Photographer Joee Vee has a dream job that many of us gay men would love to try out. He shoots gorgeous guys, including yummy adult film star Diego Sans, in a state of next to nothing all while capturing their irresistible beauty & chiseled male physique in a variety of breathtaking ways.
Joee is the latest to be featured in our continuing Instinct Photographer Series. His passion for what he does began at a young age which he honed in on during college before making a career out of it in his years to come.
He’s also managed to get creative in his work that includes, of all things, making guys look sexy while eating a delicious slice of pizza. Yum indeed.
Check out our exclusive with him below.
How did you get involved in the art of photography?
I first fell in love with photography my junior year of high school. I started with using film and became obsessed with being in the darkroom, watching my art come to life. I think a big part of why I have continued on in this career path is due to my photography teacher, Mr. Stro. He had such faith in me and his encouraging words “you have the eye” sticks with me to this day. I did not realize it at the time, but having a teacher/mentor, like Mr. Stro, who believes in you at such a young age, truly does have a positive, lasting impact on the person you become.
Fun Fact: Mr. Stro is the one who came up with my artist name “Joee Vee”.
Did you have any inspirations before getting into the industry?
In college, where I majored in Studio Art with a concentration in Photography, I found great inspiration in American photographer David LaChapelle. His use of bold, pops of color and the way he seemed to connect with his subject matter was so appealing to me.
After graduating, I began to get more involved with photographing the male body and Mark Henderson became an artist whose creativity I could not help but admire. He also uses bold color but the way he presents the male figure on camera is truly unlike any other.
Fun Fact: In college I mostly photographed females.
How would you describe your specific style?
I describe my style as when art and passion collide. I love creating art through images but I always try to incorporate other passions of mine into what I capture. Of course those passions change as I, myself, grow and change.
I love the male physique and enjoy being able to represent it beautifully through photographs but I also have great passion for food, fashion, where I come from and where I currently reside. An example of this is when I combined mouthwatering men chowing down on their favorite NYC pizza for my coffee table book, All Day I Dream About Pizza, which ties together my style and my passion for my city.
You’ve shot some pretty amazing guys during your career. Do you usually search for them or do they come to you?
At the start of my career I was definitely the one fishing for guys to work with to help build my portfolio and brand. Now I’d say about 75% come to me. However, if there is someone that would benefit from both of us working together, I have no shame in reaching out to them to see if they would like to collaborate.
What has been your favorite shoot to date and why?
Yikes! This is always such a difficult question to answer because I feel I put a lot of thought, time and passion into all of my shoots. If I had to pick, I really enjoyed my most recent shoot which was my first one since the pandemic started.
Due to the new COVID restrictions and taking extra precaution, I did a location shoot down by the Intrepid in Manhattan. I typically use my studio space so this allowed me to start thinking differently. It pushed me to not rely on what I’m used to and to freshen up my work. I felt my creativity again. The energy of the model was radiating & made it a genuinely fun shoot. That day reminded me why I love doing what I do.
If there was one event that you could cover what would it be?
Event photography is not something I typically dabble in. I do, however, enjoy bringing awareness to important topics through my photography. As a gay man I want to represent the importance of gay pride, equality and love is love. I was happy to be able to do a shoot in October 2020 to encourage Americans to get out and vote in this past election. That was important to me. This was also part of the shoot I spoke of in the previous question, therefore another reason it was one of my favorites.
Do you feel photographers are not as appreciated these days due to so much of the focus shifting to social media selfies and filters?
100% yes. People think they can either do it themselves or ask any person who owns a camera to take their photo. All I say to them is, “when you’re done, compare your images to the ones that I produce and then if you’d like to set up a session I’d be happy to”. There is a lot more than just point and shoot. It all comes back to the passion that a true photographer has. It shows in their work.
What does the future hold for you and what are you looking forward to the most in your career?
Things were definitely slow in 2020 so I am looking forward to creating a ton of new work and hopefully being able to travel and explore new locations to shoot in 2021. I also plan on promoting my book, All Day I Dream About Pizza, since I was not able to do any meet and greet book signings this past year and possibly start on a follow up book. This time in quarantine has definitely got my mind spinning about new ideas and business opportunities so you’ll just have to follow along on my journey and see what happens next! Happy 2021!