Friday, May 25, 2012

Favorite Pic of the Day for May 25th

Drew by Robert J. Guttke
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Check out my previous birthday posts for May 25th HERE & May 26th HERE:

Wacker Slacker:

Thanks to JiEL A for the shot!

If your a regular reader of FH (thank you!) you know I have been slacking in the update department lately. It has been an incredibly busy time for me the last month or so and it is not looking to ease up for a few more weeks. I will get back to more regular posting then, but bear with me and the slower updates til then!

Belly Buttons & Nipples: Drew by Robert J. Guttke

'One grows tired of just belly buttons & nipples... and while not trying to photograph any one's inner soul... there is a joy in approaching the shoot with humor and getting folks to laugh or do crazy stuff. It is mostly a visual slant to my own quirkiness.'
Robert J. Guttke

Yes, these images of Drew are incredible. Robert J. Guttke's artistry and skill immortalizing the male form is incomparable. Part of the joy of working with Robert on a piece for FH is not just the images however, a large part of the pleasure comes from the stories. Given Robert's vast experience, and the countless men and women he has captured the stories are both abundant and enthralling. Sadly, most of the stories must also remain untold.

Like any profession with whom one puts their trust in, photographers, like doctors and lawyers, are often the holder of secrets. When you work as a model with Guttke, your not just naked, your often balancing dangerously high in the air, on the ledge of a building, in a swamp, or an alley working at trying to get the shot before being discovered by a looky loo passing by. Given the atmosphere and the inherent vulnerabilities, you can just imagine the stories.

Robert J. Guttke takes his role, and his profession, seriously. There are many sons and daughters, fathers and husbands whose history, and whose stories took place partly in front of Guttke's lens. There stories are varied, compelling, funny, titillating and most of

What I can share about Drew is that he was not the initial subject for this post. The post began with a question about a duck. That is where Robert's quote that begins this story came from. One of Robert's rules is, 'bellybutton & nipples must show'. The duck story will have to remain one of those untold stories, but it did lead to Robert suggesting Drew, which given his incredible Adonis looks is clearly and thankfully more swan than duck.

I always wonder what inspires an artist, but with Robert I had sort of and embarrassing 'duh moment' in that it became clear the what is not nearly as important as the how. Beyond the black backdrops, the 'rain', the policeman's uniform, violins and hockey sticks Robert's images stand out not just because of what his images include, but how he includes them. There is a truth, an authenticity in Robert's work that few have been able to replicate. I have often seen shots of a man with a piece sports equipment and it is clear the model would not, could not actually play the sport. Trying to put a model in a situation they don't belong or connect with is a mistake made far too often. It can be done, but only by a certain few. Every situation, every image of Drew is skillfully authentic.

'The water shoots take place center in my studio with a black backdrop. A hose runs into the studio, attached above, and pours water down on the model who stands in a plastic kiddy pool. Much better than the typical shoots of models in shower stalls. This way I isolate the figure in the blackness and the water is evident as silver spears darting off the body or cascading down and locked in shimmering movement. Direction is always to move in a circle so I can see how the water reacts and suggest playing with the water to get it to spritz... forever yelling (the water is loud) "Run your fingers through your hair!" Otherwise it looks like a melted candy bar.'

When it comes to stories of Drew, Robert's memories are of his kindness. The photographer discovered Drew at a body building contest and the rest as they say, is history. Drew was a part of several of Robert's calendars and after they worked together Drew went on to appear in Playgirl and dipped his foot into movies playing James Blonde in the 2006 flick Muscle Impossible. Those few sentences are the stories...that can be shared.

In The Barn
My two favorite images.

I Got The Music In Me!

My crazy schedule of late has me way behind on my television viewing but I did catch Duets last night and was pleasantly surprised. I tuned in as I love Kelly Clarkson and truly adore Jennifer Nettles. What I loved most about Duets was that unlike most of the other music shows, it did not attempt to manipulate viewers with overly produced packages about the contestants, it's focus was where it should be, on the music.

While on the subject of music, American Idol ended it's season this week. I sort of half heartily watched this season but was happy to see Phillip Phillips win. Jessica Sanchez clearly has a gift with that voice of hers but for most of the season she bored me to tears. Her duet with Jennifer Holliday aside, most of the season she chose the most predictable (ie boring) songs, all designed to show off her voice. Her voice was never the issue however, it was her personality that required a spotlight and that rarely got a chance to shine.

