamed ramshackle buildings in the shadow of Cuba's jewel, the Capitolio, we're six stories up a tight and winding staircase, in a condemned apartment with Jorge Luis, Orly, Yasnier, Yudismiel, Michel, Amel, and Yohandris. Over 100 more images in the Members section.
For years, friends and well-wishers told me to go to Pinar del Rio. So we rented a car and packed up the gear and left La Habana chasing mountain ranges and caves and waterfalls. Orly served turns as driver, on-hand model, and singer. For the most part Pinar del Rio, a quaint antique town, was closed - after 6 pm, the streets were all but abandoned. But the next morning, I did find Jesus. Or rather Jésus. Twenty-five more images in the Members section.
I had met Francisco on a former sojourn to Cuba and asked him to model for me. He seemed interested but it didn’t happen. On a subsequent visit to Cuba, I ran into Francisco by accident and finally persuaded him whence he confided, "I have a twin." Really? What are the odds?
I met Jean in the street and I asked him if he would model for me. He said sure but that he had a problem. What? I asked. I have a twin brother, he advised me. After meeting Omar, his brother, I have never understood how that was a problem.
Here's what you're missing: the smell of diesel rising off the city, the salt pushed in by the tradewinds, music everywhere, salsa, boleros, and the theater, amidst the beautiful architecture, the ruins, the classic cars, the living vibrant thrumming theater of La Habana.
On Goat Beach, I have seen no goats (chivos) but there is a vast cratered beach, and tucked away, a few paces off the beach, an abandoned armoury, made up in vulgar graffiti, where in the dark corners, yes even as we worked, boys cruise and buzz with hungry insect lust. A dozen more images in the Members section.
My first time at Playa del Chivo was with Yosmany. There are too many Yosmanys and Yosvanys and Yoandys, I know - this is Yosmany el Chino, because of his Asiatic features. Over 20 more images in the Members section.
Driving out of Havana to Santa Maria just before dusk, the skies were dark and cloudy for the first time in days. But, glory, just as we were arriving at the beach, the skies cleared. And, gratefully we had the beach, often very crowded, to ourselves.
I'm mad about Orly. And he sings. This was a Friday afternoon on a friend's rooftop. The friend, Victor, who might be a bit fussy, did not want us to use the gold wire. "It's too dirty," he fretted. And when he tried to clean it, I had to forcibly stop him. I insisted: "We can clean the boy. It will be faster." Fifteen more images in the Members section.
We loaded up the gear and Jorge Luis, Lazaro, Yosmany, Luis, and Daniel and made our way to one of Cuba's mostly forgotten places: Jardines de la Polar. The garden, with its gazebos and bridges, lovely ancient trees, and tiled mosaics, originally designed for socialite parties in the 50s, is now a smashed up over-grown ruin. Over 50 more images in the Members section.
My day with Daniel almost didn’t happen. We had missed each other twice. Finally I met him on my last day in Cuba. We waited two hours for the girl, Rosie. We got kicked out of a resort. I was interrogated by a cop in the street. Finally we stopped at a farm and I asked to use the space. The farmer was so sweet. He brought me coffee and made me promise to come back to his home for a BBQ the next time I return.
With Bathtub, and Yohandris, and at the beach. It's so hard to look at my early days. I miss Arturo. He had so much confidence and cockiness; and I didn't have any confidence or cockiness or intention really. The two of us had such rudderless recklessness. Nearly 100 more images in the Members section.
Before I started to work with any kind of intention or purpose or confidence, or skill even, there I was naive, with five boys on top of a Havana rooftop. My first shoot with Jean and Omar, and Yohandris too. Over 50 more images in the Members section.