Gods of Beauty

In the not so recent past photographers needed to only let their cameras do the talking. Nowadays, social media and its voracious appetite for information has the audience curious about every step of the image making process. We ask rising young photographer Daniel Jaems to talk about his three month/140 male model project seen exclusively here on models.com.

“Between July and September I shot over 140 male models for an untitled project that was based on male beauty. I wanted to create a series of portraits that celebrated some of the most beautiful new male models in the industry and who happen to be passing through London during the shows and the months that followed. There are so many images out there where the model doesn’t connect to the camera. I wanted to strip it all back and focus on the intimate gaze and the sparks that a viewer gets when they stare deep into a model’s eyes. My playground was fragrance campaigns – the perfect inspiration that plays up to desire, sex, allure, innocence and ‘the portrait’ – without getting the models to actively try to recreate any of the great ads that we all know… I looked at the legend of Narcissus (loosely, as that concept is so tired) but what I was attracted to most was the idea that maybe the mirror is the camera and the model is staring deep into his own soul and is infatuated with what he sees when he peers into the abyss of the aperture – and we (us viewers behind the two way mirror) are privileged to experience this virgin moment of vulnerability or inner showmanship. Remember I said loosely! Ultimately, it acts as the glue to bring this ambitious number of images together under one skin.”

Below he talks about 7 of the faces with whom he really connected. For all 50 final portraits from the shoot, see Part 1 and Part 2.

Louis Steyaert
One of my favorite models to shoot at the moment. He really understands the subtle relationship of the camera and his angles. With Louis you can literally just let him do his thing. He just gets it and is able to bring the right level of emotion, desire and masculinity without any direction. For a new face that has already walked for Louis Vuitton, Dior and Prada and been on the cover of Vogue Italia, he doubts himself a little (can you imagine!), but this serves him well by keeping him humble and hungry to make great images. He’s right at the start of his journey and it’s going to be fun seeing him grow as a model.

Travis Smith
His beauty is ‘out of the box’. He has the most amazing hair and the way it frames his face and rolls off his shoulders is masterfully calculated. It’s easy to see why his look is so striking strutting down the catwalk. For this shot it was obvious I was going to get something that looked like a still from the ‘Twilight’ franchise so we played up to it and used it as an excuse to show off his perfectly proportioned body. Outside of the commodity Travis is a bright spark. He has set up his own model portfolio app for the industry and he’s really excited about getting it out there. I love it when models have things going on outside of work that keeps their mind ticking. Brains, brawn, ideas and ambition. It’s a powerful force.

Mclain Driver
His features are faultless. Each element on his face is perfect, pronounced and I’ve yet to find a model that can come close to Mclain when it comes to wonderful eyebrows. A strong jawline reminds you this is not just a pretty boy but a man; like a Versace model from the supermodel era when men were chiseled and clean cut. When you take 100 frames of a model and you find it impossible to edit down from, say 40 shots, you know you have an amazing new face in front of you.

Botond Cseke
There are two models that have this silhouette. (Ryan Barrett is the other). Eyes like slices, ears set high up on the face, elongated jawline and a nose that stretches to marry the two realms. The facial structure is very powerful and I first noticed it with Botond on the catwalk. The most amazing ears! His face is wonderful all by itself so I thought it was important to capture it head on to retain that same show-stopping power. He’s also remarkable because there is a little Jekyll & Hyde in him- in front of the camera it’s like a whole other force unearths, unrecognizable from the quiet guy waiting in hair and makeup with his sandwich. It’s always fun to see that transformation play out.

Blazej Kutyla (I LOVE Models Management,View Management)
When I began shooting this project, the one thing I said over and over again as the ‘model inspiration’ was “Pretend you are the star of a fragrance campaign, it’s all about your face and your gaze into the camera.” I think of all the boys, Blazej nailed it. From the first few frames of shooting Blazej it was clear to me what kind of image he is destined to make. This new face has the power to fully captivate you in the same way the Acqua di Gio guys leave you mesmerized. The viewer’s eyes and his are like magnets. His face is a perfect balance of curves and angles. The light rolls off his cheekbones in perfect symmetry. His proportions are perfect. He’s a beautiful man.

Rafa Bodgar
We transcended some place else when I was shooting Rafa. He quickly let me know that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary portrait. Instead he unwrapped his personality with a series of moves that were more art-house than male model poses and I found it refreshing to shoot a guy that wasn’t governed or limited by a select number of well rehearsed looks for the camera. He really is a free spirit and is not afraid to explore. I have some amazing outtakes which are all stunning (but not right for this project). I recently shot Sylvester Ulv for another shoot and they both share this same wonderful quality of inhibition with a tiny pinch of “Fuck you, I’m going to show you something new”.