Am I the only one who thinks Joshua Ledet's voice is about as appealing as nails on a chalkboard? Some singers like Patti LeBelle have learned how to incorporate screeching skillfully into their singing, Ledet, like his duet partner Fantasia have not. I had to mute their song as after a few seconds I wanted to throw my water bottle at the television. The judges adoration of Ledet remains a mystery to me. I got the appeal after one of his early numbers but after that it was simply a repeat week after week.

I did enjoy seeing Joe Perry though, he was always the one part of Aerosmith I could get on board of.


I still have the last four episodes of Smash on the DVR unwatched. This show is sort of a hot mess. What I did enjoy about it though were the four actors who were just let go. I am not sure what the producers were thinking, especially with Jaime Cepero and Raza Jaffrey.

Megan Hilty aside, I find most of the female characters poorly written and poorly executed. Debra Messing is talented, and for the sake of argument I will say Angelica Houston is as well but in the hands of the shows writers they are struggling. Katherine McPhee on the other hand is no actress but the one part of her character that was interesting was her relationship with Raza. He is an incredible actor and made McPhee sort of likable in their scenes together.

Jaime Cepero was also a good foil for Houston and I am not sure why the show is ridding themselves of two of the shows most interesting elements. If I were choosing which male cast member to dump, my choice would have been Christian Borle who neither likable, or interesting enough to dislike.


In a recent review I read of Glee, the writer declared that after three seasons it is time we viewers stopped bitching about the show and accepted that every season we will love about a third of the episodes, hate about a third, and find the remaining third fairly forgettable.

There is a lot of truth in that so I am going to try to stop complaining. I found the series finale in the fairly forgettable category, mainly because it's focus was so narrow. The cast is huge and even though it takes forever for the opening credits to get through all the names, you can still bet most of them won't get much to do or say, if they are shown at all.

In many traditional movies and Broadway musicals there was usually written a rather bland leading male and female, and then a secondary couple, shown less, but usually given much better dialogue and more memorable songs to sing. Glee ignores this formula in the same way it ignores it's supporting cast. I find scenes with Tina, Mercedes, Sam, Mike and Quinn far more interesting than Kurt and Rachel but have come to accept they just don't hold the same appeal to the shows writers.

It was interesting to me that the supposed Tina centered episode was not really about Tina at all. It felt like the writers were basically telling the audience that Tina, and the rest of the cast, are there to support our stars, Rachel, Finn and Kurt. The first few moments of the show, telling Tina's history on the show was spot on, but then the her storyline was all about her character in relation, usually behind, the shows lead. Lea Michele's incredible voice aside, some of my favorite songs from the past few seasons were not hers (and definitely not Kurt's). Hopefully a writer will be hired one day who will view the show the way it was at one time, as an ensemble.

Bitch Slap:

I don't want to label him homophobic as I don't really know. In fact, he recently voiced his support for gay marriage while promoting his newest film.

But... Going all the way back to his sit-com days and especially through his role of Paul in Six Degree's, there have been stories about his uncomfortably with men who love men. I think most actors would have given the push, as he did with the reporter. I am not sure most actors would have then went for the Alexis Colby style slap. Ironic, no?

I have always found the whole Smith family rather Stepford like, as with the Travolta's and the Cruise clans there is something about the families that doesn't quite ring true. If it were any other actor I think this would have been a non-story, but this has a bit of a history. I remember the brief but tense moment during the Tony Awards when Douglas Hodge tried to sit on his lap during a Tony Award performance from La Cage Aux Folles. Like the slap, AWKWARD... The reaction seemed more one of worry, maybe of connection, than one of someone taking offense...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Favorite Pic of the Day for May 22nd

Bryan Wilson by Chris Free
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Check out birthday boys for May 21st HERE: & May 22nd HERE:

You Should Be Dancing!

When the morning cries and you don't know why...
R.I.P Robin Gibb


During the first couple of years of the blog I regularly posted about my love of Grey's Anatomy. Although I still watch (record and skim through...), I have lost my enthusiasm the past couple of seasons. The last time Grey's truly impressed me was the scenes before and surrounding Alex and Izzie's wedding. Although I don't dislike any of the new characters, nor do I really care about anyone who joined the show in the last three seasons except maybe Arizona.

Like the hospital shootout two seasons ago, I hated this years unnecessary plane crash. Christina's rant about not wanting to be around any more dying was rather ironic given the doctors at Seattle Grace are always put in front of a plane crash, a gun, a bomb or any other cliffhanger cliche Shonda Rhimes decides to pull from her shallow bag of tricks. This show is at it's best as a relationship drama and the theatrics only dilute it's ability to move it's viewers. I don't mind a shocking death, but the plane crash was such a insulting way to write out the wonderful Chyler Leigh. Although I applaud Kim Raver's long overdue exit, (she should have remained a guest star and left long ago) Lexie was a legacy character and although the show is on it's last legs, keeping Leigh would have enabled the option of keeping the Grey in Anatomy when Ellen Pompeo bolts. Better to have killed off Eric Dane as Mark has provided very little since his memorable towel entrance.

