Man Of The Year 2013 | Eric Eaton
Eight months ago, I discovered and photographed an aspiring model named Eric Eaton for a small series of test portraits. Although the photographs were nice, they weren’t exactly what I was hoping for. It didn’t have anything to do with Eric. He photographed beautifully, but the weather and lighting conditions that day were terrible. We were also limited on wardrobe. In spite of the days challenges, we salvaged a few beautiful images which I shared on Tumblr, Facebook and later, with DNA Magazine Australia. Eric’s striking beauty and inspiring story resonated with a lot of my followers. They loved him and they continued to request more images of him as the months went on. Like many of us, Eric has a story. And it isn’t all pretty. Eric’s open and honest revelations about a variety of issues, from his lifelong struggle to accept his homosexuality to a debilitating drug addiction that nearly cost him his life, has triggered an impressive fan following on Facebook and Instagram. And in the often shallow world of self-promotion, he is a rare breed indeed. In almost direct opposition to the simplistic and transparent fashion in which most models choose to use and display their promotional imagery, Eric has chosen a more abstract way of putting himself “out there.” His photographs, sexy as they may be, are often accompanied by personal reflections and carefully constructed thoughts meant to incite dialogue, offer hope, and inspire change. If you challenge yourself to reexamine the context in which you view him, Eric’s beauty becomes less about body worship and more about fortitude. He is the ultimate comeback story, a powerful example of survival and reinvention at its finest. This was a man going nowhere. Now, the possibilities are limitless.
When I began thinking of ways to present Eric again, I knew I wanted to do something simple yet special, something sexy. I found myself thinking about the men I used to see in vintage mail order clothing catalogs like International Male. There was something about those men, something about the sensual, straightforward way they were presented. It wasn’t your typical “inventory imagery.” To begin with, the clothing was skimpy, cutting edge, and ahead of it’s time. And in an age before digital manipulation made it possible to make a 5 look like a perfect 10, the men in the clothing were absolutely faultless. International Male was eye-candy overload. It was vaguely erotic. It was fantasy. The company may have been selling clothes, but the models were the real stars of the catalog. I knew Eric’s special beauty would work well within the confines of this aesthetic. So, for this shoot, I chose to record him in a similar fashion, but with a more contemporary twist. After nearly 1,200 responses to my original feature on Tumblr and constant inquiries from my blog followers about the status of his health and well being, it seemed only fitting I make Eric “Man of the Year.”
It was such a pleasure to work with him again. Eric is a lot of fun. He’s open and enthusiastic. He loves to laugh. He brings a unique energy and charisma to the creative process which makes my job so much easier. For this shoot, we also teamed up with Scott Moore, the CEO and stylist behind the high-end South Tampa clothing store Urban Body. Scott personally selected the pieces and accessories featured here. I want to thank him for his invaluable assistance and the keen sense of style and sex appeal he brought to the imagery. Here in Florida, its never really winter. I love shooting images which evoke a sexy, sun-kissed lifestyle. I feel fortunate that I live in a place where a skimpy bathing suit is ALWAYS a fashion option. For all of my friends and followers trapped by the season’s sleet and snow, I hope these images will warm you up a bit. In a wrap-up of some of the year’s hottest trunks and accessories from designers Andrew Christian, GMAN, Pistol Pete, Sauvage and Vuthy, I present the one and only Eric Eaton.
Man Of The Year
Photography | Sophia Renee
Model | Eric Eaton
Styling | Scott Moore
Stockist | Urban Body. www.urbanbody.com
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