Catharsis: IFB Photography

On stage and in film, Catharsis occurs after a moment of high tragedy usually at the climax of the performance. What follows is an emotional cleansing and purging for the characters and maybe more importantly, for the audience. This moment is a release of both physical and emotional tensions usually marking a turning point for a character. For directors, this is an important moment, one that often defines the 'story', summing up hours in just a few seconds. For a photographer, this moment can be equally as powerful. Ian Burgess from IFB is aware that you’re only as good as the end product. Ian is satisfied if each of his images tells a different story to each and every person who views it.

'Because my background originates from theatre and tv related graphic design, and subsequently working with actors, then my main focus in any photograph is that “the eyes have to say something”. An incredible looking model can be just that, but if there’s not tale or intent showing in their eyes – which you can only get with the right person and the right trust and connection between model and photographer – then you’ll get a technically good, very pleasant photograph that means absolutely nothing to anybody.'

It is important to Ian that his work appeal to a “universal” audience. The story, the models intent, their sexuality, can be whatever the viewer wants or needs it to be. This appeal is clearly evident in the images and models featured in this post. I love how Ian incorporates his experience working with actors and performance and the results are dramatic, theatrical images, using costume, set and pose to create images bursting with emotion and urgency.

I asked Ian to share a few words about the images and models I chose to include:

Adam Coussins

'Adam Coussins is one of those most accomplished and reliable models I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot, he appeals to a massive audience: guys want to be his best mate and go for a drink, girls want to fantasize what they’d do with him, and gay guys want to do exactly the same! Once you’re into the swing of a photo session, the ideas start feeding back, so they tend to be hugely productive – when a model knows the way you work, then they know (like a code or shorthand) what you expect. And he’s a great looking guy with perfect body shape to light and work with.'


'I’ve only worked with Harsh once. A very charming, quietly professional model from London. As I was due to be photographing slightly differently, using costumes designed by a really incredible stylist Neil Fisher, the model and styles needed to create their own story, and as Harsh is both an actor and model, then as we’d been talking about maybe doing some work together, suddenly it seemed the right time. It was a long photo session, but I don’t think I heard one complaint and I think I’ll explore a series of these “fantasy exotic stylings” more in the future.'


'Probably my all time favourite model. He works exclusively for me and was one of those rare occasions where you see someone working in everyday life and think, well, I’ll just face a smack in the mouth for suggesting it – but just asked if he would model for me. He checked with his girlfriend, checked my work and agreed. The good thing is, you really can throw him a challenge, if the waters cold, he’ll look you in the eye, call you all the name sunder the sun and then just get on with it – I like that and respect that. He’s got great male model look anyway, and a natural style that changes with his moods and where he is with his life, works hard, drinks hard and enjoys life to the full. Pretty much a good mate now but also still modelling, so I will be doing a whole new series of work in 2012 with him – and I can’t wait!'


'Tim is another very shy, normal everyday guy who I had seen working. It’s tricky explaining to someone why you think they could work as a model, but just people walking past would stop and stare at him, I think the big soulful eyes, great styling too. So he stripped for series of photographs, predominantly for a calendar. We used an amazing location, not a set, someone’s actual house and it worked so well, as soon as you walked in you could feel the creativity there – the house belongs to an incredible singer/songwriter, and everything in the place just clicked, I could have spent forever photographing in there, and have in fact used it again for a chocolate advertising campaign I worked on.'

I had seen Ian's incredible work with Nick & Adam before, but this shot of Tim was the image which had me reach out to the artist about a profile. I loved Tim's expression, the dramatic surroundings, and or course how Ian chose to shoot 'Tim' both subtly and overtly.

Nick Wolanski

'Nick Wolanksi is another one of those “ticks the boxes” models. He’s not only incredibly experienced in modelling, both in the UK, America and Europe, he’s also used his experience in working in the adult industry to understand it, use his brain and has a great future ahead. He’s still only young, but done so much, great musician and DJ, I’ve seen him wow the crowds in some of the biggest clubs in London, and was surprised how well this Scottish powerhouse worked the crowds. Because he’s 100% reliable, and sees it as his side of the job to get himself into shape when he knows he’s doing a shoot, there is NO situation, set up or location that you can’t throw at him that won’t make him crack up with laughter, then strip off and give you 100%.'

Ian Burgess Official Site:
IFB on ModelMayhem: