Slack Photography Blog

La Ultima Vez

La última vez with the honeybrown twins in La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos

The Honeybrown Twins

The Last Time with the Honeybrown Twins

I hope the last time I worked with the honeybrown twins won’t be the last time I work with the honeybrown twins. I won’t call this my last hurrah. I don’t know when I’m going back. But I always hope that I will go back. Meanwhile, yes, this place right here will do for the last time I photographed the honeybrown twins, Marlon and Andro. The museum, La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos, has a long history in Habana Vieja. It is being gutted and renovated and gentrified for the tourists.

Privacy can be a commodity in Cuba. Socialism doesn’t expect or promote it. But we found it here inside these walls. It smells mostly of damp plaster. I am tireless but I shouldn’t be tireless. I could go on and on. I am mad with the space, the light, the day, the moment, the brothers. And they give it back too. They do not tire either. They do not stop, do not wither. I would like to go on until I tremble and shake in my delirium and my transfixation, until I expire of dehydration. But the sun passes over the sky and, yes, word comes that the construction foreman waits outside in the street.

I do not want to relinquish this moment, to abandon this fort, to open the door and set time moving again to have at us, to convert the honeybrown twins into amber-coloured memories. The brothers have become so good at this. They encourage each other and pose each other and offer the other suggestions.

Like any photographer, I am a thief of sorts. I steal moments. I steal time. I steal intimacy. If my photos have stolen your soul, I never knew and that can’t be my fault. It never occurred to me at the time. But it occurs to me now: oh, how I would like to have that green chair from this shoot, to have taken it, walked out with it, and claimed it – as a sort of memento of our time together.  I couldn’t say about the actual moment, now long-lost, but there is a silence in these photos that feels like body heat and smells mostly like skin and a little like damp plaster. The boys want to be seen, want to be reckoned – at least that’s what I see in their eyes.

It’s possible, I suppose, that some people are getting tired of the honeybrown twins. I don’t see how that’s possible. And if you are, I cannot bring myself to apologize here, as I finish. I often get asked why don’t I make videos? I’ve been told that I arrange a photo shoot like a story, like a video, even while I refuse to make videos. A photograph, even one that stands in for a key frame of a video, has more gravity, more dignity, more importance, and, yes, more mystery, – at least for me – than a video.

When I finish a shoot with the brothers, I am ceaselessly surprised how solid they are and how much heat they exude. I cannot look at these and not feel their heat, their density. The brothers know how to direct themselves by now. I put them in the lovely light by the pillar. And they knew just what to do. I often get asked if I have anything more explicit with my models. These images, for me at least, are already naked, raw, divine too – with a monumental intimacy and the best kind of shamelessness. Watch Marlon pose by the grand column like a Grecian boy in that glorious light. And I don’t have to direct the other; he is beckoned. He either knows what I want or he knows what his brother wants – and either way, we are both pleased. Oh glory, oh delirium! I love the way Andro invites me in, invites us in, in the midst of his sinewy performance.

I am luckier and braver in Havana. I bought my access to this brilliant space, the first time, by sharing a Hollywood cigarette with the foreman director. I am not that person in my regular life. We’re running out of time. Beyond the big door is the construction crew waiting for us to finish. But how should I stop? How can we stop?  It’s so hard to stop. It’s so hard to pack up my camera and walk away. So that’s it then. We’ve lingered too long and I’ve stretched it out as long as I could. Andro dresses and checks his phone. The foreman and his crew wait out in the street. A moment later, I realize I am nearly too spent to pack up and wander the bustling streets. With plans to meet up later, the brothers would leave a moment before me. And I would tumble out of our private communion into the daylight, relinquishing this space, this moment.

Raudel by Alo

I still exist and I’m doing good. It’s sometimes challenging to continue to manufacture patience. I haven’t been able to get back to Cuba or to my friends or to make new work. Yes, I still have a little unpublished work to share – coming soon. Oh, I miss my friends. Meanwhile, fantastic illustrator, Alo created this cheeky and scintillating illustration of a classic image of virile Raudel. I am always so excited and honoured when artists re-interpret my images. Follow Alo on Instagram here. And if you came here looking for the original image, you can find it in the Members section in Raudel Returns at Jardines de la Polar. 

