From the dark corners of hotel rooms and the depths of crumpled bedsheets, Chase Lisbon, the man behind Supercult.com and previous Dear Menz guest columnist, has summoned several of his peers in the world of erotic photography to form a collaborative blog called Late Night Feelings (aka FLNGS.com.) Nathan Appel, Bob Coulter, Merkley???, George Pitts, Tony Stamolis, and of course Mr. Lisbon himself, regularly contribute pieces of their work and writing on FLNGS, which serves as a meeting place for this X-rated Knights of The Round Table. Your RSS Reader will undoubtedly be seduced with this roster, which also features special guests such as Katie West and Steve Diet Goedde.
I have the pleasure of interviewing each one of these talented gentlemen and first up is Nathan Appel, whose personal stories add a whole other dimension to his already breathtaking photographs.
You grew up in San Luis Obispo, a pretty desolate town with not much to do, where did you find inspiration growing up?
Yes, I grew up in Santa Maria which is about 30 miles south of San Luis Obispo. I had a small group of friends who were the same most of my childhood, we were into books and science and building things. We also did a lot of exploring. I think comics, movies and music were a staple of my early life, and influenced a lot of how i think about things…
Have you ever shot at the Madonna Inn there (my favorite place in the world)?
I’ve never shot at the Madonna Inn, it’s out of my budget. I did however assist on a commercial job where we photographed Mrs. Madonna..
Can you tell us about the moment you decided this was the kind of art you wanted to make?
I went to art school, and left because I couldn’t afford the tuition after my grants were pulled. I was lost for a few years, in the same city (San Francisco), then moved back to Santa Maria to gain my bearings. I took a photo class there, shot a few nudes and posted on flickr. Jodie Abrams, the photo editor at nerve.com found me, paid me for my pics, and encouraged me. Being encouraged is a fantastic thing, but when money is thrown around, it’s truly self re-assuring.
Did you go to school for it or are you self-taught?
I went to film school, and learned a lot about direction, angles and lighting for mood, etc. Later, I took some photo classes. What I miss the most, where the peers and getting feedback, that is invaluable.
How do you set up the mood for your shoots? And are you pretty technical and plan things out or do you prefer happy accidents?
If it’s a location I’ve never seen, I scout out the location, then I talk to the model about what I want from the shoot. I am technical in that I am constantly changing my exposures, lighting, etc to get the final picture close to what is in my head. I’m not so much in the thought of the ‘happy accident’. I think there’s a reason why pics come out as they do, and a lot of it is involved with the model herself as well as the photographer.
I love the anecdotes you share on your posts for FLNGS. Meeting so many interesting people and caught up in surreal situations, which one has had the most impact on your life so far?
About two months ago, I was at the lowest point of my life when I got a call from a girl, a model, who ended up saving my life that day. It was a random phone call, amazing.
What is the difference between working with complete strangers and people that you know?
If somebody wants to work with me, I am very happy. It makes no difference if it is a friend or random stranger, but if they want to work with me, then I am very happy.
Any recent obsessions you can share (music, art, food, books, anything)?
I am in love with a girl. So I guess that’s an obsession. I am always on the look for good people too…
I love your masks set and your headphones series. Do you have any specific projects like those planned?
I have one project I am working on, but it’s been on hold. It’s nothing like the masks set or the headphones set. I am also working on a few pictorial storylines, those are personal projects.
What’s next in the world of Nathan Appel?
In all honesty, I am just happy to be alive. I try to take things a day at a time. I have a project that I’ve been working on semi-regularly, and everyday is new. That said, I’ve taken a break for a few months to clear my head, and figure out what is important to me.
Stay tuned for more interviews with the gentlemen of Late Night Feelings!