ALL PLAYERS: Q&A with Rick Day

Few photographers can cause an immediate guttural response to a picture of a man in his underwear. Rick Day? Yeah, he can do that.

The New York City based photographer, whose work has been seen in Elle, Details, Teen Vogue and GQ as well as GAP, Ritani, C-in2 and Rufskin campaigns, has just released his third installment of his coffee table book series, PLAYERS, which now consists of PLAYERS, PLAYERS 2 and the most recently released ALL PLAYERS. ALL PLAYERS consists of both previous collections as well as all new images.

According to an ALL PLAYERS press release, “Rick day [succeeds] in creating a world of images in which the trained bodies of hunks in rough rugby outfits, tight shorts (or simply naked as God intended) exude much more than simply masculine sex appeal.” It’s not amped sex appeal, or men in rugby outfits that concoct a gripping experience, however, but “the interplay of the straightforward and the intimate and its palpable excitement.”

Check out this exclusive series of images from ALL PLAYERS and then read a candid interview with Day below in which he divulges his methods for keeping nude men comfortable, the photographers he looks up to, and what it was like working with Daniel Garofali on the recent C-in2 Grip campaign.

The Underwear Expert: How does ALL PLAYERS differ from your past two coffee table books, PLAYERS 1 & 2?

Rick Day: Well, ALL PLAYERS is the end of the series. And the publishing house Bruno Gmünder and I thought it would be a great way to end the series with an extra large sized book. I think it may be the biggest book they have published. So it’s 1/3 of PLAYERS, 1/3 of PLAYERS 2 and 1/3 of new men.

The Underwear Expert: You recently directed and photographed C-in2’s GRIP campaign featuring model Daniel Garofali. Can you tell us about that shoot?

Rick Day: I really love working with [Creative Director Greg Sovell] at C-in2, he really knows what he wants but is appreciative of a photographer’s view and allows for a lot of creative freedom. As a photographer that is a real pleasure. My business partner Steve and I had been toying with trying something new with this campaign, which would be a departure from the hot prison boy series that has become such a part of the C-in2 brand. Once Greg was on board, everything else started to fall in place. I had worked with Daniel Garofali in the past for the PLAYERS series and was really thrilled to see him at the casting for this job. He is the consummate professional and has a huge following of his own. We thought he would be the perfect match for this ad campaign. It also just happened to be the perfect timing for release with the Olympic games.

The Underwear Expert: You seemingly have an unparalleled ability to capture the male form; with what do you credit your skill in so successfully capturing the male body on camera and film?

Rick Day: Thank you for that wonderful complement but there are many great photographers shooting the male form so I just feel blessed to have such a following. Though I always credit Bruce Weber’s images with starting me as a photographer, it really was studying the lighting of the masters of my genre. For me, I really learned a lot by looking at Skrebneski’s images from the Chicago film fest series, as well as Herb Ritts who was amazing with using the lines of the body. I also loved Greg Gorman’s use of lighting and body imagery and a real fondness of the Tom of Finland series.

The Underwear Expert: What is the easiest part of the process for you when photographing men, Rick?

Rick Day: The actual shooting. That to me is the most creative part of it. Each man is built differently and each has different personalities.

The Underwear Expert: And what challenges do you face in capturing the male form?

Rick Day: The biggest challenge is keeping the guy comfortable and engaged in the shooting process–understanding what I am asking of him.

The Underwear Expert: And if you had to choose your favorite part of a man’s physique to photograph?

Rick Day: I like beautiful armpits and really nice asses but my favorite part is not really muscular in nature. I just love a sexy hair pattern. You have probably noticed that most of the guys I shoot have beards or stubble and rarely if ever do I want to shoot a guy that shaves his pubic area. I really like a man to look like a man. Being ripped is also nice.

The Underwear Expert: You play with viewers’ expectations in your work a lot; do you aim to provoke or unsettle with your photography?

Rick Day: I want to both intrigue and soothe the viewers visual palette. I want you to want to turn the page.

The Underwear Expert: You utilize athletic themes in a lot of your photographs. Can you speak to that?

Rick Day: I use them for the PLAYERS series but as an accessory or an after thought rather than a prop.

The Underwear Expert: You produce a lot of video work as well. Is there a medium you prefer?

Rick Day: I am a photographer first, but I am really enjoying the process of video. It really gives you a platform to express yourself in a more evolved way.

The Underwear Expert: We’ve also noticed your use of GIF’s in your work.

Rick Day: I really, really love Gif’s–I use to use them a lot more. At the moment, I am really interested in using them in conjunction with video. That is what I love about what I do, there are no rules when it comes to expressing yourself in this medium.

The Underwear Expert: You shoot nudes a lot. What’s your trick for getting naked men to be comfortable enough to take good photos, Rick?

Rick Day: In the beginning it was a lot harder because most of the men I shoot are straight, and nudes were always thought of as taboo or somehow dirty. That goes back to religion and its condemnation of just about everything. We are born nude, we are taught that nudity is dirty. It is not. After PLAYERS was released, it was much easier to find guys willing to shoot. The key, though, is making your model comfortable and just being respectful.

The Underwear Expert: And are there any tips or directions you find yourself giving to models on a regular basis?

Rick Day: Relax.. Chin out.. Abs abs abs.. Great. Click.

The Underwear Expert: And what do you tell models before they come in to meet you?

Rick Day: My address! Just kidding. I usually have them come in to meet me. We can discuss what they want out of the shoot as well as what I would want out of the shoot–this way there are no gray areas and it makes the shoot much more comfortable for both of us.

The Underwear Expert: In closing, what’s your fondest photo shoot memory?

Rick Day: Asking a really nervous guy what his astrological sign was, while I was doing his hair. His answer was “straight.” Not sure what month that is!

For more from Rick Day, visit his website or Vimeo page.

ALL PLAYERS (limited edition) was published by Bruno Gmünder and released in October 2012. It is 288 pages, full cover, and presented in hard cover with dust jacket. It retails for $174.99. ISBN: 978-3-86787-420-5. To purchase ALL PLAYERS, or more of Rick Day’s work, head here.


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