Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BRIAN NIEH - THE INTERVIEW


BLISS:  I have been following your work for some time now and consider you to be somewhat of a phenomenon.  People may know your name that have not seen your images, or have seen your images without knowing exactly who it is they are looking at. And then there are the tens of thousands of people who are familiar with both. Why do you think so many people are captivated by you?

BRIAN NIEH:  I think people are captivated by the way I play with my sex appeal and how far I push the envelope. My concepts are somewhat off than what is the norm. I think people find my bold attitude towards sex and creative concepts and how I combine them to be a breath of fresh air. 

B:  We live in a very visual society so the look is often what first grabs people’s attention. What is your ethnic background?

BN:  My mother is Puerto Rican and my dad is Chinese. My mother is probably the only Latina I know that has a thing for Asians lol. 

B:  There are always stories about children of mixed heritages feeling like they did not fit in anywhere. What was it like for you growing up?

BN:  I grew up in a Spanish neighborhood. My mother was Puerto Rican so I was very familiar with and surrounded by the Latino culture, but my physical features were more Asian when I was younger so I was excluded from a lot of things and didn't have many friends. I kept to myself and didn't socialize then. Being a model now and having all the attention that comes with what I do is something I take with a grain of salt because I know what it is like to be a loner. 

B:  Did you have any artistic leanings growing up and if so, what were they?

BN:  When I was growing up,  I would draw and build things all day long. I remember, after I saw the movie Titanic, I built a 6 foot long version of it in my room. My room was always filled with pencils, construction paper and tape. I would like to think I’m still that boy creating figures out of paper; only I apply that creativity to my modeling. 

B:  You are a dynamo of social websites and a tireless self promoter. Were you as outgoing when you were younger?


BN:  I always had this determined attitude, borderline paranoia to not always be progressing. I’m even worse now. I feel the industry is so competitive… if I pause, that gives my other competitors to get ahead of me. When I complete a concept, I’m not one to sit there and appreciate it...I’m usually worrying about the next concept. 






B:  Many of the models that I've interviewed or worked with seemed to display alter egos when they are in front of the camera that only represents a small fraction of who they really are. You take on so many characters in your modeling and show a great deal of diversity in what you are able to pull off.  Who, would you say is the REAL Brian Nieh?

BN:  I believe it’s so important to separate what you do as a public figure and who you are as a person. That being said....I believe what you see from my work, from me as a model is just a small part of who I am greatly exaggerated in front of the camera. Away from the cameras, in closed doors...I’m shy, I’m goofy, I can’t handle the big crowds that you see surrounding my social networks in person. I like intimate settings, I feel the REAL Brian needs to be protected and kept for only those in my close circle because it’s so easy to lose yourself in what I do. 

B:  You actually have not been modeling for that long, though your portfolio boasts an impressive and large display of images. When did you first get into modeling and how did it all come about?

BN:  About 4 years ago. My best friend at the time had moved here from Russia and was signed to the modeling agency in NYC, Wilhelmina. She would take me to all her shoots and model events. And then she transitioned from model to photographer.  I became her first and only subject. She would shoot me every time she needed to test her photography. I eventually had enough pictures to have a portfolio. I began putting them out there and I started getting attention from other photographers. Before I knew it I was getting paid to shoot and was taking modeling seriously.

B:  The first shoot is often the most uncomfortable for the model as they try to get used to being in front of the camera. What was your first shoot like and do you remember how you felt during it?

BN:  My palms where sweating. I was thinking to myself “what the hell am I doing in front of a camera". I listened to Britney to help get into a state of mind where I felt confident and brave. 

B:  Did you learn anything during that first shoot that you have carried with you throughout your career thus far?

BN:  Something that I probably learned in my first few shoots was not to be so “posey” and that it was the natural ones that were the strongest ones. 

B:  Did you make a decision to pursue modeling more seriously after that first shoot or is this a decision you came to later on?

BN:  The decision to take modeling serious came later. After I saw how I was capturing people, what I could do with it, how creative I could go with it, how there were so many ideas I had that I didn’t see anyone else doing. 





