JOHANN D’NALE SET OUT TO DO SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT WHEN HE KICKED OF BUT I LIKE IT. HE REFERS TO IT AS AN ARTISTIC PRACTICE AND USES THE TAG LINE ‘THE ALTERNATE FACE OF PORTRAITURE’. WHILE HE TOTALLY RESPECTS THE AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHERS PRODUCING STUNNING FASHION, MALE BEAUTY OR PHYSIQUE WORK, HE SIMPLY HAS NO INTEREST IN CHASING A ‘ME TOO’ LINE OF COMMERCIALITY OR ‘LIKES’. INSTEAD HE WORKS TO PRODUCE INTERESTING, QUESTIONING IMAGERY AND WORKS WITH HIS MODELS COLLABORATIVELY - AND HOW THIS WORKS DIFFERS FROM ONE TO ANOTHER.
Johann D'Nale is a photographer based in the United Kingdom. Focused on creating stylish, original imagery of the male visage and form, Johann's photographs a diverse selection of men – aiming to share the beauty and subtleties and to record each person at that point as they transition through life. He works with guys from a broad spectrum of ages, backgrounds and reasons for wanting photos. Some are everyday guys looking for social media or dating app pics, others are models - aspirational or already working - looking to develop a folio and others are simply interested in collaborating artistically - to develop something more than a run of the mill set of imagery. Johann's photos are a mixture of personal promotion, portfolio and project-based photos.
Session musician and vocalist by trade, 27 years old TJ Lu is also a model with fashion showcase and magazine modelling experience. British born, TJ has Nigerian blood running through his veins and currently he resides in Manchester. TJ and Johann met through Brian Selway, another BeautifulMag contributor, who suggested they work together. “I remember seeing TJ, covered in metallic paint, in one of Brian’s images and just thought - this guy is amazing, I really must shoot him,” Johann recalls. Shortly after that they talked and everything came together.
The shoot had been discussed in advance - a loose plan and a highly collaborative approach. A naked model, shot against a dark backdrop. No detailed concept, no extended planning - just a mood board of poses Johann D'Nale thought would work and an open minded model, willing to work through various ideas. Johann continues: “Shooting TJ, I knew we were creating something special - we got on really well - lots of great banter and he was really relaxed about posing unclothed - from dancing to unusual poses - we just tried out lots of options and this led to this set - all produced in a couple of hours in a single shoot. Speaking personally - I just love the way light falls on darker skins - and enjoy working to try and capture some of that beauty. Combine that with TJ’s amazingly expressive face and playful approach to modelling and we seemed to have a perfect partnership that evening.”
As mentioned earlier TJ Lu himself is no stranger to performing and creating. His ‘day job’ is as a musician, performing up and down across the country working for a variety of bands as well as composing his own music. Talented of voice and with instruments he can sometimes be found towards the front of the stage and it was this presence and charm that comes through in the images they created. While Johann D'Nale is a non-commercial photographer, his passion is taking him to some unusual places - a derelict farmhouse in Birmingham, a former 18th century brickworks in Scotland, a Victorian-era tobacco office in Kentucky and a gay nudist beach in Catalonia. “I love to make men look good, and to create interesting challenging with those men. Wherever I go I like to work with local guys and create something unique to the location and working together.” I guess that is why he likes it. –BM-
JOHANN D’NALE • BUT I LIKE IT PHOTOGRAPHY | BEAUTIFULMAG
TJ LU | BEAUTIFULMAG