Sitting down for coffee with the Bad Behaviour boys, Ross Brownsdon and Travis de Jonk, in the cosy living room of Brownsdon’s Prahran, Melbourne apartment, it’s hard to believe almost all the super-sexy images the pair create for their annual calendars are shot in this very room.
The duo hire out a larger studio space when the occasion calls for it, but both insist they prefer working at home.
“We like shooting here because people can relax in this environment,” de Jonk said. “We work with a lot of first-time models, and we want to make it a nice welcoming environment they can feel safe in.”
It poses some unique issues probably not faced by other professional photographers — it’s hard to imagine Annie Leibovitz having to shift the sofa every time she sets up a shoot. Indeed, de Jonk joked that some nervous models probably wondered what they’d got themselves into when they arrived at Brownsdon’s flat. Ultimately, though, it’s a set-up that works for them.
“We have make-up artists, drag queens and naked men all running around in here at times, trying on costumes and posing for the camera.

We have the heater going so they’re not cold, we have champagne and food in the fridge to help them relax. It’s a lot of fun,” Brownsdon said.
The Bad Behaviour calendar provides an annual outlet for the two to explore their art in a sexy, often witty way. De Jonk said the 2010 calendar marked a shift away from the candy colour of last year’s pictures, with a new darker energy evident in shots like sporting-themed pictures originally commisioned for this year’s Sleaze Ball, all sweaty jockstraps and raw sexual aggression.
“Last year we had a lot of fun, but overall as artists we’re heading into darker territory: stuff that’s a lot more sexual and stuff that’s less obvious. There’s still a fun element to it, but we’re getting darker and we’re pushing our own boundaries a little bit.”
“This calendar’s darker, with more flesh on show. It’s definitely raunchier,” agreed Brownsdon.
One thing hasn’t changed since last year: the gorgeous mix of guys on show. It’s a selection the pair actively scout for themselves.
“We usually find our models out and about. Because Ross and I do scene photography too, we try to shoot them first just to see how they look on camera,” de Jonk said.
“They’re usually dancers and people like that, who are quite aware of their body and their look, but sometimes they’re totally green. That can be a bit of a challenge when you first get them in front of the camera, because they need to give themselves permission to actually look at themselves and work out what looks good — a lot of people don’t do that.”
And those who are enamoured with one particular model or another will be pleased to know most of the subjects are gay — so you’re in with a chance, fellas.
“With the type of work we’re doing, it’s often easier to work with gay models, as they’re generally more comfortable with what we ask of them. Straight models can often find our shoots a bit racy,” Brownsdon said.
“Having said that, we have worked with some great straight models,” continued de Jonk.
“The one straight guy on our Sleaze shot was a professional boxer, a very macho guy, and he had no problem getting into a jockstrap and flashing his bum.”
And what a bum it is. But how do de Jonk and Brownsdon collaborate in such a seemingly harmonious fashion? It’s something of a rarity to find two photographers with such a succesful long-term collaboration.
“I won’t say it’s always been easy, but it works really well now,” de Jonk said. “Artists often follow their own single vision and go head-to-head with anyone else who tries to give ideas. In our case, Ross has strengths I don’t have, I have strengths he doesn’t have, so we collaborate with each other. It took a while to get there, but it works for us.
“The key for us has been to let go of the ego — to not think of something as ‘my’ shot or ‘your’ shot, to make it a true collaboration.”

info: The 2010 Bad Behaviour calendar is available now from selected outlets and www.badbehaviourpublishing.com

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