Photographer West Phillips is one of the most travelled, tallented and unique photographers we’ve have the pleasure of working with on a regular basis. West was greatful enough to supply all the photography used in our Chinese New year photography celebration.
DNA: How or why did you get into male physique photography?
West Phillips: About 8 years ago I sort of stumbled upon this growing obsession and passion to photograph men’s physiques – specifically, the guy I was dating at the time was my inspiration.
DNA: What makes a good physique model?
W: Besides having a great physique (ideas about that vary – bodybuilder, lean build, etc), I think that confidence and ambition play a key role. Confidence and ambition should not be confused with arrogance or ego, of course.
DNA: What gear do you usually use for a shoot?
W: Because most of my shoots are on-location and many require a sometimes slight (or great) sense of adventure to get there, keeping it simple is vital for me – usually a camera, a lens and baby oil!
DNA: What has been the most interesting experience to happen during a shoot?
W: While it’s difficult to pick and choose just one, I’ll share one of the most special experiences. I met a potential new model at a cafe to discuss our upcoming photo shoot and to meet face to face. We ended up hitting it off right away and dated for about 3 years after that. Having a boyfriend step in as my model when I needed was pretty convenient.
DNA: It’s hard to ask a photographer which one photograph is his favourite, so which three are your favourite male physique photos that you’ve taken and why?
W: Even 3 isn’t enough! Ok, here we go:
Ibrahim Giza, Egypt (2016): This photo is one of my favorites not just because of the iconic and incredible background, but also because of the story and emotions behind it. A lot went into us getting this series of photos and we were quite happy and proud with the results. Let me just say, it’s not easy shooting a male model shirtless in front of the pyramids!
Matheus Miami Beach, USA (2015): I love this photo just because it’s so fun. This was my 2nd shoot with the handsome Brazilian model and I wanted it to be something different from the usual beach shoot. I had some connections at this great local bird rehabilitation center and after a little donation from me, they were happy to have him walk around shirtless as they looked on and giggled. The timing of this shot was just right, thanks to a bucket of fish behind me that got everyone’s attention!
Jaffrey Taipei, Taiwan (2017): Taipei is such an incredible city and I’ve met so many fantastic, quality people there who have given me endless reasons to go back time and again. This is from my most recent trip, taken on the balcony of the Airbnb place where I stayed. The late afternoon light, my assistant throwing water on the model and the expression – all of it came together for what has turned out to be one of my personal favorites from this shoot.