Raudel by Alo Raudel Composite

Recalculating
Dogs of Cuba

You know that sound Waze – or whatever GPS toy you have – makes when you miss your turn or you go your own way? The Oops Recalculating  alert?  What an annoying sound that is. Imagine that sound over and over again.  That’s my life lately. I make all my own choices and I make my own way too. And I try philosophically never to have regrets. I am so grateful for the experiences that I have had and the relationships I have made and for my fervent fans and collectors too. Like many, I have had been challenged continuing to be the person that I was. Lately, I have been re-purposing and re-calculating a newer life. 

Meanwhile, I miss my work and my friends. And of course, I still hope to find time to dip into my passion and make and share more of my work. Don’t worry. I still have a couple of shoots left to process and share with you too. If you haven’t already, I invite you to check out Part 1 of Muses in the Museum with the Honeybrown Twins.

The White Pant Induction

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 just off Animas. And so started my accidental induction of the diaphanous white pants.

The pants – I picked up a spare pair a few years later and now I have three – are hermetically sealed and kept somewhere safe. Some new edits and outtakes with the inductees: Jean, Omar, Ricardo, Francisco, Marlon, Andro, Enrique, Jorge Luis, Daniel, Reinaldo, Alejandro, GNS, AJ, Ramudo, Rafael, Jose, Angelito, Ricardo and El Toro.

Win a Limited Edition Print of El Toro
El Toro in the Raw Collection

Half of my heart is in Havana. I am working to get back to Havana and I am working to put my life back together. Things fell apart a little last year – especially when my camera of only three years died. I have been missing opportunities for work and adventure for lack of a camera that I trust. So I’m creating this goal to replace my camera. I had a Nikon D610. I would like to replace it with a Nikon D750.

I have opportunities for work coming up soon. If I can sell a handful of prints, I will make my goal, and get a new camera. I miss the heft of a camera in my hands. I miss making images like I have been fortunate enough to make for over ten years. I am looking to get back on track, my friends. And I am making my own opportunities this year.

LImited Edition El Toro in the Raw Print

If you become a member or invest in a print or if you join my onlyfans page before I reach my goal, your name will be entered into a lottery to win a signed limited edition print (pictured above) of El Toro in the Raw, edition size limited to 5. I will contact the winner for preferred print size: either 12×18″ or 16×24″. This offer is open until I reach my goal. Again, you are eligible for this giveaway if you become a member, if you order a print, or if you join my onlyfans page.

Friends, fans, and followers: I remain humbled and grateful for your longtime support. For the resourceful or the enthusiastic I also take this opportunity to direct you to my gear wishlist here. And check out the new edits and outtakes from El Toro in the Raw Collection.

MALEsuality Mag featuring Ricardo
Ricardo by Wonkamon

The first issue of @MALEsualityMag is available now. Get your copy at MALEsuality.com/mag featuring Joshua by Alex Hilbert, Mickey by Bradley Photo, and Ricardo by Kevin Slack. Illustration by the talented @wonkamon.

“Ricardo was introduced to me by mutual friends. I liked him immediately mostly because he was quiet, yes, almost inscrutably enigmatic, but always warm. Quiet like an ancient tree, or quiet like a mountain – he’s certainly big and solid like a mountain. Silent is not sullen. He volunteers to help me look for models and locations too for shooting, escorting me around Vedado to look at a few spaces he knows. And silent is not shy either. He’s quietly enthusiastic about my ideas and often eager to give me more than I ask. Silent is not arrogant either. He is undisturbed by other models or old ramshackle apartments or photo shoots at dawn.”

