I was asked by Photopress in Budapest to teach several workshops this past summer in Portraiture and Figure Studies (nudes). I was excited by the opportunity of visiting Budapest once again so I readily accepted. The next challenge was going to be to find the right models for my classes, as I am extremely particular that the models I work with when I am instructing are very similar to those that I would photograph in real life. The choices for the female models were endless but for the male models, I knew that there was only one choice for me. Through a mutual friend, I was introduced to the owner and director of the BelAmi films, George Duroy. Even before arriving in Budapest, I was given a tour of their offices in Prague, which I found extremely interesting and most informative. The staff there seemed very familiar. Why you might ask! Well for starters, many of the young men from their films were employed now as editors, research assistants and web specialists. Obviously, BelAmi was taking good care of their former models in giving them follow up employment. This is one of the things that struck me the most about their tightly run organization — just how well they look after their models and staff.
Contrary to what one might think in terms of a business such as this, rarely have I seen a more friendly, open, honest and forthright environment. They all seemed to go out of their way to make sure everything I needed was addressed.
All of the boys seemed to look out for one another and enjoyed down time hanging out, playing ping-pong and just joking around in a beautiful friendly setting. From lunches and tours to just following up on every detail, they were there one hundred percent of the way. All of the boys were open, friendly and eager to please. My shoots involved one day of studio lighting and one day on location, shooting in an abandoned castle in the countryside outside of Budapest. In the studio, we worked with Andras, Dolph and newcomer Jean-Daniel Chagall. In the country, I took Jean Daniel and Todd with me. Both boys exemplified the qualities and traits that I so often look for in a model. Jean Daniel had an amazing physique and fit right into the mold of the castle. He was easy to direct and very professional to work with. My class really enjoyed photographing him as did I. Todd, for me, offered the very gentle, sensitive side of young men that I find so appealing to photograph and in fact I spent most of my time shooting him in really close in lieu of the typical nudes. My experience with not only the models but the entire staff of BelAmi left me with a very positive feeling for my time in Budapest. I cannot wait to catch up with them again soon. Until then, I guess I will have to settle for watching their films and surfing their web site.