B:  What is it that you enjoy most about modeling?

BN:  I think what I enjoy most about modeling is creating a story and feelings that I envision in my head and showing the audience this idea, this story through my pictures. 

B:  What did you do before getting into the modeling field?

BN:  Before modeling I was into the arts. Drawing, in particular. 

B:  Editing and post production work plays a big role in many of your images. Your fantasy shots are very intricate but also very consistent in both tone and style.  Do you do any of your own edits? If so, would you consider Photoshop to be one of your talents?

BN:  I do get involved in the editing process. As a person who edits yes, editing is CRUCIAL to creating a picture. 

B:  One of the great things about you is that you don’t fit into any predesignated box. How would you categorize what you do in front of the camera?

BN:  I believe I’m a brand. I do modeling, I do photography, I promote.....As time goes by I’m growing and I’m adding to what I call the Brian Nieh brand. There is no word I would use to label me because I’m constantly changing and learning. 

B:  You also do not shy away from showing skin. What is your opinion of male vs. female nudity in modeling? 

BN:  Oh boy, this question lol I believe the human anatomy is such a interesting thing. I’m OBSESSED with shapes and curves of a body whether male or female BUT I have to admit if I was a female or advising a female I probably would want her to be a little more covered up LOL 

B:  There is a strong sexual vibe that runs through many of your images. What message are you trying to convey with these shots?

BN:  I believe the message I’m trying to convey to my audience is to see deeper into sex. To see past the sexual part of the picture and what is actually going on in the picture. I want people to feel comfortable embracing their sex appeal. I'd like to think those who watch me feel a little more confident in themselves, having seen my work and how bold I am and, maybe become inspired. 







B:  One of the things that I love most is when you play multiple characters within a single shot. Do you create these concepts?

BN:  I come up with the multiple character concepts but I have help editing it. Those require a lot of editing. 

B:  How do you set up these types of shoots and how long does it take to actually get the finished image, considering the amount of editing involved?

BN:  I pose as each character, than the characters are all put together in Photoshop. Lighting, shadowing, etc are all played with as it’s created. The whole process usually takes from 5-8 hours. 

B:  You've been known to get into some trouble with some of your more suggestive posts, such as deletion of Instagram accounts and, I assume, a Facebook warning here and there. What are your thoughts on this type of censorship?

BN:  I believe everything I put out there is something I want my audience to see. I understand there are rules to things but some of the most creative minds in the world broke some rules to create their work. 

B:  Since I mentioned those two sites, I think this is a great time to address an issue many models face, and one you deal with over and over. How often are your pictures stolen and used in fake profiles or pick up sites?

BN:  All the time, on a daily basis. It used to upset me but I realize it’s impossible to stop them. I do, every 4-6 days, look online and see what I find of myself stolen and a lot of my fans bring impostors to my attention. I actually have a little list of Facebook pages that are currently “stealing my pictures".  I keep an eye on them but leave them be. I make sure they’re not doing anything crazy with my name. 

B:  What would you like to say to those impostors?

BN:  What would I like to say to the impostors  Hmm… well 2 things. Thank you for admiring my work to where you want to take on my identity; I don’t consider myself to be any better than you so thank you. Secondly and lastly, please don’t think that your own self worth is not enough to celebrate and make public. Don’t think you’re not special in your way. I want them to know that there was a time that I wasn't so confident about myself but once you break through that it shines and the people around you feel it. 








B:  I personally don’t understand what people hope to accomplish by doing that since picking someone up will only expose the lie. Why do you think that temptation exists and why do you feel your images are appropriated so often?

BN:  I think the people who steal my pictures and take on my identity measure their own adequacy and value through superficial things such as a nice body. They see me and a lot of my pictures show my body and I’m fit, they see the comments people leave about my body. They think that to be sexy is what is important. I think it’s easier for them to take on my identity than be themselves in their own skin. 

B:  I love the fact that you don’t shy away from full frontal nudity, even in an erotic nature. What is the general reaction to those images?

