'We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd.'
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anyone who grew up in the 70's and 80's, or even later thanks to repeats and DVD, remember those iconic images of the Ingalls sisters bounding down that hill. Carrie falling down in the opening credits, and Laura leaping in the air, in the closing were especially memorable. I am not sure that anyone at the time could have imagined that one day, an artist would re-create those famous visuals, and the feelings of joy and freedom within them, using the naked male form.
That is what is so fantastic about this set of images of from Michael Deer of Pride of Paradise Photography. Storytelling is such an important part of why I love certain images and artists. A great solo portrait or nude image can stand strong on it's own, but a story driven series, especially one as creative and whimsical as this set from Michael can evoke something more. The blending an erotic now, with the retro feel of then, is especially compelling and unique.
Michael's aim is to provide a different view, not just for those visually enjoying his work, but a different view of themselves for those who model for him. Developing Portfolio's for models, moving from mild to wild and everywhere in between is one of Michael's current passions and if you spend time on his Model Mayhem portfolio you will certainly see the wild and much more beyond the mild. Michael's images have a distinct look an feel, vibrant, colorful and dramatic. There is an energy in Michael's work not just because of the movement he often captures but because of his choice of models, the heightened emotion, and the way his images have the feel of a painting, carefully put together in stages, not just the capturing of one single moment.
I mentioned choice of model intentionally. Little House On The Prairie wasn't the only retro influence in this shoot, so was the way in which Michael met Bill, the model frolicking naked in the field. Hitchhiking, once a common mode of transportation for some, provided the meeting opportunity for artist and photographer back in 2012. Michael says that Bill began modeling for him the following week. It was Bill's first professional shoot and Michael remains the only professional photographer Bill has worked with.
I can see why Michael wanted Bill in front of his camera. Great face and incredible brown eyes, both youthful and beautifully soulful. Bill has a lean fit body and an appeal stemming from a raw sexuality and uninhibited quality that comes through in his images and facial expressions. One has the feeling Bill is living a well lived and with his Model Mayhem name being scarredbychrist, you can only imagine the many stories still untold.
Michael and Bill shot on their own private little prairie in a field near Michael's studio and home last April. It was a beautiful morning shoot and it was the feeling of freedom I described above that was their goal. Freedom took on even more meaning as the day went on. It was on the day of the shoot Bill found out his his girlfriend was pregnant and he was going to be a father. As of this writing, Bill's son is almost one month old.