'Koyote would love this! He was such a cool guy. A great person to know and work with. He had so many idea's for location and posing.... light and shadow. He was an avid sexual swinger and Had a love for pleasuring both women and men.'
One of the things about doing anything over a long period of time, is the relationships that you form. This Autumn, FH will enter it's 9th year. In those nine years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know so many photographer, models, actors and artists who have shared their work, and as importantly, their stories with myself and the readers of the FH. Those relationships have become essential to the longevity of the site. Although I love featuring new artists, it is particularly satisfying when an artist that I have featured once, is satisfied enough in the results, that they put their trust in my ability to respectfully present their work and stories again, and sometimes, again and again.
The inevitable downside of building relationships is loss. Loss is something many of us work so hard to avoid, yet ultimately cannot escape from. In the last nine years, there have been about a half a dozen photographers, and several models and performers that I have featured, whose life and work was sadly cut short. A remember particularly two artists, who during their worst of their illnesses, were sending images, and thoughts about their work from their hospital beds. Death, just around the corner, seemed to propel their desire to have their work chronicled, and remembered.
When I first approached Michael Deer of Pride of Paradise Photography, about featuring his work, he had two models in mind that he wanted to feature, Bill and Koyote Howels, aka Joe. I decided to start with Bill. I loved Michael's Little House on the Prairie inspired post. The images were unique and creative, sexy and a whole lot of fun. (Little Clothes On The Prairie)
Michael also wanted to feature, and pay tribute to, his work with Joe. Joe had been one of Michael's favorite models to work with, and sadly, Joe had died just last year. After seeing Michael's images of Joe, I knew at once, I wanted to share their work together. I began with Bill frolicking on that Prairie as a way to introduce FH readers to Michael and his work. It felt right, maybe oddly as a way to earn the privilege of being able to feature today's images and memories of Michael's work with Joe.
Artist was introduced to model in 2011 through a photographer friend of Michael's from Texas. She loved working with Joe and had shot him many times. Joe lived just outside the Bay area in Northern California in the city of Livermore. 'I was not sure if he was fooling with me or not... he had the highest pitched voice of any adult man I had ever met.' It ended up that Joe had throat cancer operations that had severely effected his voice.
Joe posed for Michael three times since that first meeting. In between in each shoot, Joe had to undergo more operations to deal with this cancer. By the 4th, and final shoot, his voice was barely a whisper. For this last shoot, Joe had brought along support, Sara a very close friend of his. They started with a solo shoot with just Joe, then a couples shoot which ended up in a very erotic and intimate shoot with the two of them. 'It was great fun.... Joe loved the results.' Below is a copy of the last email Michael received from Joe after sending him the images from their 4th shoot.
'Michael! I'm doing great! I know I've told you before but I really love YOU and your work...these are wonderful! How are you doing?'
Michael received that e-mail from Joe on February 21st 2014. The next communication about Joe received, almost two weeks later on April 4th, came from Sara. Joe had died. People always say, live for today, anything can happen. We truly never know what's coming tomorrow. This is of course especially true for people dealing with cancer or any life threatening health issue. The unexpected piece about Joe's death, something to me beautifully ironic, is that it wasn't cancer that ended Joe's life.
Sometimes cancer doesn't win, no matter how much it tries. Sometimes fate decides to slam cancer, ridding it of it's power. Joe, who clearly took incredible care of his body, was riding his mountain mike in the foot hills around Livermore. Joe was hit and killed instatnly by a car as he rushed through an intersection. He died, at the accident site on April 3rd, 2014. Those who loved and cared about him, including Michael, were glad, even comforted a bit, that Joe died doing something he loved and not from the cancer that he lived with and fought, for so many years.
'I love the image below.... Joe on the flying carter with the genie bottle. It was the only time I used the leather.... and I gave it to him as a thank you gift.... it fit him well.'