Chris Fawcett
Chris is one of the sweetest, well mannered guys in the business. 100% professional, 100% motivated and a breeze to shoot. The camera really loves him (like all the boys in this shoot) but with him in particular, I was very excited to capture a stronger expression than a lot of his images out there. When you look at all his imagery you are drawn to his amazing nose so it was great to emphasize this. Almost like a lion cub, which I guess suits his personality too. When you are working with Chris you will notice how at ease he is with the camera. He has the confidence and conviction of a pro, which makes my job very easy.

Anatol Modzelewski
Anatol continues my obsession with strong noses. His nose dominates his face like the swans in Matthew Bourne’s production of Swan Lake; a fusion of masculinity and elegance that works its way up from his top lip into his thick eyebrows, framing his face perfectly. This was the second time I’ve shot with Anatol and each time I find it hard to stop shooting. He’s the king of improvisation so he’s always exploring new shapes and angles, paying very good attention to the light and how it’s dancing off his face.

Some of Daniel’s other favorite shots
Ben Allen

Kristoffer Hasslevall

Lowell Tautchin

Mark Cox

Matt Woodhouse


Nikola Jovanovic

Rob Evans

Rodolphe Zanforlini

Ton Heukels

Yannick Abrath

See the 50 final portraits, Part 1 and Part 2.

  1. In polaroids some models aren’t so stunning, but my favorites are Louis, Lowell, Tom.

  2. you guys mean gods of photoshop? and it s actually still not correct since they r WAY to done !.. this s really what beauty has become ?

  3. @miguel: we all know every photographer uses photoshop nowadays, but photoshop doesn’t miracles (and by miracle I mean making someone look like a different person, and still look natural), it is a tool to make pictures look better, but it doesn’t create the essence of beauty. This boys’ features are not different from their features in real life. In the pictures, photoshop can improve their skin, the light, the shadows, but the most important thing here is their complexion and singularity, the uniqueness of their faces, and that’s natural. Their essential beauty comes from birth, photoshop didn’t changed their personas. I can recognize each and everyone here. It’s a nice photoshop work ’cause the tool is only improving superficial aspects, but it’s not changing their essence. I was use for aesthetic purposes, but none of this boys actually needs it to be beautiful, and that’s why the site chose the title.

    @milex: Darling, stop copying the andro-boys, you might have some model aura here and there, but you’re trying to hard.

  4. sorry 1st comment is for trumancapote, not for miguel… and I missed some verbs ’cause typing too fast haha, but I think the idea is clear. :P

  5. I’m very pleased for all the boys involved to get this coverage and they 100% deserve it, but if people think this is up to standard, then this is a noose around the neck of proper, authentic photography. I’ve not seen such amateur photoshop in years. The dodge tool on Rob Evans is turning him white!! And incidentally, where are all the models of colour here? Gods of Bad Photoshop is more appropriate – and i am surprised this got through models.com’s quality control. Who uses dodge tool to whiten the eyes to this extent!! Any pro knows that if you do that the model is at risk of looking cross-eyed, and you can see this in several images. I don’t know the photographer and i’m not intending to be insulting – there are some GREAT photographs amongst this, bravo for that, but way too many are a HOLY MESS. To make it worse, he talks about ‘stripping it all back’. If only the best were chosen (the ones not ruined by photoshop) then i would be praising this, but as it stands, it’s pretty insulting to call these beauty images. Pass the vaseline..

  6. Gods of beauty?
    Only a few of those men even look remotely attractive. If all of them, save 2 or maybe 3 told me they model, I would laugh hysterically and never believe them.

    I’m waiting for the day when the term MALE model literally becomes MALE model.
    Not, “i havent even seemed to have hit puberty yet and im 23” model
    Put some damn hair on their chest and their faces. everything is so photoshopped that men are starting to look like plastic dolls and lose nearly every feature of being a male.
    Sorry, but 6 pack abs doesn’t cut it, with all the muscle definition in the world, lack of body hair medically =lack of testosterone, FACT.

    ANY MALE models would like to step up to the plate now please?

    The second part should be called “ACTUAL gods of beauty”

    Harsh words, but true.

  7. Some amazing faces shot well…. Then a hideous app used to give some sort of cartoonish effect. You’d have been better off using Instagram. Poor.

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