Episode 3 – Steve’s Studio
As we walk down the block, I get the impression Steve considers me an equal…a little weird since we just met, but we’re out of the shop, so I guess my status is different…up a notch. I’m relaxed. Check out the stores on Columbus..a total hodgepodge, boutiques, restaurants, delis…all totally different…not like suburban towns where everything matches. It’s weird when you glance up. Some buildings are tall and new, but others are small and run down…like the world’s in levels.
We come to an old five-story building…no lobby…just a door off the sidewalk. Walk up three flights. Steve unlocks the door. Spreads his arms. “Home sweet home!” It’s not as nice as I expected, but not terrible…L- shaped. The long part’s a studio with blackout shades, movable spotlights and back drops. In the angle of the L there’s his living space…bed, desk and a fucked-up sofa with stuffing oozing out…right off a junk heap. Around the corner’s a tiny kitchen and bathroom, plus a pantry crammed with cans, jars, weird hats and scarves…photography props?
The walls are plastered ceiling to floor with all sorts of shit…posters, photos, art…pasted on like wallpaper.
“I like to live with my images,” he says, “a lot goes through my head.”
“Yeah, that’s obvious.” It’s a myriad of shit…but, mostly portrait photos and scenes around the city…people strolling in the park, in the subway and on the bus…I’m drawn to the nudes, lots of young guys posing. Some with amazing dicks…like me.
“I’m doing an increasing amount of magazine work,” he says, “and working with one publisher on a volume called ‘Off the Street’…a coffee table book…portraits and candid shots around the city.”
I nod. Sounds impressive…dawns on me I’d like to be in it.
He turns to me. “I’m amazed the project’s actually happening. A few months ago I went into Rossetti on 57th Street, the world-famous art publisher, showed them my portfolio and they were blown away. They’re building a photography section and wanted more anthologies of nudes which sell like hot cakes. They were impressed by my studies of young men.
He looks me over and it’s obvious what’s on his mind. He needs models for his book.
“So, you hired me because of the book?” I ask….don’t mince words.
“No, no,” he says too quickly, “not at all. I hired you because you’re presentable and well-spoken.”
I know bullshit when I hear it. “That’s the only reason?”
He looks away. “Well, no. I’m a photographer, and I like being around photogenic people.”
“You think I’m photogenic?” I know I’m giving him shit….but he’s definitely coming on to me…no way I’m gonna strip naked at the drop of a hat. I know I’m special.
He laughs. “Take it easy. it doesn’t take a genius. Your features are terrific and your coloring’s interesting, and very distinct.”
“Weird, you mean?”
“No. Not weird. Attractive. I’d definitely like to be the first to photograph you, but beyond that, you’re a good hire. You work hard and complement my business. Bottom line, you’re an impressive kid…it all adds up.”
“Thanks.” I’m pleased, but not exactly sure whether he’s blowing smoke up my ass…where’s this is all leading? Occurs to me, maybe he wants to suck me off. A few guys do me on a semi-regular basis…geeks mostly. Inexperienced guys don’t have STD’s. I’ve never caught anything and not about to start…plus I like virgins who get a charge out of major cock.
Steve asks if I want a beer which seems like a signal he wants to get comfortable and let the evening evolve. I’m not a big drinker…no way I want to a beer belly…but I’m up for a relaxed evening…not sure if I’d let Steve do anything. Older guys are not my cup of tea exactly. I hate yellow teeth.
Steve gets out hummus and chips and we sit at his kitchen table…starts telling me all about his photography. How he got into it when he was twelve to keep a record of his friends, mostly jocks that seemed like gods. How most hated being photographed, but a few got into it and became regular subjects. “Photographing my heroes made me feel like one of them,” he explains. “Eventually, I became photographer for the school paper and had official status, so nobody bitched about me snooping around. I got pictures of everything…from touchdowns to kids making out. Wanna see how my book’s coming?”
“Yeah.” He hauls out a bunch of folders and we go through. I like the street scenes, because they’re all on the West Side, and I recognize the locations…see them from a new perspective. He tells me how he’s friends with a bunch of building supers who let him on the roofs to take shots with his telephoto lenses. Finally, he opens a folder with boys lounging around his apartment half-dressed, or even nude…some in costumes…like half-nude clowns and shit. They’re totally bizarre.
“So, how come you’re showing me this stuff?” I ask.
“You haven’t a clue?”
“Well, yeah…you probably want pictures of me, right?”
He looks me in the eyes. “Sure, you’d be perfect. Want another beer…maybe a joint?”
“Maybe. I don’t drink much, but weed’s another story. I could definitely be persuaded.”
“Awesome!” He goes to the desk and pulls out a wooden box filled with big joints.
I pick up one and examine it…the fattest fuckers I ever saw. “These get you seriously fucked up, right?”
“Smell it. Only the best quality for my guests.”
I hold it to my nose….strong minty aroma…can’t wait to try it.
“Listen, Tamar,” he says. “This is our secret, right? No blabbing around the neighborhood.”
I’m offended. “Dude, I don’t blab anywhere.”
He laughs. “That’s what I like to hear. I can’t do anything with guys who can’t keep secrets.”
He fires the joint and I take a long hit. “Man, this is good shit!”
“You ever take pictures?” He asks.
“Don’t know squat about it. I take a pictures with my cell, but all goofy shit.”
He takes a big book from his desk. “Here, read this history of photography. It’s well written and explains everything. I use it as a reference.”
“I couldn’t take your book. What if I lose it?”
“You won’t. I’m not worried.”
“Okay.” I’m definitely intrigued about learning something new.
“Do you read much?” Steve asks.
I roll my eyes. “Hey, I may work in a florist shop, but I’m not a dumbass. Mom, busts my balls if I don’t get B’s or better. She doesn’t want me to end up like my dad.”
“What happened to him?”
“Beats me. Rumor is he ended up in jail for dealing drugs…Mom fucking hates weed. Guess she’s afraid I’ll end up the same. I never knew the guy. He took off when I was a baby…wouldn’t know him if I fell over him.”
“Too bad. He’d be proud of you.”
“Maybe not. Who the fuck knows.”
He pauses. Stares at me. “Tamar, I swear you could model. Your height, build and features are all perfect.”
I’m flattered, but don’t admit it. It sounds gay and my defenses are up. Kids don’t mess with me because I’m tall and strong…not about to ruin my rep by getting it on with an old florist. I laugh and tell him he’s full of shit.
“No, seriously,” he insists. “You’re a striking kid. Your bone structure is flawless, especially those cheek bones.”
I know he’s right. Shit, I check out the fashion mags all the time.
He’s all psyched. “Let me take some shots…pull a portfolio together. I’m sure some agencies would be interested.”
I’m cautious. “How much would it cost?”
“Nothing, as long as I use a couple of the shots for my book.”
I hesitate…don’t want to seem too eager, or desperate. Better to keep things low key, but deep down I’m excited. Think of all the money I could make…plus the cool events, and endless ladies to keep my dick in shape
To be continued…Read next episode!