Books: Pause for Charles Thomas Rogers
BY Christopher Harrity
August 02 2014 3:00 AM ET
Staying in touch with the artists and photographers who are spotlighted on Advocate.com proves to be very worthwhile. In 2011, we presented Charles Thomas Rogers' portfolio of some well-packed and iconic white briefs. And Rogers' new book, Pause, is not just another coffee table book with a hot guy on the cover. It is also the story of family, sacrifice, and intense creative connection. And there is a hot guy. Below, in Charlie's own words, uncover the story of the genesis of the book:
At right: Charles Thomas Rogers
I’d been living in San Francisco, but spent a big part of that winter in New York City, preparing for — and then recuperating from — a surgery; I had donated my kidney to my mother. It was an unseasonably warm season and I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to get out and appreciate the city. I returned home in early February and less than a week later, I encountered Jerry on a social networking site, where he'd sent me a random get well wish. He had seen a photo of me that I'd posted as I was about to go into surgery, through a mutual friend, and had been moved to send me, a complete stranger, a kind get-well wish. I was appreciative but it wasn’t until I was home again that I had a chance to look further into who this thoughtful person was. It was then that I discovered some photos of Jerry on his page.
There are some people who I come across, and maybe the photos they have are professional, or maybe they’re all camera phone self-portraits, but I see something, something I can’t always explain, and I just know that I have to work with them.
Jerry was one of those, so I contacted him about working together, but to add to my frustration, he was in New York City, and I had just been there days earlier. Our initial discussions about photography deepened my belief that this was something I needed to pursue; my favorite people to shoot are other creatives, people who bring their own ideas and their own stories to our shoots. Jerry was one of those as well. So, somewhat impulsive, but knowing it was exactly the right thing to do, I booked a ticket back to New York for a month later. I had no way to predict the scope of the collaboration that was about to unfold.
We originally planned two days of shooting, covering a few locations, with the assumption that Jerry would go back to his daily routines and I would try to photograph as many other people as I could during my trip. But after those two days were up, we both found that we had more ideas and concepts we wanted to try, and places we wanted to go — so we somehow found time to continue shooting. Even though we'd only been shooting for a few days, Jerry quickly became my most frequently photographed subject. We both had busy work schedules, Jerry especially, so as time went on, it became even more improvisational.
We’d spontaneously break away whenever we could find the time to discover places we hadn’t tried, or revisit locations with minimal props and no outside help, often starting with a glimpse of an idea and just going with our instincts, riffing until what we'd achieved was better than anything we could have planned.
What started as my arrival at his front door, never having met in-person, and shooting immediately for two days, turned into five months of intermittently shooting on the fly, and 35,000 images. When I started work that fall on my first book, Dark Matters, I had the idea that the photos Jerry and I had created together deserved their own book. This book bears my name, but it’s a collaboration and a partnership in every sense of the word, from the first time my finger snapped the shutter, to the selecting of the images, to finally holding a finished product in our hands. Sometimes life takes you in unexpected places and you can clamber to get back to where you think you’re supposed to be, or you can stop a moment and see what’s beautiful in your new surroundings, and pause.
5% of each PAUSE book sale will be donated to benefit the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). The NKF is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families, and tens of millions of Americans at risk. To learn more about kidney disease and its risk factors please visit www.kidney.org.