Photographer Golden Czermak, otherwise known as FuriosFotog, has spent the better part of the past decade shooting men who he describes as “boyfriends for every mood.” That could not be a truer statement based off the research I did on this talented fellow who expertly captures the beauty of the male physique in many different forms.
He’s developed a big following thanks to that idea as well as the numerous amount of romance covers he’s published, and, let’s keep it real here, him being easy on the eye.
Photography wasn’t his desired profession originally as he had other career plans until two opportunities shifted his professional life in a major way. Now it’s a sky’s the limit kind of thing for him as he’s impressed thousands with his gorgeous works of art that include many scrumptious men including DJ Davids who we profiled on Instinct late last year.
He’s the latest to be featured in Instinct Magazine’s ongoing Photographer Series that highlights the beautiful work from many in our LGBTQ community. Check out our exclusive with him below.
How did you get involved in the art of photography?
Photography and graphic design have always been hobbies of mine, starting with the first release of Adobe Photoshop way back on those massive, ancient computers we had in school. Well after completing my Chemical Engineering degree and life as a regional Environmental, Health and Safety & Compliance Manager (which was my original career path), I began a small photography company on the side mainly for stress relief. I did the typical things like senior portraits, family photos, and even daunting weddings, all of which were great but also mundane.
At the end of 2012, I had two opportunities that blossomed into the full-time career this is today: 1. I worked with a friend of mine who owned several nutrition stores in town to do advertising work with some of his fitness friends/sponsored athletes and 2. I had an email from an author (Alexis Alexander) asking if I shot any fitness models for romance book covers. Having never done that before, I researched things, set a price, and started working and things at the time literally exploded. My following grew to over 2 million on social media, my romance book cover photography became more and more known in the indie and traditional publishing spheres, and I was able to go full time in 2014. Amazingly, too, I started working on my own fitness which led to becoming a cover model and also an author of 18 romance, sci-fi, and fantasy books myself (they’re on Amazon and Apple Books under my name, Golden Czermak.)
Did you have any inspirations before getting into the industry?
Personally, my inspiration has always been my mother. She passed away from cancer just as I started the photography company but her ideals and drive to overcome adversity and keep rising became my own personal motto, and one that I often associate with my brand.
From a professional standpoint, I was always interested in male physique photography and the art that could be produced when capturing an athlete’s hard work in a moment in time and how light and shadows could give even more life to an image.
How would you describe your specific style?
“Furious” lol. In all seriousness, I think my style in the studio can best be described as clean and location shots capturing both the beauty of the surroundings and the subject.
A majority of my work uses simple light in a plain studio environment, mainly to highlight the subject and also allow designers to more easily work with the images on author client’s cover designs.
You’ve shot some pretty amazing guys during your career. Do you usually search for them or do they come to you?
It started with me hounding them on the internet, but now a majority of them seek me out – even where I live in a small town in North Alabama (about an hour and a half south of Nashville). I’ve had clients come in from all over the States and globally, the furthest from Sydney, Australia. Most know that I shoot for book covers so they’re looking to expand their portfolios in that area if possible. There are no guarantees to appear on one since it’s in the author’s court of decision-making, but one thing I do guarantee is some damn fine images.
What has been your favorite shoot to date and why?
Gosh, that is a tough question. I would say my favorite shoot was when I shot both Caylan Hughes and Chase Ketron in the Bahamas and Grand Cayman. That was a fun trip – a cruise that also doubled as a large romance reader convention – so the personal and professional memories of being able to take photos in such beautiful locations and also be around people who appreciate those images on the covers of books that make my own career possible are ones that will be with me forever. Plus, I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the eye candy of both Chase and Caylan being there.
If there was one event that you could cover what would it be?
I would love to cover a celebrity event where I could just casually take headshots of all the hunky guys in attendance…
Oh, wait! I actually told you that out loud! Haha. In actuality, I don’t think there is a singular event that I want to cover, but I would love the opportunity to work with a greater number of new faces from all around the world.
Do you feel photographers are not as appreciated these days due to so much of the focus shifting to social media selfies and filters?
I do. It was always a noticeable trend even back when social media wasn’t as “throttled” organically as it is today. 2014/15 were the “golden years” so to speak, at least for me, where images could be shared and they would organically spread with millions of views, hundreds of thousands of likes and comments, etc. I think as social media became more of an advertising platform for people, photographers that shoot people (and product) became less and less important as people looked at ways of cutting production costs in lieu of getting more sales. Apps and filters definitely improved selfies and also products could be shot with phones then quickly fixed in post with a single press of a button in an app.
That said, I still think photographers are important and their “eye” and skill valuable assets are things that not everyone possesses. Those looking to start now definitely have it harder to stand out, but getting a style locked in (a BRAND) is something they should do and just like any other small business – be able to adapt to ever changing conditions, markets, and conditions (we ALL know how 2020 forced us to do that).
What does the future hold for you and what are you looking forward to the most in your career?
2019 was my best business year, with plans to take 2020 to the next level.
Of course, we know the reality of that entire year, so the future will be making sure I can attain 2019’s level of success again and then move the business forward with more clients, new faces, and new images to share (and license, haha).
That said, I did celebrate a recent milestone of 1500 cover image sales, alongside 1000 official “cover reveals” (where authors and publishers share the covers as part of their marketing plans before the release of a book).
I am super blessed by the opportunity to work with so many people on both sides of the camera, so I suppose the thing I am looking forward to the absolute most is growing those relationships.