BN:  Well I believe people think there a lot more nude pictures of me than are actually out there. I hint at things, cover just enough to not show lol...I don’t think it’s cool to use nudity every time to get your point across and I surely don’t. I think most people cheer me on when I have done those kinds of shoots in the past but off course there are people that bash me for it. 

B:  Your openness might even make some people try to discredit your beautiful art as nothing more than pornography (not that there is anything wrong with that). Have you been approached to do porn? Is that something you would ever consider?

BN:  I have been approached by porn companies and NO I would never do porn nor do I think I would be good at it LOL most of my pictures is me exaggerating my confidence and sex appeal.  If I was to be filmed I would have to be more me and I would be terrible.  PLUS what I do in the bedroom is something I reserve for my luved one and my luved one only. 

B:  The only credits that I ever see on your images show are BrianNieh.com or just your name. Who are some of the photographers you have worked with?

BN:  I mostly have my team help me shoot my work. My team is some people who are well versed in editing and promoting. Other than my team that I work with daily, I really don’t work with many other photographers and certainly none significant enough to mention. 

B:  Are there any photographers out there that you would like to work with in the future?

BN:  YES! Rick day! 

B:  Do you have any influences that have helped to shape your creative vision?

BN:  Yea Terry Richardson. Steven Klein HUGE influence of mine. 

B:  Have you ever posted an image or comment that you later regretted?


BN:  Yea there are a few images I probably would not post if I had to do it again. 






B:  It doesn’t matter how popular anyone is, there will always be a certain amount of negativity that comes with the territory.  In some cases, popularity only makes it worse. Have you received any negative feedback about your art? If so, how do you handle those situations?

BN:  I think when you’re "popular", everything you do, good or bad, is greatly exaggerated. Yes I have gotten negative feedback in my time as a model, but to be a model you’re constantly getting told about your body, what you need to improve/fix. If I couldn't handle the negative comments I wouldn't have made it this far. You really have to learn to drown the noise out and focus on your work. 

B: If I asked you to pick 3 images that best represent who you are as a model today, which one’s would they be and why?

BN:  There so many lol.  Just trying to pick one has my brain fried, BUT probably my lion shoot.  I think it’s such a visually appealing picture and I've gotten so much feedback for it. My black widow series (a series based on me killing myself while I have sex with myself just like a black widow does). It’s really crazy, out there, and really stirs people up. A shoot I did depicting Adam and Eve where I’m being offered an apple and I have 4 hands touching me and covering my privates. 

B:  Looking back on all you’ve done, what is the best lesson you've learned as a model?

BN:  Hard work really makes a difference. I feel I could be the most amazing model in the world but if I didn't work hard and promote myself, no one would see it and we would not be having this interview. Hard work without a doubt. 

B:  As exposed as you've been on film there’s bound to be some secrets. Can you tell me 4 things about yourself that even people who know you might be surprised to know?

BN: 1. I want to be in better shape. 2. Being a model and having so much attention makes me even more lonely because when you have so many people wanting your attention it make you feel no one sees you as just a person, only as a model. 3. Sometimes I feel like the attention gets overwhelming and I want to disguise myself and do some regular job like filing papers. lol  4. I have conversations with God more often that I tell people. 

B:  Well, I got four, LOL. What projects can we expect from you in 2013?

BN:   Traveling to new cities and shooting. Arranging more opportunities where my fans can meet me. Crazy concepts.



B: Any last words for your fans?

BN:  I’m so grateful for the attention I've gotten as a model and so humbled how much you guys love me. I hope to influence a person or 3 lol and I hope my work gets to a point where it becomes timeless, known and re-blogged even when I’m no longer here on earth. 

B:  That’s one wish he doesn't have to worry about because it’s already come true.

©2013 – Sean Dibble

Saturday, July 27, 2013

THE OFFICIAL BRIAN NIEH - THE PRELUDE



You know the face.
You know that body.
You know that...

You have seen him before. Was it Facebook? Tumblr? Instagram? His website? That guy you've been checking out on Grindr who just happens to look like two other guys in profiles from another site? And isn't that the same one who sent you a friend request on Facebook even though your are already friends with him on another profile?

