Monday, June 3, 2013
Don't ask me why, but until researching the image below (London cast of Singin In The Rain) I had no idea that London had West End Bares, it's own version of Broadway Bares.
Based on American musical director Jerry Mitchell’s original idea, West End Bares provides an opportunity for the West End’s sexiest, sassiest and downright HOTTEST performers to raise money for charity – and put on a damn good show! Like it's American counterpart, if you head over to Youtube and search West End Bares, you will seen plenty of videos from past events.
'I shoot what I like and I like what I shoot.'
The last time I profiled the work of Christopher Photography, the focus wasn't just on the models, it was also on Darling Nicky, a mannequin who preferred the company of half naked men. I knew when as soon as I saw the images of Nicky I wanted to feature them on the blog. Since FH is not my job, I to get to choose what I like as well, and when I saw Christopher's recent work with Michael, I liked!
Michael has an incredible body, beautiful olive skin and intense, penetrating brown eyes that Christopher captured masterfully. Christopher has an eye for finding the right person that he feels he can capture and create great art with. Michael was chosen for the Boy Next Door blue jean series Christopher is working on, and as you can clearly tell, Michael fills them out perfectly.
'This shoot was the first time I ever shot with Michael. I had seen him a while back on Model Mayhem and I noticed that he had shot with some of my fellow photographers. I decided to contact him since I knew I would be traveling on business down to the coast. I try to make it a point to shoot locally, no matter where I travel.'
Originally from South Carolina, Michael has lived in Corpus Christi for the past 22 years. Michael is pretty new to modeling and although initially a little uncomfortable at the beginning of the shoot due to the location, (a hotel room), he became more and more comfortable as the shoot progressed. Generally Christopher tries to meet or do a phone interview to discuss all the details prior to a shoot, and although they had exchanged e-mails and spoke over the phone, Christopher's first meeting with Michael was on the day of the shoot.
'The camera loves him. He definitely knows how to work the lens. Michael has a natural beauty about him. He has a lean muscular body that I was able to highlight with just one Nikon SB800 flash and a reflector. I have a small traveling studio that I have assembled. Michael stated that he was glad he shot with me. He did not realize it was going to be such a work out and he had learned a lot during the shoot. He also stated that he was glad to do something different and grow from his experience shooting with me. All in all, we made great art together.'
If you want to check out more of Christopher's work, or if your a model, brand new or seasoned, who wants to shoot, check out his ModelMayhem page HERE:
This post began with the death of actress Jeanne Cooper. Upon her death, I briefly considered doing one of my R.I.P posts. Cooper obviously made a huge impact on daytime television and was remembered by many. I decided against it however for a simple reason. FH is rooted in favorites, meaning I try to post only about subjects I have some sort of connection with. Even when profiling models or photographers, part of the story I try to tell is about how the work touched or connects with me in some way.
I didn't really know Cooper's work that well. I have watched Young & Restless off an on during summer holidays from school or on sick days, but with no regularity. The biggest draw the show has for me is when actress Beth Maitland (Traci) in on. I find her an compelling actress with an authenticity in her performances beyond what we see from most actors on daytime or anywhere really. When reading some of the stories about Cooper's death however, actor Terry Lester was referenced a couple of times. I was too young to really see Lester when he was on Y & R, the only time I have actually seen Lester on screen was while watching DVD's from the original Dallas show, where he appeared briefly in the early 80's. As far as his role of Jack Abbott on Y & R though, I have certainly seen images, as well heard stories from his time on the set. These stories interested me greatly, and the more I read, the more I wanted to know and the more a connection began to form.
After arriving in Hollywood from Indiana, Lester's first big role was on a 1976 children's series called Ark II which only lasted one season. Roles in Dallas, Airport 1975 and the 1978 Kiss movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park followed, but Lester was still awaiting that big break.
Below: Lester with his tv sisters on Y & R
Lester's big break came in 1980 when cast as Jack Abbott on Y & R. Jack was described as a scoundrel who never met a woman (including his own father's wife) he didn't want to take to bed. Jack became so popular, the shows creator ended up writing an entirely new family to surround and support Jack on the show. Many believed it was Lester, and his portrayal of Jack, which led the show to place at #1 in the ratings.
Lester on Santa Barbara
'Terry was not afraid to step out of the box and try anything. He had his dark side and shadows, but then most creative people do. Terry was incredibly creative and sensitive, and he was a very special person. I thank God he was part of my life, even how brief it was.'
Problems dogged Lester throughout the his 9 years in the role. His sensitivity led an impression he was cold or stand-offish and many of co-stars, even those like Maitland who felt close with Lester, found him distant. Issues with co-stars were no the only problem, Lester was known for speaking his mind about the show and his character and famously went on record criticizing the shows creator for putting his daughter on the show and pushing her role at the expense of his and other more experienced actors in the cast.
It seems clear looking back now, that part of Lester's problems stemmed from his being in the closet. I don't think it was a major secret Lester was gay, but a 2002 LA Magazine article on former soap star Thom Bierdz confirmed this by Bierdz claim that Lester, along with Bierdz and another actor, made up a trio of gay actors who worked on The Young and the Restless in the 1980s. Being gay and closeted is difficult enough, but playing a character, pimped out as daytime's biggest ladies man, must have made that closet an even more complicated space to live in.
Lester's stand offish behavior, and drinking are not uncommon traits among people who feel the need to keep a secret. The soap world may have embraced gay storylines, but gay actors, not so much. In some ways they are behind other media in embracing gay men in major roles. In fact, I think it fairly obvious The Young and the Restless still has a trio (maybe even more) closeted actors playing straight on the soap. I am also sure this is happening on all of the daytime dramas.
After leaving his role on the CBS soap, Lester jumped back into daytime with the role of Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara. 'It takes a certain type of man to satisfy a woman.' This was the tag line introducing Lester to the NBC soap. Although he left Jack Abbott behind, Lester was still in the position, with the pressure, of playing every woman's hetero hero fantasy each and every day.
The Young & the Restless
Stories like Lester's rarely have happy endings. Keeping any secret takes it's toll, especially hiding one's sexuality. After leaving the soap world a few years later, Lester's roles dwindled to just a few guest spots in prime time. In 2003, Lester, died at home after suffering multiple heart attacks. Terry Lester was just 53. What is so sad about Terry, and others like him, is that before his death, most talked about his acting, his electric presence on screen, the raw talent that so many felt and enjoyed. I wonder, given the closet he lived in, whether he ever really got to feel that praise?
R.I.P Jeanne Cooper, and R.I.P Terry Lester.