It’s time to start thinking about putting the Holiday decorations away, or actually doing it if you are the proactive type. At this point, most of us should be rested up from our New Year’s celebrations, having nursed the hangovers in some cases, and concentrating on the idealistic resolutions that we made and wondering how long they will last or which are the same ones from the year before. And what better way to start off 2012 than with the number one model ever to be featured here at BLISS…the super sexy superstar, Peter Le.
Photographer West Phillips has had the lucky privilege of working with this incredibly beautiful and immensely popular model on a number of occasions and decided to share some of those images he shot for Peter's web site - PeterFever.com - with the readers of BLISS. His portfolio is quite diverse and showcases a broad range of talent, in addition to a well trained eye for spotting beauty, be it scenery or an individual and capturing it in a way that is both beautiful and impressive.
West took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about his collaborations with Peter as well as his photography career.
BLISS: Peter Le is one of the most popular models ever to be featured in BLISS. What was your experience working with him like?
West Phillips: I first worked with Peter this past March and have since worked with him several times. I was impressed by how professional and focused Peter was from the very start. When you spend that much time with someone in such an intimate and personal way, a friendship develops and you find that you both are on the same page and share the same vision.
B: What was the concept of your shoot together?
WP: This particular shoot was our 2nd time working together. I had already discussed shooting Peter with the editor of DNA Magazine, so this shoot was specifically for that. Initially I had a warm and sunny California concept in mind, however being in San Francisco, there's no telling what the weather will be like. We used the beautiful Sutro Baths ruins by Ocean Beach. In the end, it was the contrast of Peter's incredible physique against the backdrop of the jagged rocks, concrete and misty ocean that really worked. He was a good sport and survived, despite the fact that he was freezing the entire time!
B: What initially drew you to Peter in terms of wanting to work with him?
WP: It's a funny story, actually. I was living in Australia at the time and was planning my return to San Francisco. I was networking and model hunting online and came across Peter's Facebook page. I had no idea who he was, but was struck by his image, so I sent him a random email asking if he'd like to work together. Before our first shoot, I had friends who were so excited and couldn't believe I was going to be working with him! I think it helped me that I had no pre-conceived notion or idea of who he was, just that he was a hot guy I wanted to shoot! lol
B: What do you consider to be the most appealing aspects about Peter physically?
WP: Peter has the whole package! He has this incredibly sexy muscular physique that most people dream about, yet I think all of that would be nothing without his beautiful face and smile.
B: What about on the personal side? What do you consider to be his best trait?
WP: Peter has become a master of crossing boundaries and blurring the lines of sexuality. His looks and charm appeal to people of all genders, ages and races. Peter's natural ability to draw people in and to make them feel a personal connection with him is great. He's a very down to earth and friendly guy, despite the fact that he has fans lusting after him all over the world!
B: When did you first take up photography?
WP: I started photography when I first moved to San Francisco in January 2010.
B: Is your main focus on male imagery?
WP: While I have done a great deal of travel photography and more photo journalism style work, my main focus over the past year has really been nurturing my male portraiture work.
B: Do you have any photographers that you gain inspiration from?
WP: When I was in Australia I was fortunate to have started working with DNA Magazine. One day the editor took me over to meet Pedro Virgil, an incredible photographer based in Sydney. The 3 of us spent the afternoon at Pedro's house, talking about photography, models and international travel. I was blown away by his work and the direction his career was going. I often think back to that day and each time I draw inspiration from not only Pedro's work, but his ambition and success.
B: Peter is probably best known for his nude images. Do you shoot nudes?
WP: I shot nudes before I met Peter, though not a lot. Peter was instrumental in helping me cross that threshold and tap into a different, more adult market. In addition to shooting Peter nude, I have shot other nude models for his website as well. These days I get a lot of requests for private nude shoots from various clients.
B: How would you describe your style?
WP: My style definitely varies, depending who I'm shooting. I think the overall idea the viewer gains from my work is artistic, creative and cinematic. I try to incorporate the setting and background into the photo as much as the model themselves. I would like the photo to be beautiful even without the model in it.
B: There are quite a few male models on the landscape now that photographers are very familiar with. Are there any in particular that you would like to work with in the future?
WP: While I'm always up for shooting a beautiful model, recently I've been shooting more personalities and celebrities, of sorts. The next time I'm in Asia I'd love to shoot Chaiwat Tob Thongsaeng.
Thai actor and model, Chaiwat Tob Thongsaeng
B: I remember him from the film Bangkok Love Story. He's definitely a beauty. Sites like Model Mayhem give the impression that modeling is an aspiration of so many individuals. What physical aspects do you think are most important for those trying to get into the industry?
WP: I think these days there are so many different aspects of the industry one can get into. Whether it's print modeling, runway shows, events or different online venues, there are so many different options out there for people.
B: What’s more important for your work, a great physique or a gorgeous face?
WP: When I'm doing physique work, then of course the priority is the physical, but a good looking face is also necessary. In the past I've had some guys approach me who want to work together who were in great shape, but unfortunately I just didn't feel the whole package was there. Of course working with someone like Peter can spoil it for the other guys! lol As I move into different genres of my photography, there are times where the focal point needs to be a pretty face and not the chiseled abs, believe it or not!
B: Now that it’s 2012, what projects do you have lined up?
WP: I recently worked with out gay pro soccer player David Testo in Miami Beach and he and I are planning on collaborating on another shoot very soon. In addition to that, I am working on some projects here in Miami Beach to prepare for this year’s Pride event, which I'm very excited about!
B: Where is the best place to see more of your work?
WP: Of course my website showcases all aspects of my photography, which you can see here: http://www.westphillips.com . I also have a Facebook page which is dedicated to my male portraiture (of which there's a lot!) and the best way to keep up with me and my travels: http://www.facebook.com/westphillipsphoto
©2012 – Sean Dibble