Monday, August 18, 2014
A Layover in Lagos: Joel by Mark Leighton
As FH moves into it's eighth year this Autumn, I often wonder what keeps me going week after week to keep posting. The incredible artists stories of the talented men I profile of course, but there is obviously more. Life is not easy for anyone, regardless of one's education, socioeconomic status, job satisfaction, love and family life, no one is immune to health issues, pain and loss. It is the reason we take vacations from work, the reason we day dream, fantasize and the reason we hope.
I like to think of the blog as just that, a visual vacation from what is going on in our lives, a brief reprieve from whatever is bringing us down. Working on the blog is definitely that for me, and I hope for those who pop in each day as well. Every day or two, when I sit down to write, or put together a post the worries of the other 23 hours of my day usually slip away, even if only for a short time. If the blog is not updated every day or two, except for times I am physically away, it is usually during times that I cannot keep the world at bay, but over time, resilience returns, usually because of an image or artist, and I begin again.
When we take real vacations, it is usually to a place we have visualized and imagined many time over. There are some places that once we visit, the desire is quenched, and although pleasant, there is nothing that really pulls at us for a return. There are other destinations we travel to, that leave a piece of them with us, pulling us back over and over again. The same could be said with subjects on the blog. Many artists and models I profile are wonderful to spend a day with, but lingering too long can be risky.
There are other artists however, whose work draws me back time and time again often making return trips, better than the first. You know who those artists are, they are ones I feature on a regular basis, the artist whose work continues to call me back. Mark Leighton is one of those artists. Mark's work not only takes me visually, acting as a tour guide to the breathtaking rocks, sand and oceans along Lagos, Portugal, Mark's work is also beautifully eternal, not rooted in any specific time or era. Using minimal fashion, and the Lagos landscape as his studio, except for a models hairstyle, or maybe a piece of jewelry, Mark's images are timeless.
I can't think of a better visual vacation, than a short, or long, get-a-way with Mark's images of German model Joel. The 19 year old blonde Adonis looks he was born to inhabit a coastline. Joel's lean 6' 1" frame, great face, lips and memorizing blue eyes are a perfect match for the rugged coast, rocks and water than surround him.
Despite his icy good looks, Mark describes Joel as a young man full of fun with a great sense of humour. He is crazy about football, soccer for those of us on in North America, and needless to say, a very happy man a few weeks ago when Germany won the world cup. Joel is also very passionate and ambitious about his modeling career. Joel is currently being seen by agencies and Mark says he would not be surprised if he were represented by the time I post this piece.
'As a photographer, I really enjoy working with models that want to connect with the camera and not just look good for it. Joel was exceptional in this regard, really engaging the viewer with his brilliant green/blue eyes and he was one of the most natural "performers" for the camera I have worked with.'
'Joel is naturally a very good looking young man and turns heads wherever he goes. Personally I also like that he has long hair, as there are not so many models around these days that have that style. It works particularly well on beach location shots, taking movement from the wind and also when coming out of the Ocean, dripping water onto his torso. I am hoping to shoot Joel again in the coming months, so hopefully there will be some more of him to see before the end of the year.'