Will the real Brian Nieh please stand up!?!? 



Spend enough time online and you are bound to come across an image of Brian Nieh but that does not mean that he is the one who posted it. Outside of his official pages like BrianNieh.com, his Instagram (briannieh87) with over 22K followers, or his Facebook fan page, his photos are likely to pop up anywhere because so many people are caught up in his hashtag. The reason is obvious when you take in his mix of Puerto Rican and Chinese heritage, an ethnic blend which produced an incredibly beautiful result, but it goes deeper when you add the fact that Brian is an independent model and tireless self promoter who has created a brand out of his very physicality that defies category and does not shy away from overt sexuality. With so many people wanting just to look at you it isn't surprising that a few would appropriate your images to receive the same level of attention.





The real Brian remains humble about all of it and truly appreciates the support from his countless fans, preferring instead to focus on the next concept so that the images continue to come and his brand continues to grow and evolve. He is one of my all time favorite models, someone I have wanted to feature in BLISS since the beginning, and I consider him to be a media celebrity and the perfect cover model. His full interview will be posted later and his answers may surprise you, but for now, enjoy the visuals of #Briannieh.

©2013 - Sean Dibble























#Briannieh
Instagram.com/Briannieh87
facebook.com/BNModel
BrianNieh.com

BLISS ISSUE #27


Art can transcend categorization in that it is ever evolving, it crosses genres and platforms and it is subjective. As technology changes the world, offering new tools for old methods, our perceptions must also change when trying to define what art actually is.  Artists like Jay Plogman combine a classic sense of light, shadow and composition when photographing their subjects, utilizing the computer instead of the darkroom to produce the final results. His subjects are often male and often nude which in itself is like a reaffirmation of what started as the norm and then became taboo.

Early art was replete with male representation, from the statue of David to early Greek drawings and paintings, but as the world became more modern, the idea of men as art subjects regressed and suddenly the penis was a taboo visual. Rather than remain out of sight and flaccid, the penis has reemerged in both cable television, film and photographic works and the artists and models in this issue are not afraid to showcase it or tease with it, desensitizing it's appearance so it's less shocking while creating a new acceptable desire to view it and deepen the infamy.


Infamy itself has now become a lamp post in creating the mystique and appeal that leads to recognition and branding. Cover man Brian Nieh has not become a household name yet but he is one of the most recognizable models in cyberspace. BLISS talks with Brian about the new wave of art and fame and what it is like to be a brand.


Stay tuned....


©2013 - Sean Dibble

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

COVER STORY - DARIN FARANO - THE ENTERTAINER


You may not have heard of Darin Farano (yet) but in the entertainment biz he is what is known as a triple threat - singer, dancer, actor and handsome to boot. There is an old fashioned, classic appeal to him, accented by hints of modern sensuality that has been captured by some highly noted photographers including Scott Marrs, Ray John Pila and David Wagner. He is the perfect embodiment of all that BLISS set out to celebrate and one of the few featured who crosses those artistic lines.

Darin took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions about all facets of the business that he has been involved in, allowing us a better glimpse of the man behind the characters he brings to life through modeling and acting. I am honored that BLISS Male Mag is now a part of his artistic journey. 

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BLISS:  BLISS is really about the celebration of art but you are the first cover model who is active in so many traditional facets. How does it feel to be chosen for the cover?

DARIN FARANO: I could not be more pleased to have been chosen for the cover. I am full of joy and “BLISS”

B:  The cover image was taken by one of my favorite photographers, David Wagner, who has other images in this issue. How did the shoot come about and what was it like working with him?

DF: I initially contacted David because I have admired his work for a very long time. We then started the process of tossing ideas back and forth after setting a shoot date. Working with David was an honor and I consider myself fortunate in having had the opportunity to shoot with him. He is most talented. I could not be happier with the results of our session but honestly the best part was making a real friend which is rare these days.

B:  You also worked with Scott Marrs, who one model described as being one of the best photo editors out there. What was that shoot like?

