Models strike a sexy pose for gay Atlanta charity

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Making sexy gay Atlanta models look like mannequins takes talent, patience and mad Photoshop skills. But when it helps promote a charity, the effort seemed worth it for a gay business owner.

So Randy Addison, who owns Helmet Hairworx and its four salons across Atlanta, jumped at the opportunity when asked by gay glossy Pocket Rocket to contribute to its August issue (The magazine featured nekkid Radical Faeries in May.) Even better, Addison put a charitable spin on the photo spread by using clothes donated to the Lost N Found Youth Thrift Store. The massive facility, which opened in February, sells clothing and other times to support the non-profit group, which cares for homeless LGBT youth in Atlanta.

“Posers: Stand and model, please” highlights the upscale feel of many items donated to what Addison calls “a department store for thrift junkies.” And thanks to a collection of sexy models – hunky fitness advocate and dancer Mo Stringer, calendar crush Josh Gilmer, Tim Bryan and Henriette Steffensen – Addison's project didn't spare the flesh.

So we talked with him about the inspiration for the shoot, how he pulled it all together and his now not-so-secret obsession with mannequins.

How did the photo essay come about?

I had done some photo work for Pocket Rocket in the past. They had a tight deadline and asked if I could put something together, so I said sure. Of course, at the moment, I had no idea what I was going to do. I had recently donated some things to the Lost N Found Youth Thrift Store and believe in their cause, so I began to like the idea of doing some kind of shoot there.

You use real-life sexy people and turn them into headless mannequins. Where did the concept come from?

The inspiration came from the work of Solve Sundsbo, the photographer who convinced famous supermodels to pose as mannequins in the Alexander McQueen retrospective “Savage Beauty,” published by MOMA. This man is an amazing artist and such an inspiration!

How did you achieve that mannequin look? In other words, are there mannequin parts over some of the real life bodies? Were the heads Photoshopped out?

I took some photos from different angles of neck pieces on mannequins in the thrift store, then I Photoshopped out the heads [of the live models] and superimposed the neck pieces [from the mannequins]. I had to Photoshop skin tones and backgrounds, as well as lines to imply joints, etc. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but it was fun figuring it out, as I've never had any formal training in Photoshop.

How did working with your four models come about?

They are all friends of mine who had helped me out before with my photography projects in the past. They were so great about not questioning the idea. As a matter of fact, they were relieved there was going to be no heads. I'm very fortunate to have such great and willing friends.

Any other insights into the project?

Having taken an interest in educating myself in airbrush techniques, I was able to get a job as a makeup artist for a mannequin company in Atlanta for four years when I first moved here, so I have an odd love for mannequins anyway and own several myself.

Enjoy the full photo spread in the August issue of Pocket Rocket. Find out more about Helmet Hairworx on its website and check out the Lost N Found Thrift Store on Facebook.

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