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Markus Burke is an independent wrestler based in Moncton who travels all over and has built quite a name for himself. I had seen photos of him on Facebook and followed along with his career and was so excited when his wife-to-be, Emily, approached me to do a shoot with him. This guy works his ass off. Being successful as a wrestler, especially in Atlantic Canada, is not an easy task. This guy has incredible hustle. The respect I have for him, his work ethic, and not to mention his awesome look had me extremely pumped for our shoot.

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We planned to shoot a look in a suit as well as some in his wrestling gear. I wanted to project the confidence and intensity, that I saw in him, in the photos.

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What was really cool to see was that when he put on his wrestling gear, he transformed into “Markus Burke” (which is not his real name). He became a whole other character, a character he has been honing for some time.

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If I”m being honest, I felt a little spoiled. Often, as a photographer, you have to work with your subject to bring them to the poses you want and what looks good. With Markus, I didn’t have to say shit.

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He gave me everything I wanted and more. He projected this incredible confidence in front of the camera and was able to hit poses with what seemed like very little effort.

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The last image shown here (the nude), was completely un-planned beforehand. I had been in the midst of shooting a nude project and his wife-to-be has modelled for it and I think I had mentioned to her how I wanted to shoot some men for it as well. I honestly can’t remember who suggested it, but I’m pretty sure it was her. He seemed a little hesitant at first, who wouldn’t be, and I told him to think about it as we continued shooting. I also guaranteed him that if he didn’t like the photo or didn’t want me to post it, it never had to see the light of day.

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Fast forward to Monday of this week and I was kind of surprised to see he had posted the photo on his Facebook wall. I was even more surprised by what he had written. He wrote about how he has struggled with body dysmorphia his whole life. WOW. I would have never known this from our shoot. I am so incredibly humbled that he trusted me to take this image and am so blown away by his openness to share. I have always known how powerful photography is but to be able to give people images and feelings like this is something I feel beyond lucky to be able to do.

A quote from his post: “I’ve worked hard on myself, mental and physical. Getting this picture taken was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Full of doubt and insecurities, I felt like I was that 19 year old kid again. People are afraid to face their fears, not me, not anymore. Facing those fears and insecurities make me a better person.”

http://www.denisduquette.ca