DF:  Scott was wonderful to work with. He spent a great deal of time with me doing many different looks. He is so knowledgeable in his ability to execute a vision from beginning to end. As is the case with David, Scott is indeed an incredible photo editor and I am grateful that I was able to work with him.

B:  What is it that originally attracted you to modeling?

DF: Modeling has come about for me as a result of acting. It has been a natural progression.

B:  Is it different performing for a film camera than a still camera?

DF: The pace can be different in terms of time frames depending on what is being done. A still camera can allow a bit more creativity and flow whereas with a film or television camera there are firmer parameters and boundaries.





B:  Do you create characters with your modeling in a similar manner as when you are acting?

DF: I first approach it from a personal point of view. I can then utilize those real experiences and emotions to facilitate what I am being asked to portray. I create characters when I am not as familiar with the concept or theme. With a character there is always an aspect of fantasy, but to be believable it must also contain elements of truth.  

B:  Is it easier to lose yourself inside a character created by a writer as opposed to putting yourself on display for a photographer?

DF: It depends on what the project is and who I am working with. With both it must be multi-faceted rather than one dimensional. If you hold a diamond to the light you see a kaleidoscope of shades, colors and reflections. This is what I attempt to always bring to the table.

B:  Are you ever nervous in front of the camera or does it feel natural to you?

DF: I see the camera as a person rather than an inanimate object. This helps me relate and connect quickly because I am at ease with people and communication. It also is essential to connect and relate to the person behind the camera. Nerves can be useful as long as you are prepared and know exactly what you are doing.

B:  You have worked with some impressive individuals, including icon Liza Minnelli. What is it like to be in the presence of a star of that magnitude?

DF: Inspirational. I mainly listened and watched because what was being said and presented was essential. Listening and learning from Liza Minnelli forever changed how I approach and sing a song. She is a consummate artist in every sense of the word.

I was also very fortunate to work with and learn from Debbie Reynolds who taught me many valuable lessons not only about performing but the business as well. She epitomizes the word professional.

B:  Do you prefer theater or would you like to do mainstream television or even film?

DF: I love all aspects of the entertainment business. Up to this point I have been more involved with theater, cabaret and nightclubs. Working live is rewarding because you have an immediate audience response to feed off of. I believe a well rounded entertainer can and should wear many hats because you never know when an opportunity may present itself.






B:  There are so many actors who have a variety of talents that the public isn’t aware of until that one role comes along and showcases the fact that they also sing or dance. Do you think your own singing and dancing talents can be utilized outside of a musical production?

DF: If it were specific to what I do. My style and sound is perfectly suited to the Great American Songbook. I constantly hear that this genre is making a comeback. Personally, I feel it never left. This era of music transcends generations because of the brilliant composers, lyricists and performers that were a part of it. Music trends / fads can come and go but the Great American Songbook remains and stands the test of time.

B:  Is there that one specific role that you feel you were born to play?

DF: For me it is in the creative process rather than a specific role. If I can find meaning and inspiration in something it fuels my drive and I immerse myself completely in what I am doing. Some of my best friends have been and continue to be music, films and books. I always imagined being able to create specific scenes and moments that have been memorable. An example from film would be Gene Kelly dancing to Singin’ In The Rain. It is iconic and forever will be a part of movie history.

B:  It wouldn't be show business without a little dirt, so I have to ask if the mythical casting couch actually exists today and if you've ever been subjected to it?

DF: Yes, I have been subjected to it both subtly and blatantly.

B:  This can be an issue for models as well. Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation with a photographer and if so, how did you handle it?

DF: Up to this point all of the photographers that I have worked with have been nothing but professional and a joy to be around.

B: YouTube and reality television has made it possible for a plethora of non-talented individuals to become B list superstars and even land roles in TV and film. Do you think real actors are resentful of this in any way?

DF: Most certainly. I continue to have numerous conversations about this subject with professional actor friends of mine. I could go on and on…but It is what it is.





B:  There is an argument that these reality shows coupled with individuals like Honey Boo Boo or the cast of Jersey Shore has done nothing but contribute to the dumbing down of America and the loss of quality programs and true talent. What are your views on this?