 

Musas en el Museo: El Toro
Musas en El Museo El Toro
We didn’t have much time. I met El Toro on Calle Mercaderes where he stood a head above a gaggle of tourists with slow feet and fast eyes. I collected him and brought him into La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos in Habana VIeja. The mansion has been a doctor’s office, a treasury, an arts college, and a post office. It is being transformed now into a museum; and what a remarkable place to show off my muses. It’s Sunday but even still there are dozens of workers. Bless El Toro: he gives me dedication and focus and fuerza even as the workers pass by to watch. There is one older worker in particular who scurries away when I spot him. But doggedly he returns every single time to watch. El Toro, unfettered, is strong and proud and shameless.
Studies of Ricardo
Studies of Ricardo

I have recently added a new set of photos with Ricardo. Ricardo is quiet and studious but not sullen. Still waters, maybe, rather than outright shyness. He enthusiastically volunteers to help me, finding me locations and models – which I appreciate so much. This time, Ricardo confides that he wants to try a few nudes where 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 perhaps, Ricardo doesn’t come at you all at once. Instead, like the surf maybe, Ricardo offers a steady and resistless pull.

We will overcome. Nos venceremos. Yes, I have been challenged with this work and this website lately. But you can now sign up for memberships again at kuspstudios.com or with onlyfans.com/kevinslack.

A Little Thwarted

I have lost my payment gateway again – this time with thanks to the Trump administration. No, really. I no longer have any means to accept memberships on this site. If you are a current member, you will maintain your access. But I cannot sell any new memberships. Additionally, if you have a monthly recurring membership, that membership will end after the 6 month trialing period. I am out of options for payment gateways too for various reasons that seem mostly arbitrary to me.

This was never business, you understand. But I spend too much of my resources and entirely too much of my time on my photography. Yes, it always felt unseemly to market that work; but it gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion. To my supporters, I am so grateful and so flattered for your continued and enthusiastic support. It has meant so much to me and has giving me the chance to invest more of my resources and my time in what I do.

Not incidentally, and almost simultaneously with my payment gateway summarily rejecting my content, my camera of only three years broke. Irrevocably. It is dead and gone. It isn’t buried yet. I’m still deciding whether to jettison it gleefully off my roof or set it on broil for 15 minutes. Now I need to save up for a new camera. If anybody has a solid camera, I’d be very much interested in talking to you about buying it. My departed, but never very dear, camera was a Nikon D610. And all my lenses or Nikon. Though you might imagine I’m not terribly thrilled with Nikon right now. Nikon’s attempt to fix my dissatisfaction was to sell me, to try to sell me, a $3000 camera for $2800.

Yes, there is always perspective. The recent and relentless assault on Cuba has been heart-breaking. I have been in close contact with my friends and everybody is doing well enough. The destruction in Cuba has been so wide spread. But my friends are safe. A dear friend of mine in Cuba recently had to move away from home – it’s not especially common to leave your family in Cuba, although it happens – but Irma rendered his current home uninhabitable and he has had to move back home. I have been trying, sporadically, to help him. Home is not a good place for him and I am so sad that he has run out of options. If I can recover my moxie, I might start a Kickstarter or a GoFundMe page and try to assemble a monograph of my ten years in Cuba.

Ordering Prints

I appreciate so sincerely my handful of collectors. They really helped me – emotionally and financially – pursue my passion. I cannot say thank you enough. Yes, you can still use PayPal to order prints from my website. Recent collectors have admired how much they like my prints on the Semi-Lustre paper.

Save 25%

In the spirit of this Fire Sale – I was tempted to call it a Bankruptcy Sale, but we all can use a little hope – and to thank you for your continued support, I invite you to use the follow coupon for ordering prints, effective until November 30: FIRE25.

 

Ernesto, Playa Caibarien
Ernesto Playa Caibarien

Blaring reggaeton, we drive from Santa Clara, through Remedios, to the seaside town Caibarien. At Caibarien, the tides are high and there are flashes of rain but we trek on, wading knee-deep through mud and sunken rock, to a secret corner of the world on the edge of the stretched-out sea where Ernesto, a bit of rough trick, through rain and sun, covered in salt water and buffeted by strong winds, cavorts and strips down because, sometimes, sometimes you just want to claim a private corner of the world and feel the sunlight on your skin. “Skin” is not the first thing I wanted to say.

Newsletter

Sign-up to be the first to receive news, updates & discounts.

Email address
Back to Top