For more than 12 years, Vincent Six has been traveling the world photographing hundreds of male models in brave artistic nudes surrounded by the most spectacular natural environments. By doing so, he wanted to capture the courage, strength, and joy of his models, and inspire others to step out of their comfort zones, face their fears, and enjoy the magnificent outdoors in a respectful new way.
Currently, Six is working on two new coffee table photography books, Pacific & Spirit, which are full of narrative and emotions. Inside, viewers will find more than 600 never before seen images of men living outdoor adventures and exploring their relationship with nature while they enjoy breathtaking landscapes: forests, mountains, peaks, waterfalls, frozen lakes, glaciers, deserts, and more.
The variety of landscapes and men within these pages are overwhelming, which will guarantee audiences wanting more. Pacific will be released in June, while Spirit is scheduled for October.
Instinct caught up with the photographer to talk more about the books, his love for nature and photography, why his work focuses on male nudity, and what’s coming next.
Thank you for taking some time to chat with me, Vincent! Can you begin by telling us more about your two new coffee table books, Pacific & Spirit?
I have been working on these books for four years. This is something that I self-publish and do on my own in my spare time, so it has taken me a long time to publish two new hardcover books. Also, because each one has around 300 pages. I wanted to create the kind of book I would love to have. Books with a lot of content and photos, so every weekend and moment I had, I would go to the mountains and shoot some photos. I photographed around 100 models in between 80-90 locations around the world, and it has been a lot of work.
What’s the inspiration behind them?
These are my third and fourth books, and I have always been inspired by nature. It’s what I love the most. I also work in cinema, films, video games, and things like that, so I wanted to create two books that felt very cinematic. I wanted them to feel like a movie. I was really inspired by adventures; by discovering the world and merging with nature. Discovering these secret places. Anyone that sees these books, whether they’re in New York, Paris, or wherever, I want to offer them an adventure on demand.
If you’re having a bad day at work, you can come home, open the book, and it’s suddenly like you’re traveling along the Pacific Northwest coast or going camping with these people who could be your friends. I really wanted to capture that feeling. I may photograph nude men, but I also want to bring a feeling of adventure to people. It’s not about the nudity. It’s about how they feel when they are in these places. That is my big goal.
What else do you hope audiences take away from the books and photos?
There are a couple of things. One, I hope my photos inspire people to be braver and more confident with themselves. I’m not really a confident person myself, but when I photograph these people and I see them doing things that I wouldn’t normally do, it makes me feel more confident in the things I want to do. So, I would love to inspire others to feel better about themselves.
Two, I hope I can inspire people to be more adventurous and do things they never thought they would be able to do. Many years ago, I was living in the city photographing friends in my room in a shared apartment with six other people. I was photographing them in the corner of my room because that’s the only space I had. Now, I’m photographing in some of the most beautiful parts of the world. People should pursue their dreams and aspirations.
You initially wanted to be a film director. How did you fall into the world of photography?
I’ve wanted to be a director since I was a kid, and I actually do a lot of films with my models and things like that just because I absolutely love to create images in movement, but the reason I jumped into photography was because making a film takes too much time and effort. Creating one single idea, I had to have a big team and coordinate too many people, and I’m not a patient person [laughs].
When I have an idea, I have 20 others. I want to do them all and just go, go, go. That’s why I started photographing. I decided, okay, I can at least create one frame of this story that I have in my mind. With photography, I treat it as if I’m shooting a film. I am creating the essential frames of the story that I want to tell, and it was easier for me to manage because I do it by myself. It’s me, my camera, the model, and whatever comes along. That’s what I like to do.
Did you ever think photography would lead you to where you are today?
Absolutely not because I never wanted to be a photographer. When I published my first book, I wanted to create something like a short film in a book. It was very small with around 80 pages, but it was a full story. That was my dream. I will always like photography, but I wanted my photos to tell a story and follow up with a meaning. When I started 13 years ago, I was photographing anything. Friends, families, kids, dogs, whatever came along.
What made you stick with photographing naked men. I mean, we’re not complaining at all!
[Laughs] I have always liked the work of Paco y Manolo, they are photographers from Spain that have a very successful magazine called Kink that is more erotic than what I do, and they have been publishing this magazine for over 20 years. I would receive copies when I was younger and I was always like, oh my God, they look really good!
Then Paul Freeman was actually the person that really inspired me with his book, Larrikin. When I got it six or seven years ago, I felt so good looking through it. There was such a great vibe with the models. They were naked, but they were happy and enjoying themselves, and that made me feel so good. I said to myself, I want to do something like that. I want to make people feel as good as he made me.
Nudity is my way of representing this seamless connection between us and the world. These days, we cover up from society in so many layers, from expensive clothes to a certain look. These guys are putting themselves out there and discovering parts they never knew existed by laying naked over wet rocks in the Pacific. That was the route I wanted to take with my artistic nudes.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part about your work?
Meeting all these people and seeing all these places. When people are naked in front of your camera, they let themselves go and open up. They put a lot of trust in you, and they are suddenly telling you things they maybe wouldn’t talk about with other people. They feel confident and put so much trust in you, and it’s been amazing to have met so many good people. Meeting them and seeing many perspectives of life, it has helped me realize a lot about myself as well and discover more of the world.
When I was working in film, I spent a lot of time in front of a computer. There was a moment around eight years ago where I was in front of the computer, and I said to myself, you are watching the world through YouTube. For 10 hours a day, you are seeing videos of National Geographic, and that is your little window to the world. I want to see these places, and photography was the excuse I needed to get me out and visit these random and amazing places.
What do you hope your models take away from these sessions?
I always ask why they do certain things because you have to be very brave to do what they are doing. They are going to be seen by many people, and all their insecurities are suddenly going to come out. One thing that I’ve discovered is that every person, no matter how good they look, has insecurities. Nobody thinks they look good enough. Everyone has fears to face, and when they do, I have found that what they really want is to step out of their comfort zone and discover more about who they are. There are steps to saying, ‘I want to be brave,’ and I think this is one of the things that they take away the most.
Then, of course, the experience overall. Even if you only see one photo, normally, each photoshoot is like a full day of adventures and good times. Now, I have the issue of models contacting me, and if I don’t give them a big, grand adventure where they have to challenge themselves, they don’t want to do the shoot [laughs].
Out of all your photoshoots, is there one that will always stand out to you?
I have a couple, but there is one that is very important to me. There is this group photo that I took last summer, which is the cover of Spirit. For that photo, I wanted to gather at least 20 models around a firepit. Models of different ages and looks, fit and not so fit, older and younger, and I wanted to do a huge group photo as a celebration for finishing Pacific & Spirit. Additionally, it represents all these people who have experienced these wonderful adventures, and they are now gathering to talk about them with each other. Sharing stories in a beautiful way around the fire on a summer night.
That photo was a turning point for me, and it took months and months of work to make it happen. Models came from all around Canada. There were some COVID restrictions, so it was difficult to get people from outside the country, but we created this super beautiful photograph that shows people gathering, all naked, around the fire and having a wonderful time. That was one of the best photoshoots I ever did.
What are some future goals you would like to accomplish with your career?
Honestly, I’m exhausted. Like I said, these books have been a lot of work, so I feel like I need to take a moment and step back. Although, I would like to keep on releasing expedition boxes. This is a format I did last year. I’ll only focus on one or two models and an adventure, and I’ll show that in photography, video, and film. This single, well-developed adventure with a lot of narrative and quality in the content. That’s my goal for next year.
Before we wrap up, are there any other upcoming projects or anything else you’d like to mention or plug?
No, that’s it for now. Just finishing up the books and publishing new things next year!