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I Photographed a Former 'Survivor' Contestant at the Lowest Point in His Life

Jennifer Rovero was doing a photography series called 'Invited,' where if anyone invited her into their lives, she had to go, no matter what the situation was. Shane Powers, formerly a contestant on 'Survivor: Panama,' invited her into his relapse.
May 28, 2014, 6:40am

This story was recounted to Mike Pearl by the photographer Jennifer Rovero.

"I was doing this series called 'Invited,' where if anyone invited me into their lives, I had to go, no matter what the situation was. So my friend Shane [Powers, who was a contestant on Survivor: Panama] said to me, 'Well I’ll do it. I invite you, but I want to be naked.' His father had died not long ago, and his girlfriend had just broken up with him."


"So I went over there without having told anyone where I was. I was pulling up to his house and I heard his voice say, 'Shoot, bitch!' I got out, and I found him in the dark by flashing my flashbulb."

"There he was, on the ground, bloodied, because he had fallen when he came down to get me. I don’t know what he was on, but he was really wasted. He'd been in recovery, and he had fallen off the wagon.

When I walked into his house, he didn’t say hi or anything. I just helped him inside. We were going to do this thing where he fried up some bacon and ate it, but I didn't want him to burn his house down so we scrapped that."

"At one point he got out this container, and poured it out, and then sort of slumped over. And I realized that was his father’s ashes."

"We went in his bedroom, and he wanted to show me his manscaping. He was proud of his appearance, but he was also kind of touching himself at that point."

"At one point he got really close and grabbed me by the back of the head, and he was like 'you’re a really hot fucking photographer.' And I was like 'Well, um, you have to be a certain distance from me, or I can’t take photos.'"

"He really wanted these photos. So he backed up."

"When we went in his bathroom to clean him up, he caught a look at himself and he was like, “I look good for forty.” And even though on one hand I was aware that these were going to be some really great photos, I was also starting to get caught up in the raw emotion, and worrying about my friend. I was also worrying that I could be raped. No one knew where I was.

Then when he got in the bath, this sadness washed over him."

"I thought he was going to hate these photos, and when I showed them to him he was like 'Wow, these are the most amazing photos I've ever seen.' That's the weirdest part."

"Since this he's been doing a lot better."

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