BLISS: Your creative output is rather eclectic, so if I were to ask you to describe your style and encompass all the different types of images that you do, what would your answer be?
Javi Giovanni: As a young artist I’m only trying to grow and find what I want to focus on, at this point I want to try everything at least once just so I can say I did and have a better knowledge base
B: You have a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Photography, so clearly you are trained in all the technical aspects. Do the “learned” aspects ever conflict with your creative vision?
JG: No only makes it stronger. Learning more is always a good thing, the more under my belt the more I can expand, such as composition, layouts, design
B: When you are doing a shoot, do you have planned concepts in mind or do you shoot spontaneously? Or is it a combination of both that depends on the model?
JG: Always a combination of both, some things you can’t plan.
B: Speaking of models, where do you find most of the guys that you photograph?
JG: Lately most are previous models and Facebook, model mayhem, friends of models or just sometimes a guy that just happens to run into me.
B: I actually did a feature on one of your guys, Ralfy Lords, who has gained a certain level of popularity. What was it like working with him?
JG: Ralfy was great, open to all ideas and not closed minded at all, to say the least, which makes photographing that much better not to have limits and he is on his way.
I’m glad previous photographers and new photographers are seeing that he has something cool, different and creative to offer. Most will just want the whole package right up front, but he does have it all you just have to be more of an open minded creative person. A guy does not have to be 6' 9" to be a model and work the camera!!
B: There is an element of eroticism in your work that is at once both explicit and creative. How do you balance the two?
JG: The main goal with ultra exposed is to push the limit of what we are trained to see as porn or over the top erotic; I strive to balance the two, by making something that is typical into something that you see in a different way. A cum shot can be the feeling of two lovers and not just blown out porn.... it’s all how you deliver the message. I can do nudes all day and in my vision it will not look like porn or trashy everything that is synced into a beautiful portrait or still life can be used to create erotic art in same sense. I’m not saying porn is trashy is bad just not my goal, and I don't like the assumption that if it says [ naKed ] its in bad taste or not classy. Anything can be amazing… you just have to see passed what society made it seem
B: One of the things that stand out in my mind when I view your erotic images is that they seem to tell an underlying story. There is a definite feel of an editorial even if it’s a single image. Is this conscious on your part?
JG: I believe it comes from my degree in design like a story or communication though different media, is not all ways planed but during a session and reading the model or subject you kind of create and somewhat develop a story. I sometimes get blamed for getting to know my models to much. Compared to shoot it and move on, but its not the same results I feel when it comes to erotic or fine art nudes. The more you know who you’re dealing with and the more they can understand me and my vision the session only grows to something great.
B: You also combine sensuality with playfulness, such as your use of candy or selective coloring. Is there a message within these images or is it based on color and aesthetic?
JG: Usually I like color or the idea of making their body my canvas to add a little dimension to the image as well
B: We seem to have a common affinity for the shorter guys and dark hair. Is this a preference for you or simply coincidence?
JG: I believe that everyone has something that can be brought to light, like the 6 pack, 6' 9", square face, perfect dimensions is not always what I look for in a model. With Ralfy it was his lips and the way he moves, as well as being a very cute boy. Some of my other models like Raul, its all in the eyes and making that works makes everything else work.
I got models that 90 percent of photographers would not even look twice at, but this is where I get excited to show them that they lost a great model simply because they could not see past a small thing, or large thing.
B: There is also an obvious love for the ethnic look in your port. Are you partial to Latinos?
JG: No, just happens to end up that way or I have a bigger Latino following
B: Considering you are based in
, I would imagine there is no shortage of Latino models. What do you like most about living in that area? Miami
JG: The beaches, the boys, food, locations and endless possibilities
B: There are quite a few elite photographers based in
, like Luis Rafael. Which photographers do you admire or gain the most inspiration from? Florida
JG: Ethan James and Greg Gorman
B: How much of your graphic design experience goes into the creation of your images?
JG: At least 75 percent. Magazines especially love me because I understand that I have to share the page with TYPE and other elements.
B: The fact that you shoot erotica may surprise some of your clients since you excel at more traditional imagery as well. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt it necessary to be less forthcoming about this side of your work?
JG: Yes. There are a lot of judgmental people in this world; if I was sitting higher and the economy was better I think I would not care, even though it’s hard to say that because I do believe you should never hide anything because you’re only hurting yourself. But a roof over my head is a nice thing till then, lol
B: What are the main characteristics and physical traits that you look for in a model?
JG: This varies a lot so it’s hard to say but a couple are, eyes, lips and angles!
B: We have all had our muses, though we don’t often want to admit it. Do you have a favorite of the models that you worked with? If so, what was it about them?
