More than 800 fit and fascinating guys took part in the second annual Ultimate Men’s Health Guy competition, which was sponsored by Kenneth Cole MANKIND Ultimate and Isopure. The goal is to identify a man who not only embodies a healthy lifestyle and a healthy outlook on life, but someone who is also socially-conscious and contributes positively to their community. A group of judges choose the five finalists, then the editors choose the winner, while readers get to vote online for their favorite.
To celebrate the announcement of the winner, the magazine made a last minute decision to shoot portraits of each of the five finalists during an event at a Kenneth Cole store in Manhattan. With barely a week’s notice, Men’s Health called on photographer James Salzano. “They wanted a quick shot of each contestant and I decided to try a few lighting variations and the AD/CD, Jeff Griffith, liked the idea.”
The shoot included winner Tim Boniface, a former banker who decided to re-order his priorities after 9/11 and become a firefighter in Lexington, KY. “I show up on the worst day of people’s lives and try to make things better. I sleep better knowing I’m helping people,” he told the magazine. The other four finalists were Omari Gray, Danny Farrar, Adam Wheeler, and Aydian Dowling—the readers’ overwhelming choice.
“It was a really interesting shoot with five fascinating and very different characters…Especially Aydian Dowling who is a transgender man,” says Salzano. “There was also a veteran who survived a suicide attempt and is committed to helping other veterans,along with another contestant who works with inner city kids and has eight kids himself, and an Olympic medalist. I don’t know how they were able to choose one, with such a rich field of incredible choices” says James.
The project was directed by Men’s Health Art Director/Creative Director Jeff Griffith.