Hey Sondra, next season do something creative, write for Alex, Meredith and Christina as a group like in the shows first few seasons. Stop with the individual side stories that just bring your show down. Let Izzie back for closure and call up Isaiah Washington! His return would rock viewers more than any ill conceived disaster. The 70's are over, time to let the disasters go.

Enclosure: The Photography of Chris Freeman


In last years We Bought A Zoo, zookeeper Kelly corrects new owner Benjamin when he calls the area's in which the animals live as cages. 'They're not called cages, they're called enclosures. They haven't been cages in like a century.' Of course no matter what they are called, the purpose is still the same, to prevent an animal from escaping, from being free.

Of course we know enclosures can be literal, but they can also be metaphorical and the most dangerous, emotional. Even when physical barriers don't exist, we humans seem to find a way to create them.

Bryan Wilson

We spend most of our lives attempting to rid ourselves from the enclosures that surround us. We work many hours to enjoy a few free ones, we try to change laws so we can have the freedom to marry, to acquire the same rights as others. No matter who you are though, there are really very few places on this planet where humans can be truly free. It gets worse as each year goes by, as cities grow and technology takes on bigger and bigger parts of our daily lives. I remember a time, when if I did not want an extra shift at work, I simply had to not answer the phone on the wall in the kitchen. Now, between voice mail, mobile phones, e-mails, texts and social media, you cannot escape contact from someone your avoiding no matter how hard you try.

There are only a couple of places where one can escape and be free without the restrictions of others; your imagination and your art. It is common for photographers I profile to talk about their work in terms of being an artistic release, especially by those who don't capture images as a primary source of income. With the job I hold, and the everyday life stress's we all encounter, we all need ways release what ever it is that we hold in. FH is without a doubt a creative outlet for me, one of few that allow me the freedom to express myself any way I want.

When you think of stressful jobs, I am sure being a doctor is near the top of the list. You need to practice a high level of self care in order to oversee the health of all those who put their trust, and their lives in your decision making and judgement skills. Artist Chris Freeman is a doctor, but not one you go to, but one you hire to come to you. Freeman consults with governments and corporations and spends much of his time on the road, traveling around the country consulting on public health issues. One of Freemon's most recent trips was to meet with the heads of one of the nation's most prominent professional sports leagues.

'Bryan is a young model, just starting out, who is also a dancer, so he can jump! His physique says dancer all over it, too. Large thighs and buttocks, mini-sized waist. He works hard at modeling, is very creative, and an absolute delight to work with. I spent 3.5 hours with Bryan. We started out on Oak Street beach in Chicago on one of those warm early spring days we had this year, then moved indoors to my hotel room just a couple blocks from Lake Michigan. I shot about 250 stills--a larger than usual proportion of them were good, simply because he is so "ready" and photogenic.'

Freeman picked up photography as a hobby a couple years ago. He began shooting models while traveling for his business and as a means of meeting people an an antidote for the boredom of seemingly endless nights in hotels. Freeman shoots with a low end camera and because he is on the road, without a studio or studio equipment. The photographer says he tries to compensate for these limitations through his creativity and the skilled use of what he has available. For this doctor, the people are as important as the work. Meeting models, and learning what motivates them, both creatively and in their pursuit of modeling opportunities, is all part of the experience.


'Photography, whether on the beach, in my hotel room, in the evening, or in the morning is a nice break from the monotony of traveling and time alone in hotel rooms.'
Chris Freeman


'Sam is training to be in the broadcast business and truly enjoys performing in front of a camera. He was comfortable from the very start and one of the most self-assured models I've met. He is remarkably beautiful with a very nicely developed body, though not overly so. As he said a couple times during the shoot, "I love my body." He is also very bright and serious about modeling. During the shoot, I found him to be creative, gentle, fun and adventurous, yet just beginning to learn how to present himself in a variety of ways. For him, this shoot was the start of something much bigger. It was only his second or third shoot and he seemed to blossom as we went on with the shoot.'

There is little in the way of creative freedom when it comes to the health of others, it is a skill and knowledged based profession. Removing enclosures when ont at work and releasing oneself =artistically seems that much more crucial within such a demanding profession. Thank you to Chris for sharing some of his non-work with FH, and be sure to check out more on ModelMayhem HERE