Monday, 30 April 2012

Everything You Need To Know About 'MOTEL | HOTEL' |The Sting

Todd Sanfield by Kevin McDermott for 'Motel|Hotel'

Blog faves Kevin McDermott and Todd Sanfield have collaborated on a new coffee table book called Motel|Hotel. Before you ask why it's called Motel|Hotel... Kevin photographed Todd at both a motel and hotel in Detroit over the course of two days and two nights and Motel|Hotel is the resulting collection of photographs.

Todd Sanfield by Kevin McDermott for 'Motel|Hotel'-2

The cloth hardcover book is beautifully printed in colour and rich black and white duotone images. This printing is limited to only 1,000 copies and the book will ship this month.

Todd Sanfield by Kevin McDermott for 'Motel|Hotel'-3
Todd Sanfield by Kevin McDermott for 'Motel|Hotel'-4

You can read my Interviews with Photographer Kevin McDermott and Todd Sanfield below...

Interview with Kevin McDermott

Hello Kevin! Would you like to introduce yourself to my readers?

Hello readers, I'm Kevin McDermott. Nice to meet you. I take pictures.

Talk us through an average day in the life of you?

Let's see. I'll try to glam this up. ;-) Well, after ingesting enough coffee to launch me into the world, I usually do a Facebook check to see what Portis is up to, and then do a little photo editing. Maybe a shoot with someone. I'll then head to the gym. I try to workout during business hours because gyms in Chelsea get crazy crowded in the Prime-time hours. Then lunch with Madonna. Then back to editing. I spend a lot of time in front of a screen. Dinner, dancing. You know, the usual.

What better way to start your day than with me! I endorse that. So describe Kevin as a kid?

I grew up in Ohio. One of seven kids. I was the sensitive middle child. Think Jan Brady.

Has much changed now that you are fully grown?

Fully grown sounds so "botanical". I have pubic hair now.

That is so reassuring. I overheard someone in the gym changing room the other day saying to his friend that he can’t grow pubic hair, and he looked like he was fully grown so I guess we’re two of the lucky ones, huh?

How would you describe your photographic style?

I would say my style is simple, clean and hopefully beautiful. I try to elicit some humanity out of humans. I tend to cut to the bare essentials, almost minimalistic, while being quietly erotic.

What do you think your work says about you?

Well, I actually think I'm a pretty straight forward person. I do try to find an elegant beauty in things.

That you most certainly do.

Now Kevin, I have featured your work many a time before on my blog but I would like to talk specifically to you today about your new project with Todd Sanfield which is a coffee table book called MOTEL | HOTEL. What’s it all about fella?

Well, the volume on the erotic dial may be turned up a bit with MOTEL | HOTEL. Last summer I was visiting my family in Ohio. Todd and I spoke and I decided to take a two day diversion and drove the two hours to Detroit to shoot him there in his hometown. So it's a two day sleep over with Todd Sanfield.

..................... Whoa!

How did the idea for the book come about and what made you want to dedicate a whole book to Todd Sanfield, without stating the obvious of course.

Well, we did the shoot, which was a blast actually. I think we both enjoyed each other’s company. Todd is obviously extroverted and I tend to be more reserved, but we worked well together. Remember this was the first time we worked together. Before we started Todd said he wanted the photos to be sexy, so I obliged. When I got back to NY with the photos, I thought they were pretty special. Sexual, yes…but also very human. I think Todd felt very comfortable working with me and I think there is a relaxed nature to him in the photos, besides the obvious heat. Well, I initially thought the shoot would be an editorial and maybe some single shots that I would use in one of my gallery exhibits. But somehow those two shoots, taken as a whole, tell a very erotic little story. I think they are some of the best photos of Todd, and there have been some beautiful sexy photos taken of him. Also, magazine editorials are about selling product, and there wasn't much product in the shoot. There was a lot of skin, and maybe they were a bit too sexy to run in a magazine. So the idea of putting together the book came about. That way I could keep the weekend as a whole and present it in an un-edited elegant way. The book is being printed by one of the premier photo book printers in the US. MOTEL | HOTEL will be a beautiful sexy object itself.

For two days and two nights you photographed Todd in two locations in Detroit; one a roadside motel and the other an elegant hotel. What were you trying to capture in the photos that one location alone might not have given you?

I think over the course of the two day shoot Todd became more comfortable with me and maybe let some of that show in the photos. It's a very intimate look at Todd. I also like the variety of locales. The motel section is presented in colour and the hotel section in black and white.

Did the motel have an ice machine? I’m fascinated by the whole idea of American motels having never stayed in one! What was the room number? Did it sound like someone was being murdered in the room next door to yours?! So many questions, and no doubt so much false information sold to me in movies…do tell!

The motel did have an ice machine. You could drive your car right to your room. It was room 233 on the balcony level. There was no one around us, although there was an office park across the way. There were a few people on the first floor who appeared to be residents. They spent the day with the doors open sitting out in front of their rooms.

Sounds amazing! Movies don't lie!!!

Todd’s body. Do you think your camera did it justice? And are there plans to release a 3D version of the book should this limited run of 1,000 copies sell well?

I hope so. Maybe we'll do a 3D iPad app. :-)

What do you think Todd brings to a photo that makes him such an interesting property?

There is an almost animal sexuality there.

Do you own a pair of Todd Sanfield briefs? (FYI if you haven’t, get Todd to send you a few pairs – they are super comfy!)