DF: There certainly has been a shift in programming. It goes in phases it seems. I’d like to believe that the public is smarter and more intelligent in making choices as far as what they view. Anything can make a negative impression if we allow it. We have a choice as to what we watch and my choice is that when I happen to come across shows of this nature I simply turn the channel.

B:  We now have people like Neil Patrick Harris and a few other male leads who are completely open and well received. Do you feel an actor’s sexuality is a factor in his or her success?

DF: It would be sad to think that achieving success in any profession could be hindered by a person’s sexual orientation. Unfortunately prejudices and discrimination still exist whether it is orientation, race, gender, religion or age. For those such as Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres it seems to have made no difference in their popularity and I applaud their decision to be open.

B:  Cable television has also ushered in the era of full frontal male nudity and more actors are stripping down for roles. Would you be willing to bear all for a role? 

DF: I would initially say no - but honestly it would depend on the project, the context of what the scene called for and how it was to be filmed. I am certain though that I would need convincing. 

B:  What about on the model side of things…would you consider full frontal nudity?

DF: I have been asked to quite frequently which is flattering I suppose but for now my limit is artistic/implied.

B:  If you could be a part of any hit show on television right now, which one would you choose and why?

DF: To be very truthful, I hardly ever watch television but if I had to pick I’d say Modern Family. I have seen many episodes and think it is well written, smart and very funny.

B:  What shows from the past do you consider to be classics?

DF:  All of the series with Lucille Ball, who in my opinion was simply brilliant. Groundbreaking shows like All In The Family and Maude to Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. Classic variety shows with Jack Benny and Carol Burnett. The list goes on and on…






B:  What are your favorite films and why? Also, which of those do you think you could have played a role in?

DF: There are too many to name. I prefer older films - classics. When you look at the amount of films produced throughout the golden age of Hollywood it is quite staggering. They had a very appealing style and look. They inspired, told simple stories and created an escape from everyday lives. I still think there are great films being produced today but they are just fewer and farther in between.

B:  Who are your role models in terms of acting? What about modeling?

DF: From old Hollywood, people like Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney and James Stewart. Present day actors such as Jonny Depp, Denzel Washington and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Up to this point, I have never really thought about role models in terms of modeling.

B:  Which director is on your wish list? Same question for photographers?

DF:  To begin with I’d say Steven Spielberg and Marin Scorsese as far as directors go. Photographers include Sean Dibble, Rick Day, Paul Reitz, Lucas Ferrier and John Revisky. I would also love the opportunity to collaborate with David Wagner again. Continuing to work with and learn from people that have far more experience than I is truly a gift.

B:  Wow, it is flattering to be including in that list since I am in awe of each of them. Thank you so much.

It has been said that creative people are often the most insecure individuals. Is there anything about yourself or your appearance that you wish you could change?

DF: Everything and nothing. I feel that I am not conventional looking in terms of an idealized standard but somehow collectively it all comes together. I am my own worst critic and can be very hard on myself but one has to have an inner confidence and strength to be in this business because it takes much dedication and hard work.





B:  What are 5 things that even those who know you might be surprised to discover?

DF: 1) I love shopping in thrift stores. 2) I have a large variety of underwear. 3) I am terrified of snakes and can’t even look at them on television. 4) I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon. 5) I must admit to being a bit of a neat / clean freak.

B:  What are 5 things that you value most in life?

DF: 1) Health / Well being. 2) Honor / Trust. 3) Joy / Laughter. 4) Family / Personal relationships / True Friendships. 5) Genuinity / Loyalty.

B:  What can we expect to see from you during 2013?

DF: Well for starters this cover and interview thanks to you. I have some new photo sessions coming up within the next couple of months. I look forward to many more bookings and opportunities that will allow me to meet, connect and work with creative and talented people.



B: Any last words for your fans?

DF: All I can say is that I love hearing from you and that I am sincerely appreciative of your support and interest. It really is quite meaningful to me. So I will conclude with a most heartfelt thank you!!!

©2013 – Sean Dibble

See more of Darin Farano

David Wagner
Scott Marrs
Ray John Pila

David Costa

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