West Phillips has made quite a name for himself in a very short time. He is best known to BLISS readers as the man behind some of Peter Le’s photographs, but to his broad fan base, his work is recognizable by the use of lush landscapes and interesting natural backdrops, including urban and industrial environments. His models stand in contrast to the scenery behind them or blend in as one of the elements. In either instance the viewer has a wide field of vision in terms of the overall photograph, making all visual points something of interest.
West has photographed Jessie Lee for one of the hottest adult websites run by Peter Le, who stands as the number one model to ever be featured in BLISS. His interview averages nearly 4000 hits per month since it was posted in 2010, with no signs of slowing down. Jessie is the newest addition to his stable of sexy and beautiful men and he is a fitting choice considering his own star is rising rapidly. West did a recent shoot with him in Richmond, Virginia and took time out of his busy schedule to do a quick interview about the man who may soon be able to include himself as one of the elite Asian physique/erotic models.
BLISS: You photographed Jessie for PeterFever.com. How did that collaboration come about?
WEST PHILLIPS: Jessie and I had actually discussed working together before the PeterFever.com shoot came about. Once he and Peter had connected however, he and I decided to spend the entire weekend doing 2 shoots: one for PeterFever.com and one for our own personal projects.
B: The images are some of the most erotic ones he has done to date and came out beautifully. What was the best part of working with Jessie?
WP: After we connected online, Jessie and I were able to get to know each other pretty well and had built up a good rapport and friendship. Meeting in person was just the next step. In doing such an intimate shoot with someone, it's best to know the person and have some sort of trust or foundation to get the ball rolling, so to speak lol Jessie was incredibly easy-going and comfortable to work with so the shoot was a lot of fun and very laid back.
B: The graffiti works as the perfect backdrop to the erotic scenario you created for that series of shots. Where were they taken?
WP: I was in Miami at the time of scheduling this shoot and deciding on the perfect location. I knew of an amazing location in Richmond, Virginia that I had used in the past and it didn't take much to convince Jessie to make the trip down to meet me there. We spent the weekend in sleepy and historic Richmond, shooting around the most haunting spots we could find. The majority of the shots came from Belle Isle.
B: I consider Jessie to be one of the hottest "on the rise" new models and a great addition to the cast of Asian males that already includes Peter Le, Eric Rensburg and Guy Tang. How do you think he compares to an established pro such as Peter and what obstacles does he face as an Asian male model?
WP: This is actually a great topic to discuss! Asian male models are slowly becoming more and more visible, though for it being 2012, I feel we should be much further along. Models such as Peter Le and Jessie Lee fit into a more specific genre than just 'Asian Male Model" in my opinion. Peter Le has built up a huge following based on his physique/bodybuilding image as well as his adult/erotic image. Peter has done a great job of breaking some pretty offensive stereotypes about Asian men and I think in a lot of ways, Jessie could be following in his footsteps.
B: When working with Jessie, do you create a concept in advance?
WP: I always want to showcase Jessie's physical presence and to highlight it bring out as much masculinity as I can. The majority of our shoots are shot in underwear or nude, so the concept is almost always made up by whichever location we choose.
B: Every model has their own way of immersing themselves in a shoot. How does Jessie get in the proper mindset when you two are working together?
WP: Jessie is great at being ready to shoot as soon as I turn the camera on. If I can help him get in the exact mindset I want, then I'll give him some ideas, some emotions or feelings to go with and to convey through the photos. He's very eager and full of ideas, which can be great!
B: You photographed him clothed, nude and even erotic style. Does the dynamic and method change based on the type of image?
WP: Jessie is known for his physique first and foremost. He also has a great smile and if you know him, you know he's also a really nice guy. Whether I'm photographing him fully clothed or fully nude, I want the final image to speak the same: masculinity and strength.
B: How did you prepare Jessie for his nude and erotic images?
WP: I think we were fortunate that we were pretty comfortable with one another from the beginning. We did some simple test shoots of him fully clothed (and actually alongside another model I had with me at the time). Once I was comfortable with the best way to shoot him (angles, etc), then we worked our way through the concept from clothed to nude. We've had several photo shoots since our first one in Richmond that day and now it seems more awkward to photograph him clothed! lol
B: With some models, erotic shots tend to come across looking posed or forced, whereas Jessie always looks completely natural and at ease in front of the camera. Did he have trouble pulling off any particular images?
WP: Jessie was completely comfortable being nude in front of the camera and yes, very natural. He is confident in his appearance and his physique in its entirety lol. That being said, I have my own style of shooting and my own style of positioning/placing models and used that in a lot of my images with Jessie. He takes direction very well, so it all went off smoothly!
B: You've worked with him on more than one occasion, but is there a particular image that you'd like to capture of him or a location you'd like to use that you haven't done yet?
WP: We have done a few different types of locations so far: Urban/city, natural/wilderness, night time, indoors, urban decay/concrete...I'm not sure what's left, but either way I'm sure they'll be very hot and sexy images!
B: Every artist naturally gravitates to some aspect of their models that personally appeals to them. What do you strive to capture the most in your photos?
WP: When I'm shooting models in general, I try to capture not just the model, but the atmosphere as well. I hope that I can capture a moment with the model in the right setting so that the model and the landscape are both appealing and interesting to the viewer.
B: There are so many different opinions from his fans in regards to what they love about Jessie. What would you say is his best physical feature?
WP: Front or back, he looks great lol
B: What we see is only a small part of the total package. What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about Jessie as a person?
WP: There are a few things about him that surprised me as I got to know him, but I'll pick one that is suitable to share! He's a very personable and inquisitive, interested person. Never a dull or quiet moment with this guy!
B: The public can be notoriously fickle when it comes to their interests. Where do you see Jessie's career heading in the future?
WP: Jessie seems open to different opportunities and directions, which is great I think. Bodybuilding/physical fitness seems to be a big enough passion of his that he could very well pursue that and be quite successful with it. Should he decide to continue and develop within the nude/erotic modeling industry, I'm sure he would be a success there as well!
B: There are certain models that can cross genres and excel in each area. Do you feel Jessie is broad enough to work both in and out of the adult arena?
WP: I think he could be a success at fitness modeling as well as within the adult genre.
B: In addition to working with Jessie, what other projects should we be looking out for from you?
WP: Actually, the past few months have been non-stop with different projects I'm juggling. I've been flying all over the US doing shoots for various clients, including PeterFever.com. In addition I'm doing a lot of underwear/swimwear editorial work these days with various designers. I'll be starting something very new and exciting in the next few months and I look forward to sharing it!
B: You have quite a fan base yourself. Any last words for your admirers?
WP: I feel so fortunate to have been able to do so much in the 2 short years since I started photography. I've met so many amazing, supportive and inspirational people and I'm excited for what's next. My fan base has been growing more and more as I grow with new projects and introduce new faces (and physiques!) to them and it's always exciting to me to see how they react to each model I work with. In closing I simply want to say THANK YOU so much for the continued support!
©2012 – Sean Dibble