Sunday, February 19, 2012

Favorite Pic of the Day for February 20th

Cody Hill by Michael Kilgore
-See More Below-

Magazine Feature Of The Day:

I love Trevor Donovan, love his wit, love his intellegence and humour and oh...and in this pic I love pretty much everything! Now, I don't quite love him quite enough to watch 90210 (is it worth it???) but when I saw this shot on tumblr for the March 2012 UK edition of Cosmo, I could not wait for a larger, un-watermarked copy to post.

From the Cosmo Site:

Cosmo: Hi Trevor. you look incredible in this month's Cosmo. Do you get shy about taking your clothes off?

Trevor: Look at my picture in Cosmo... my answer is no.

Kudos to Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph proved last night that even with weak writing, a talented comedian and actress can rise above and put on a great show. Last nights SNL provided me with some of the biggest laughs of an otherwise lackluster season. I am not so sure the skits were any better than other weeks, but the amazing Rudolph managed to get something out of each and every character and scene she was in.

A Catering Approach: Cody Hill by Michael Kilgore

-To supply what is required or desired

Although most of us hope to blend passion with profession it is not something that is always easily achieved. The artist's I feature on FH run the gamut, almost all describe their work a passion, an impulsion they must act on. Some work full time at it, some part time, some regard it a hobby they do in their spare time. Depending on the motivation behind a shoot, what or who, is the catering influence can be very different. Some photographers shoot to meet the creative requirements and needs of others, some almost solely do it for themselves. The best, I have learned, know instinctively, how to weave the two.

In Chicago, during the 80's and early 90's, Michael Kilgore was known as one of the city's top caterers. Over the course of nine years he put out close to 4000 parties and among all of those, Michael reports duplicating a menu only five or six times.

'Guess I took the word "cater" seriously. The food was always great; but always different because it was based on the clients' personal preferences. One of the best compliments I got over the years was from White Sox owner Mary Frances Veeck "This event was everything I expected -- if I could have imagined it." Needless to say she did many events with me and became a friend. That also happens with more than a few of the guys who model with/for me.'

Michael says that when working with a model, there isn't so much a style, look or mode that he tries to fit them into, but rather, he pushes himself to discover something unique about each of them as an individual. This approach usually always works for the model and yields variable results artistically. In someways, from a commercial standpoint, Michael believes this has been his downfall but he is compensated by the challenges and fun he experiences with each of his shoots.

'It creates a lot of diversity in my portfolio -- some might call it a 'lack of style' or inconsistency -- I like to think of it as discovery. It's a double-edged sword. On the one hand the guys who work with me have a great time and we more often than not come up with something that works for them. On the other hand, while I'd like to think I craft images carefully, the end result varies quite a bit. Unlike some of the successful photographers in this genre whose work you can almost always identify -- there's more of a chameleon quality to my photography -- it blends in a look that I like to think of as my own with each model's personality.'

'The approach to the photography is much the same as the approach I took to catering. Always trying to achieve great results; but each dish/image takes on the character of the client/model.'

Cody Hill first came to Michael's attention when the model's first agent spotted the photographer's old Web site Studio4496, liked the quality, and asked him to set up a shoot as Cody wished to pursue a modeling career. Other than some snapshots by his agent, this shoot was Cody's first ever and, to Michael's knowledge, his first nude shoot. In this particular shoot Michael says he was blessed, with what a photographer friend of his calls, "God's silk".

'The area where we shot was overcast and foggy most of the time. There was always a beautiful diffused light to work with Color was saturated; but shadows, essentially did not exist. So no fill flash, no reflectors or the usual paraphernalia were needed. Everything you see here, other than the B&W conversions, is pretty much the way it looked.'

Cody used a number of the glamour images I did for him to create a portfolio for a modeling agency in NC, and was hired. He stayed in contact for a couple of years and I saw some images in some NC ads, which they set up, saw a few others on MM with a photographer from DC. The agency advised him never to do any more nude shoots as it might damage his chances for high-level work. To every one's loss, I think he's disappeared from the modeling scene.'

'The back story on Cody is compelling. When he did this shoot he was a junior in college. (Kinda rare for me as I tend to shoot more mature guys.) He had more or less raised himself. His father had disappeared when he was just a kid. His mother was a drug addict. As a kid and teenager he bounced from relative to relative -- grandma, aunts, friends of the family, etc -- anyone who would give him a place for a while. (Very rural NC) Despite no particular guidance, he had some grit and was determined not to wind up like his mom, finished high school and went to college. It was during this period he was spotted by the guys who owned the Traphill Inn in his home town (two gay guys, who were obviously enamoured of his looks and determination, who took him under their wing, and helped him with his college tuition) My observation was that he and they totally loved each other, yet kept it platonic. I think they were probably his first real family where he felt safe.'

'For me the shoot is one that represents a transition from my old style to what has been (is) evolving to my current style. I grew up in the generation where almost any male nudity was considered 'porn' and to the degree that it was acceptable at all, male nudes to be considered 'art' had to be black and white. In my early work, almost everything with any nudity was rendered as a black & white image. The idea was that way you just focused on the form; without seeing the person (and the potential eroticism) that color conveyed. For the first time, I made a decision that color nude shots could be as 'artful' as B&W.'

'I began to focus more on the person. Cody's story touched me. So many of the nudes are about his loneliness. Much of my work has an architectural feel to it -- fitting the body into a setting, letting it flow with a background. I've attempted to keep that element in my current work; but also -- more and more -- making it not just an essay in form; but a discovery of some element of the model's personality. Each shoot since this one has become more and more a collaborative discovery with the person who's modeling. It's about celebrating who he is -- his interests, fantasies, fears, fetishes, etc. -- digging below the skin that's shown to highlight an element of personality that's unique to that person.'

Michael Kilgore on ModelMayhem
Michael Kilgore on deviantART

Gabriel Bermudez in Les mamelles de Tirésias

In the four plus years I have been working on FH I am not sure I have yet posted about an opera singer. I am not sure I ever thought I would... Although I am a huge fan of the Theatre, I admit that although I know a few Opera's (the big, mainstream shows) I never thought of the genre as source for material for the blog.

Gabriel in La Finta Giardinera.

Then while visiting DC recently I was introduces to the Youtube clip of Maria Bayo and the incredible Spanish baritone Gabriel Bermudez. Although Gabriel shows off his body in first minute of the Youtube clip below, his voice is better showcased in various other clips including his performance in La Finta Giardinera

Below: Gabriel & María Bayo in Les mamelles de Tirésias

Through my research on Gabriel I came upon a blog, Barihunks, totally devoted to the amazing men of Opera. I had no idea there were so many to cover, but Bermudez is not the only Opera star to have performed naked on stage. Although the owner of Barihunks writes about many things, and does not just focus on skin, it was a great place to spend some time at and I encourage you all to check it out!