When I dream of the perfect place for a holiday, laying on, and walking along, the incredible beaches of The Algarve, Portugal would certainly be near the top of that list. FH readers should be visually familiar with those beaches given the many images I have been fortunate to have featured from photographer Mark Leighton. But.. no matter how beautiful where you live is, a holiday requires leaving home.
Mark says this was his first holiday in 15 years and heading The Philippines meant not just a vacation, but an adventure. Of course, like any artist, it is almost impossible to entirely leave your work behind. So before heading out, Mark check out models in the area and planned a few shoots as part of trip. Mark graciously shared some of his working vacation which featured his work with local models LJ and Nico. Mark shot both models separately and together, and today I am featuring my favorite images featuring LJ.
'What took me there? Well I guess the need for a proper holiday and adventure after 15 years of living in Portugal (beautiful as it is). I also wanted to do some shoots in a different location but still be able to use the Ocean. The light over there I found to be much better for shooting as it is usually filtered through light clouds, so not so harsh. Also the South China Sea was so warm compared to the Atlantic Ocean here! Needless to say, I would love to go back one day.'
27 year old LJ describes himself as a young professional who is passionate with the art of Modeling. The Manila model describes himself as motivated and looks at every job, and every opportunity as a way to expand, learn and grow. LJ balances his full time day job in the corporate world with his modeling and performing that he makes a priority to fit in, whenever he can find the time.
'I found the Filipinos to be really warm and friendly people, living up to their reputation. Traffic and transport was beyond chaotic but it is a fascinating place being a real melting pot of so many cultures and influences including Spanish, American, Chinese, etc.'
As with his work from home, Mark's pull towards the ocean makes for some of the most breathtaking images. I love LJ's eyes and lips, and he uses his face, along with his great body, lean and athletic, in the creation of so many beautifully sensuous poses. My favorite image is Mark's capture of LJ flying over the water like a dolphin. He seems so natural and at home within the ocean, almost as one with the environment which surrounds him.