I have managed to wrangle a pair of briefs from Todd. They are very comfortable.

How would you sell ‘MOTEL|HOTEL’ to me in one sentence?

If you like Todd, this is it…its all there.

Okay, sold. Now that the coffee book is in the bag can you talk a little about some of the projects you have in the pipeline for the rest of the year?

I'm working with the High Line Park here in New York on a few things, which you will be hearing about soon. I have an exhibit opening this week in New York. You're invited. :-)

Why thank you but I’m not allowed to enter US soil until I apologise to Ryan Gosling for that thing I did last year that I don’t want to talk about. I’m also not ready to apologise. It felt amazing!

Your go-to karaoke song should you find yourself in a karaoke bar?

I've only gone a couple times, but actually in a prior life I was a singer. "I'm Calling You" from Bagdad Café. I know that's a bit obscure.

Which item of clothing in your closet gets most wear and why?

My Levi's.

If the world were coming to an end and you were allowed one last kiss, who would be lucky enough to land on your lips?

Am I still stuck in that elevator with David Gandy? Did Michael Fassbender get in on the floor before we got stuck?

Shhhh. Keep it for the Guest Post OUT LATER THIS WEEK! Would you like to ask Portis Wasp a question?

Who are you?

Well I’m a man silly! No seriously… I’m a twelve year old girl from Barcelona who has no inclination whatsoever towards pop culture and is merely conducting a social experiment into the behaviours of men so that I can then take my research convert it into an Oscar worthy script and sell it to Pedro Almodovar to turn into an Oscar worthy movie. I will of course become his muse! You have proved very useful today... kisses... Isabela.

What never fails to make you smile?

Reading Portis Wasp's "Five Questions with.."

You know all the right things to say. Thanks for your time Kevin, let's grab a drink sometime? You bring Todd and I'll bring the tequila!

Order your copy of MOTEL|HOTEL

Interview with Todd Sanfield

Hello Todd! It feels like it was only a month ago that I first interviewed you for my blog, funny how time flies! *EYE ROLL* So anyways, I spoke with Kevin McDermott the other day and he gave me his take on your shoot for his new book MOTEL | HOTEL, which sounded like a blast! But of course he'd make it sound like that, it's his book! How was the experience for you?

It was fun working with Kevin. I did not know what to expect when we started. You never really know what to anticipate working with someone for the first time. Kevin is very laid back, while I have a lot of energy. His laid back personality allowed me to be myself in front of the camera, no inhibitions.

Sounds like a blast!

Do you think Kevin has captured you differently to photographers you have worked with in the past, and if so what new side to Todd are we seeing in MOTEL | HOTEL?

He definitely captured me in a very different way. Here you see me in the most comfortable setting possible, my home turf. You see me smiling, really laughing (which hasn't been seen before) all caught on camera. This is all combined with a sexual twist and it's captured by a photographer who comes from a fine art background.

How do you approach a shoot like this one? Was there much preparation and discussion between yourself and Kevin before the shoot, or did you just arrive on location and work it out as you went along?

The only discussion we had was that it needed to be hot, extremely sexual and it needed to be seen. Kevin made a promise that it would be seen. But at the time, we didn't know where or when. That commitment on Kevin's part gave me the energy that you will see in this shoot. In order for a shoot to be good, I have to know it is for something, otherwise it will be just another photo shoot with a guy standing against the wall. I need to be able to express myself and do it with confidence.

What did you hope to achieve with this book and has the result matched your expectations?

This shoot was never planned to be a book, it evolved. Judging by the results, I would have to say YES to meeting my expectations. These images are beyond my expectations!

I’m sure my wasps would agree that you have always looked very comfortable on camera. Is this something you have had to work at or have you always been a bit of an extrovert?

I think it is a combination of both. I have always been outgoing. And with years of taking care of myself, it simply happened. I never thought I would be walking around in front of the camera naked. Who thinks about that as a kid? LOL. But, as I age, I realize you only live once. Your appearance is here now, but one day it will be gone, maybe tomorrow. So why not show it off to the best of your ability. And when I say show it off, you need to show it off in the best way possible, a tasteful way. Kevin McDermott has allowed this for me.

A lot of my readers will be wondering how you maintain your excellent frame. Is the Todd Sanfield achievable through diet and exercise, or were you just one of the lucky ones born with a 12 pack and well stacked gun show that refuse to leave you?

I bought it from Walmart, $6.99, in the sporting goods section, haha. Really though, I have been playing sports since I was five. I think with years of hard work and the discipline gained from being in organized sports, it gave me a solid foundation. I currently work out about 6 days a week and eat as healthy as I can. I like to get the most out of the time and effort I put into my physique.

Ugh... that does sound like hard work!

If you could sell MOTEL | HOTEL to me in one sentence you would say….

If you want to see sexy, this is it!

Do you have a favourite photograph in the book?

Yeah, but it is so hot I cannot even describe it. Plus I am going to be a professional one day and can't have this all over the web. It would be like cyber-sex if I had to describe it.

.................. go on.......

Are you more of a motel or hotel kind of a guy?

Hotel Portis! But, I can get down and dirty in a motel from time to time.

What happens next?

I don't know. I never know. I wish I did know. The only thing I do know is whoever buys this book will not be disappointed!

Consider me sold.


  1. Beautiful book! Sexy and classy! Congrats to Todd and Kevin.


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