I had Enrique make that sign the night before. We went far enough out of Havana that the sign made sense. However, it wasn't an empty road. We had to keep taking breaks for cars, buses, horse-drawn carriages, and pickup trucks overloaded with field workers and students. 40 more images 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 GNS 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 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.
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.
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.
GNS, a Scorpio, is a wild one. A musician and a personal trainer, GNS 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.