Rico, 23, lives in Bratislava and works as a technician at a printing company. He played European football as a kid—as every kid in Slovakia does—and has been very sports-oriented his whole life. More recently, he’s been training in boxing when he can find the extra time, which he says is very little. He had a challenging upbringing and took on the parental role for his three younger siblings in his mid-teens. To this day, he still looks after his family and provides them with financial support. When Rico talked about these aspects of his life, he didn’t complain but rather accepted the situation as a responsibility. In spite of the challenges, he remains very driven and optimistic. Rico is very family-oriented, and his family, aside from the drama, also brings him fulfilment. He also has a very loving girlfriend, with whom he has been for four years.

We were connected through Ivo, whom I’ve been seeing more often recently. After some time, Rico and I finally met in person and got to know each other a little. Rico was open to my style of photography, but it was very different from anything he’d experienced before (being naked for so long in the presence of another man), and it was something he said he needed to get used to. He admitted he was very shy, which surprised me because he seemed quite open and down-to-earth. I reassured Rico that it might feel strange at first but that he’d gradually become accustomed to it. At the photoshoot, he reminded me of his shyness, especially during that stressful moment when he took off his underwear for the first time. However, I don’t think the awkwardness was all that noticeable. I kept asking him how he felt throughout the photoshoot, and thankfully, things got better progressively. From my perspective, everything went very smoothly, and Rico was really pleasant to work with.

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Photographs: 387

Full nudes: Yes

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