By his own admission, Ben is not your regular “model type” but he’d volunteered for the shoot to help out the local tourism office. An impish-looking, 28 year old Peace Corp worker, he has a slight build, tattoos and thinning hair. When I met him, he had an Al-Queda looking beard going on.
“I know I’m not classic model material but I’d like to think my appeal is more in the Lyle Lovett category,” he said (Lyle – with his far from poster-boy looks – was married to Pretty Woman’s Julia Roberts – albeit briefly – giving hope to thousands of less fortunate men worldwide).
But what Ben may have lacked in Brad Pitt genes, he certainly made up for in enthusiasm, personality and the ability to enjoy himself and those around him. “Would I shave my beard off just for this shoot? Of course, not a problem man,” he replied, eager to help out and clearly entertained by the chance to add modelling to his life experience.
“Dad”, he said the next day as we headed towards a location, “Let me call you back, I’ve just got a few more pictures to do for this modelling shoot I’m on.”…..”I mean, who gets to say that,” he says, beaming to Sam an equally enthusiastic volunteer he seconded to the shoot to partner him.
Sometimes, model looks aren’t everything – a valuable lesson to bare in mind if you’re a travel photographer looking for people genuinely having a good time in the location you’re shooting.