Sunday, February 15, 2015
David Christopher: Uncovered Stories
Although the saying, Don't judge a book by its cover, is an important thing for all of us to remember and follow, it has also become a rather tired cliché. Something's outward appearance, whether of a person, an animal, a building or even the sky, is often all that we get to formulate a thought or opinion. Photography, especially I believe images of the human form, don't always make it easy for one to look beyond the surface. Images are often a series of covers really, without pages of information behind them.
I guess it's the point really, to have the image speak for itself. Many artists and models choose to let the images tell the story. I of course, always want to know more. When I see an image I love, I ask questions. Sometimes, the artists hold back, instead letting thoughts on what I see to dictate the story. Others, share their stories and satisfy my interest and curiosity with answers to my many questions. Sometimes a subject want others to know there is more to them than just an image. Beyond what is seen on a cover, beyond their body and body parts, going deeper than the surface of their skin. David Christopher is one of those people.
Anyone who has ever been burned, understands how painful and raw the nerves are just below the surface of the skin. Our skin can be both a protection, and and also sometimes a canvas for showcasing the pain we have experienced in our lives. It was skin that had me first contact David about a story. The second to last image below, the incredible back and rear nude by Rick Day, was the first image of David that I saw. Although not always a fan of tattoo's, I was fascinated by David's. I loved how the black ink of his tats tied in so beautifully with the black background and contrasted with his skin. David's tats were not the result of a night out or too much alcohol, there is meaning and symbolism associated with most of them.
'My dragon arm band symbolizes the end of my opiate addiction. The dragons were originally going to be chasing each other because well... that is what they call it. The tattoo artist suggested having one dragon confronting the other face to face, since I was about to enter into a recovery program. On my right wrist, the zodiac sign Gemini. I got that when it clicked in my mind as to what that really meant. The duality of me as a person and my two personalities. It was all good and all bad, to various extremes... The dog howling on my shoulder is a tribal likeness of my dog who I still have now. A pure bred Siberian husky, my favorite dog thus far. The rest of my tattoos are all religious and spiritual and have very deep connection and meaning to me.'
It is fascinating that if the images were not on the same portfolio, I am not sure I would connect the model in the light blue hoodie with the naked model in the Rick Day images. Except of course for David's intense brown eyes. These two different looks in some ways are symbolic of the Gemini David referenced above and account for his ability to showcase different persona's within his work. David is not sure exactly why modeling became a focus but remembers an inner desire and a feeling of magnetism toward doing it that initially drew him in. With good advice from both friends and family, and Ryan Colby as an unofficial agent and source of support, David got started. When it came to deciding how far he'd go with nude, David says the final decision was his. It is his image and his body and although he always considers good advice, it can sometimes also be very interesting, to also consider bad advice.
'I want people, or would like people, to be able to appreciate me and respect me and my work at the same time if possible. I want people to see me, all of me, and all I potentially have to offer in every situation...'
Next two images from The Seth London Studio
Removing his clothing for a shoot has never really been an issue, 'Its not that big of a deal to me, the human body is a from of art in my opinion, to say the least, its miraculous.' That being said, David says it be overwhelming sometimes, being bombarded with nude offers and people out right letting him know they aren't interesting in shooting him for anything unless he's naked. David continues to be invested in expanding his portfolio and understands that when it comes down to photographers, and the industry as a whole it comes down to the simple factor of ensuring mutual wants and needs are met. There are limits however, like doing porn, or tarnishing his image in a way that could impact future work as both a model and an actor.
'A picture they say is worth a thousand words, or so they say, I like to think so. So its safe to say then, a movie is worth far more, especially if it properly reflects the actors or actresses attributes and can show you the type of person they really are inside and out. I believe people can learn a lot from me and each other in general. Me, because I have learned a lot from my experiences in life, and I feel its changed me for the most part for the better. and I think that's important to always try to be and become better in all ways or as many as possible, as often as possible.'
Last three images via Rick Day
The lessons David has learned have come from both painful and profound experiences. Drug abuse and addiction, prison and the abuse and manipulation from others while there. With all of these trials, David's struggle is to not dwell, but pull them, the good, the bad and horrible, into lessons he can learn and grow from in whatever positive way possible. 'I wish to express my happiness and what makes me happy, as well as my love for things in life and my distaste in others. I want my morals, values and beliefs, inner most and outer meaning, all my visible and invisible strengths and weaknesses, rooted in everything I do.'
David's way at looking at the world is fascinating to me, one I think so many of strive for, but few actually achieve. Looking at his life, whether in it's entirety, or focusing on one aspect, like his modeling or acting, David's process is the same. He looks what's he's learned and uses it to become a better model, actor and human being. Given all he's experienced, the up's and down's of the modeling industry are taken in stride.
'It's always interesting for me to receive and interpret for myself peoples thoughts, opinions, views, perspectives, etc... Having people appreciate your work is a nice feeling. Others taking an interest in you nowadays.... its nice. Most of the time people are too busy to notice... I appreciate it myself I do, even bad feedback is feedback and if you can take good from bad, then that is still a positive experience to gain something from.'