To take the portrait of Devin Ibañez, the first openly gay Major League Rugby player at my London studio. Devin came out via Instagram at the start of 2021 stating that “living my life with more transparency and openly celebrating who I love would have an immediate positive impact on me and those I care about.” Devin realised there was never going to be a perfect time to come out and he could always find a reason not to, with his post coincided to be close to the birthday of his boyfriend Fergus and their three-year anniversary. Since then he has gained over 11k followers.
Devin was in the U.K. visiting Fergus and kindly agreed to come to London for the portrait session before then returning to the Midlands ready to be a guest on a podcast later that day. Since coming out Devin Ibañez has been featured across the global LGBT+ media space and shared his story of a double throat fracture, sustained while playing for Scarborough RUFC, shared on Sky Sports. While Scarborough won 21- 20 with Devin being awarded Player of the Match, he suffered a life threatening injury with the doctor stating, “You’re lucky to be alive. The injury you’ve sustained is most commonly associated with attempted hangings.”
While this was not Devin’s first portrait or photography shoot, he was still new to the world of media. With upcoming future media obligations and opportunities we decided that the main focus of the session would be to use the time to learn some modelling posing tips and tricks and how to feel comfortable and express himself in front of the camera.
It was a productive session with Devin and I hope he left with a full bag of tricks useful for future photography and filming events. It’s been a roller coaster 10 months for Devin and in his own words, earlier this month on National Coming Out Day, “It’s been 10 months since I took a big step and I’ve not looked back since. This last year being unapologetically myself has been amazing. Being able to bring my partner to a rugby match and give him a big kiss post match was something I had never been able to do until this year. For anyone out there who is still struggling being open, just stay patient and keep going at you own pace.”
Many thanks to Devin for this time and patience.