JG: I do have one main model who has let my try my ideas no matter how wired it may seem too him. He trusted me and my creativity. He feels the same way and the more we work together the more creative we get and love that fact
B: Every photographer (and model, for that matter) has their own personal horror story about a bad shoot. Do you have one that would qualify as a bad experience?
JG: As far as Ultra Exposed goes, I have been very very lucky with a great handful of guys and girls to work with …knock on wood. The commercial stuff and weddings that’s a different story lol
B: Let me turn that around and ask about your favorite photo shoot and what made it stand out in your mind?
JG: Almost all of them love the getting messy, paint, food, water, MUD this ones hard as well I don't have a fave on this I love opening 10 bottles of Champaign and 100 oranges, or deciding that a bag of top soil and water is a great mess idea, old dumpster diving for furniture and bringing on the paint toughing, point blank if it’s not fun, I’m not happy either is my model!!
B: What is the one photo or shoot that you've wanted to incorporate into your portfolio that you have yet to do?
JG: At this point it involves a bag of top soil :)
B: Going back to models, do you have a wish list of individuals that you would like to work with?
JG: I do have a list of 4 and one more in the works, and then it’s on to focusing on galleries and my book
B: What advice would you give a new guy who was considering getting into modeling?
JG: Let go, BE who you are get to know the photographer and have fun the worst thing to happen is....nothing but the experience at least and with the right photographer, some killer images you will love and share. There are a lot of amateur guys out there that are just looking for a naked boy to look at so make sure you research it to see if it is going to get you where you want to go.
B: Male imagery, especially if it contains frontal nudity or veers into the erotic territory, is still stigmatized and not as widely accepted as female nudity. Why do you think the taboo still exists?
JG: Yeah to a degree, but I hope at some point this will go away. I mean my 78 year old aunt looks at my images on my wall and says that’s ART ....I smile because that’s what should be first thing to pop up on our minds and the fun experience that’s behind each image or story...
B: In the same vein, much of male nudity is dismissed as pornography. How do you define the difference?
JG: If your mind is mature and see what goes into some of my work or other photographers you may very well see the different, prude people will always have something bad to say or make it something its not just because. I know its not porn, family does not see is as porn, friends.....so I only really care for the ones that support me or follow me and the art world....BUT if I can change some minds on the way its a plus in my book
B: Every artist has their own comfort level in terms of what they will or will not shoot. Where do you draw the line (if you do) in terms of eroticism?
JG: I’ll say though time my mind is more open then I ever thought it would be, at this point I’m still young and I’m sure I have not seen it all yet or asked all yet but, drawing a line when I feel my image is becoming something its not
B: Photographer Tony Gibble who works with his partner Clint Shields once stated that the best shoots often come about as the result of sexual tension between model and photographer. Do you agree with this?
JG: ( deep breath ) Yes as far as a photographer, I mean a [ naked ] guy in front of you its hard not to be......lips red, eyes dilated but at the same time, I’m so wrapped in the outcome of the shoot its hard to see more then a shape, lights shadows. Has there been tension between models and photographer? Yes and in some cases it makes the images 100 times better that they are giving you the attention, not the camera, lights, music it becomes just the two of you as one and leads to an amazing feeling, look, story....k next lol
B: What would you say is the biggest misconception people might have regarding photographers who shoot male nudes?
JG: That its porn off the bat and with a name like Ultra Exposed [ naKed ] I want to change minds
B: Same question, but this time about the models who pose for these images?
JG: In some cases the younger models are the ones that have to hear it the most, mostly immaturity from peer pressure, which bites, reason being they love what they are doing but peers make it hard for them to express it
B: What inspired you to first pick up a camera?
JG: It was when I was 12. 35MM oh how I miss the feel of film and the smell of the dark room. It was the black and whites from my grandparents and the feeling of capturing a moment in time that will never happen again. The high school and then Ringling school of art and design, and I don't believe I’ll ever get tired of being behind the camera and creating new things it’s a passion in life
B: I’ve always felt that art, in whatever form, is mostly about self expression. When people view your work, what is the lasting impression that you want them to have?
JG: That I changed someone’s mind or that I made someone see something great, a piece of my world
B: What are 5 things that your value most in terms of your art?
JG: Light, creativity, shape, design, feel
B: What are 5 things that you value most in your life?
JG: Love, passion, friends, the ability to create and living life to the fullest
B: When you combine the two, how has one group served to elevate the other?
B: What’s next for your brand Ultra Exposed?
JG: To grow and become larger in scale, and expanding to more markets
B: What message would you like to give to the fans of your work?
JG: Love, live, create, and have an open mind. Remember its art! There’s no right or wrong way to see something, just as long as you talk about it!
B: Any last words?
JG: Visit us, join us, create with us, we are a growing business and just want it to be the best. Don’t forget we do sell custom prints and framed art as well as always looking for the next great face for Ultra Exposed!!
©2011 – Sean Dibble